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By Richard A. Bauman

Crime and punishment have involved humanity because the starting of social lifestyles. Their manifestations in old Rome is still an attractive subject, because the legislation of such a lot ecu nations this day is derived from historical Roman legislations. the writer tells the heritage of punishment from the Roman Republic to the past due Empire, therefore laying off mild on a few decisive points of Roman heritage. Trials for treason, sedition and corruption light up political heritage; universal legislation crimes like homicide, poisoning, rape, adultery and forgery sharpen the belief of social historical past; discussions of freedom of speech bring up the certainty of highbrow historical past; and spiritual persecutions fill out the image of non secular heritage. This examine should still supply important analyzing not just for the Roman historian, yet for contemporary historians and legal professionals, sociologists and people ordinarily drawn to classical antiquity.

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It would take another 150 years to put a suitable constitution in place, but the courts adapted more quickly. The first response to the crisis was a series of special commissions, of mandates to magistrates to investigate and punish without needing to have the final sentence confirmed by the people. The people (or the senate) only participated to the extent of establishing the commission. The first of these special quaestiones was the Bacchanalian commission of 186 which investigated, and punished, thousands of people who were alleged to have committed common-law crimes, such as adultery, murder and forgery, in pursuit of social justice.

90). 20 An interesting principle is 38 CICERO ON PUNISHMENT enunciated in De officiis: it is more commendable for an orator to appear for the defence than for the prosecution. The latter role should only be adopted when it is in the public interest (rei publicae causa), and even then conducting too many capital prosecutions may be stigmatized as inhuman behaviour. A capital charge should never be brought against someone who may be innocent. But there is no objection to defending the guilty as long as they are not depraved or impious.

Thus both humanitas and utilitas publica, the public interest, were served by the new dispensation. 24 So far so good, but the idea that interdiction was named specifically in the statute has not gone unchallenged. It has been argued by Kunkel that it was merely an administrative measure by the magistrate. 25 This argument cannot be allowed to stand. In the first place, the jurists unanimously describe the penalty in terms which clearly make it the statutory punishment. The Severan jurist, Domitius Ulpianus, puts it as follows: The lex Cornelia (de sicariis et veneficis)26 laid down that arsonists were to be interdicted from water and fire— incendiariis lex quidem Cornelia aqua et igni interdici iussit.

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