Crime & Punishment In Ancient Rome Essay

1270 WordsMar 11, 20126 Pages
Crime and Punishment in Ancient Rome Greg Shumaker In the ancient world, Rome was regarded as the capital of culture, philosophy and fine arts. During the days of the empire it also earned a reputation for excesses in crime and punishment. No one was more powerful than the Roman emperor. No one could disobey or defy him without risking their lives. Rome had a governing body known as the Senate, there were also two government heads called Consuls. All of these individuals did what the emperor wanted and dared not defy him. People were expected to obey Roman law. Those charged with crimes were tried by a jury. The juries of Ancient Rome were much larger than the ones we have today. There were often fifty to seventy jurors on a case compared to the twelve today. (Landau 14) There was a place in every Roman town called the Basilica. It was the largest and most impressive building in the forum in each city. It served as the town hall and law court. The central hall, surrounded by a colonnade and passages, was a popular meeting place for citizens. (Ganeri 32) Two people found guilty of the same crime might be treated very differently. Penalties for wealthy Romans were less severe than those for the poor. (Sheehan and Levy 21) Slaves received the harshest punishments. People were not sent to prison as a punishment in Ancient Rome like they are today. Prisons in Rome served mainly as a holding facility for prisoners awaiting trial. People often had their property taken or were fined, sometimes they were sent into exile and made to leave Rome. Death sentences were also handed out as well. People sentenced to die were often crucified. (Ganeri 33) The Twelve Tables were a code of law in Ancient Rome established in 450 B.C. for all Roman citizens. They covered all areas of the law emphasizing the procedure that was to be followed for

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