History Exam 1- Crime and Punishment


Romans 4000BC-500AD-


  • being a christian
  • murder
  • killing the emperor (treason)
  • arson
  • patricide (if youre willing to kill a superior such as your father you may have the intent to commit treason too)


  • colleseums fighting each other or beasts
  • exile (often for noble men as an alternative to capital punishment)
  • put in bag with snakes and thrown in river (patricide)
  • whipping
  • crucifixion (christian)
  • all slaves killed if one tried to kill master via crucifixion(deterrent)
  • execution
  • rolled off of cliff

In 450 BC the first ever set of laws were made called the TWELVE TABLES and these were studied by all children in schools, and they were simplified by EMPEROR JUSTINIAN in 533 AD being published in the book 'the digest of roman laws' (need to know). 

vigile= prevents and puts out fires and acted like a police force--> largest law enforcers

aedile= checked shops were legal (e.g. not selling under weight bread) and ensured streets were clean

urban cohort= stops riots

praetorian guard= protected the emperor (e.g. during riots)

legionaries= policed towns

juries: in the case of a small crime such as theft the victim would have to gather the evidence himself and summon the accused to the MAGISTRATES COURT, and the judge would not be a lawyer. major crimes went to the governers court and the case would be tried by magistrates and a jury.

roman impact in britain: 

  • roman laws introduced
  • magistrates= minor crimes, governors= major crime
  • policing done by legionaries
  • legal system (finding your own evidence) the same

romans preffered execution over going to court because it was cheaper, a better deterrent, street guards were expensive so execution stops likelihood of crime, prisons (which were then used to store people before trials) were expensive as were the prison's gaolers, raising taxes to support trials may cause riots and emperors believed it was not their ob to tackle social problems.

Saxons 500-1066-

in this era england was formed from a mass of small kingdoms such as mercia, sussex etc. and therefore kings were needed to enforce laws, defend from attacks, protect landowners property from damage/theft and to protect people from violence. 

roman to saxon change: some crimes like treason were still considered to be the worst yet now being a christian was enforced and being atheist or not attending church was a crime

wergild= directly means blood price and it was the compensation for a crime and was preffered because you did not have the risk of physical harm 

saxon punishments:

  • the blood feud; when the victims of crimes pursue the criminal themselves and potentially kill them yet this would lead to a blood feud against them and the feud would grow as families got involved and it did not protect those who did not want to use violence
  • wergilds; this replaced the blood feud when kings abolished it and acted as a compensation e.g. the wergild for killing a noble man was 300 shillings---> if this could not get payed they were exiled or forced…




The title has a mistake/typo: it should be 'Romans 400 BC .." not "4000 BC"