[eg-zahyl, ek-sahyl]
Exile: see Babylonian captivity.
exile, removal of a national from his or her country, or the civilized parts of it, for a long period of time or for life. Exile may be a forceful expulsion by the government or a voluntary removal by the citizen, sometimes in order to escape punishment. In ancient Greece, exile was often the penalty for homicide, while ostracism was a common punishment for those accused of political crimes. In early Rome a citizen under sentence of death had a choice between exile and death. In this case, exile was a means of escaping a greater punishment. During the Roman Empire, deportation to certain islands became a general punishment for serious crimes. The ancient Hebrews allowed those who committed homicide to take refuge in designated cities of sanctuary. Until 1776, certain types of English criminals were transported to the American colonies, and later, until 1853, they were sent to penal settlements in Australia. Both the Russian czarist and Communist regimes have transported prisoners to Siberia. With the growth of nation-states and the acceptance of the doctrine that ties between state and citizen are indissoluble, exile for criminal reasons has become infrequent. However, modern civil wars and revolutions have produced many political exiles, including large numbers of refugees who have been victims of the upheavals in some manner. Such exiles are not subject to extradition and may demand protection from the country receiving them. The concept of "government in exile"—one person or a group of persons living outside their state and claiming to be the rightful government—has become accepted in international law during the 20th cent. This situation usually arises when a warring state is occupied by the enemy and its government is forced to seek asylum in another state. The government is recognized as lawful if it attempts to regain control and if it has armed forces integrated in a large alliance. During World War II, the monarchs and governments of Norway, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium (without the king), and Yugoslavia were exiled in London, while the governments of Charles de Gaulle of France and Eduard Beneš of Czechoslovakia were formed in exile. See deportation; refugee.

Exile means to be away from one's home (i.e. city, state or country) while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened by prison or death upon return. It can be a form of punishment.

It is common to distinguish between internal exile, i.e., forced resettlement within the country of residence, and external exile, deportation outside the country of residence.

Exile can also be a self-imposed departure from one's homeland. Self-exile is often practiced as form of protest or to avoid persecution.

Personal exile

Exile was used particularly for political opponents of those in power. The use of exile for political purposes can sometimes be useful for the government because it prevents the exilee from organizing in their native land or from becoming a martyr. People feared exile and banishment so much because it effectively meant that they were going to die. In European history, at a time prior to Roman invasion, people lived completely co-dependently in farm towns where everyone had a function. Exile represented a severe punishment, particularly for those, like Ovid or Du Fu, exiled to strange or backward regions, cut off from all of the possibilities of life as well as their families and associates. Dante describes the pain of exile in The Divine Comedy:

«. . . Tu lascerai ogne cosa diletta
più caramente; e questo è quello strale
che l'arco de lo essilio pria saetta.
Tu proverai sì come sa di sale
lo pane altrui, e come è duro calle
lo scendere e 'l salir per l'altrui scale . . .»

". . . You will leave everything you love most:
this is the arrow that the bow of exile
shoots first. You will know how salty
another's bread tastes and how hard it
is to ascend and descend
another's stairs . . ."

Paradiso XVII: 55-60

Exile has been softened, to some extent, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as exiles have received welcome in other countries and have either created new communities within those countries or, less frequently, returned to their homelands following the demise of the regime that exiled them.

Government in exile

During a foreign occupation or after a coup d'etat, a government in exile of a such afflicted country may be established abroad. One of the most well-known instances of this is the Central Tibetan Administration, a government in exile led by the Dalai Lama in India, who claims to be the legitimate ruler of the historical Tibet‎.

Nation in exile

When large groups, or occasionally a whole people or nation is exiled, it can be said that this nation is in exile, or Diaspora. Nations that have been in exile for substantial periods include the Jews, who were deported by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon in 597 BC and again in the years following the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem in the year AD 70. After the partitions of Poland in the late 18th century, and following the uprisings (like Kościuszko Uprising, November Uprising and January Uprising) against the partitioning powers (Russian Empire, Prussia and Austro-Hungary), many Poles have chosen - or been forced - to go into exile, forming large diasporas (known as Polonia), especially in France and the United States.The entire population of Crimean Tatars (200,000) that remained in their homeland Crimea was exiled on 18 May 1944 to Central Asia as a form of ethnic cleansing and collective punishment on false accusations. At Diego Garcia, between 1967 and 1973 the British Government forcibly removed some 2,000 Chagossian resident islanders to make way for a military base today jointly operated by the US and UK.

Tax exile

A wealthy citizen who departs from a former abode for a lower tax jurisdiction (a "tax haven") in order to reduce his/her tax burden is termed a tax exile.

Notable people who have been in exile

Fictional characters in exile

  • Yoda went into self exile after the Great Jedi Purge in Episode III of Star Wars.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, after defeating Sir Leopold, the player's party are blamed by Captain Marcello for an attempted assassination of the Lord High Priest, causing High Priest Rolo and the player's party to be subsequently banished to Purgatory Island.
  • In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Kovu is banished from the Pride Lands after being accused of plotting to kill King Simba.
  • In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is exiled to Mantua after killing Tybalt.
  • Lord Voldemort goes to self exile in Albania after losing his physical form in Godric's Hollow in 1981.
  • Ender Wiggin is exiled from Earth after winning the Bugger War in the Orson Scott Card book Ender's Game.
  • In the book The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, Aragorn is the heir in exile to the throne of Gondor.
  • In the television series Avatar: The Last Airbender, Prince Zuko is exiled from the Fire Nation by his father, and tasked with finding the Avatar.
  • Chancellor Sutler is in self-exile in the film V for Vendetta.
  • In the British sci-fi TV series Doctor Who, The Doctor was exiled to Earth by his own people, the Time Lords for interfering in the affairs of other planets. He was also forced to regenerate in order to help conceal his identity. All this happened in the 1969 story The War Games. This was the last Doctor Who story to feature Patrick Troughton as the Doctor. He was eventually forgiven by his own people and allowed to roam the Universe again in the 1972-73 adventure The Three Doctors, by this time starring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor.
  • In the TV series 24, Jack Bauer went into self-exile, after being threatened with being extradited for torture in a Chinese prison camp following the events of Season 4.
  • Oedipus went into self exile after finding out that he had killed his father and slept with his mother (Sophocles)
  • Agave went into self exile after killing her son Pentheus (Euripedes)
  • Thyestes was sent into exile after raping his brother's wife (Aeschylus)
  • Orestes was sent into exile by his mother Clytaemnestra but returned to kill her in the garb of a stranger (Aeschylus)
  • Emperor Mark II of the Vulgarian Empire to the United States

See also


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