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Androlepsy is a Greek term, meaning ‘seizure of men.’ In early days, the term was used to refer to the practice of holding subjects of another nation as hostages, in order to compel the other nation to do justice or to enforce some claim. It is also know as androlepsia.
In ancient Greek law, androlepsy was a custom in Athens that if a citizen was killed abroad, and the criminal was not delivered for punishment, the victim's relatives were allowed to arrest as many as three citizens of the offending city. They would be held hostage until the actual criminal was handed over, and perhaps tried for murder instead of him. In Greece, this custom is known as androlepsia, and the Romans referred to the custom as clarigatio.