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This article is about exile (from one's home territory). There is another article on Exile, the series of computer games, and another on "Exile," the episode of Star Trek: Enterprise''.

To be in exile means being away from your home (i.e. city, state or country) and being either explicitly refused permission to return or being threatened by prison or death upon return. Exile has historically been used as a form of punishment, particularly for political opponents of those in power.

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:

  ź. . . Tu lascerai ogne cosa diletta
     pi¨ caramente; e questo Ŕ quello strale
     che l'arco de lo essilio pria saetta.
  Tu proverai sý come sa di sale
     lo pane altrui, e come Ŕ 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.

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

See also: Ostracism

Famous people who have been in exile

(Listed alpabetically by last name)