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Crime and
The Roman Empire
500BC-400AD…read more

Slide 2

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Roman Overview
· Causes of Crime:
­ Poverty
­ Greed
­ Opportunity
­ Rivalry
­ Refusal of Request
· Crimes:
­ Petty theft
­ Fighting between youths and others
­ Fighting between supporters
­ Protests
­ Major crimes in the minority.
· Punishments:
­ Tough punishments to deter criminals
­ Being bound, whipped, and burned at the stake…read more

Slide 3

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­ Any roman citizen could bring someone to court
­ Victims were expected to catch the criminals themselves in order to
bring them to court
­ The defendant was innocent until proven guilty
­ The defendant had the right to present evidence.
· Methods of Policing:
­ Vigiles (Vigilant) - Patrolling the city, chasing and capturing runaway
­ Guards travelling with wealthy people
­ Aediles-kept the streets clean and making sure shops were fair
­ Windows being barred
­ Prosecution if your building fell down
­ Urban Cohorts.…read more

Slide 4

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The Romans Way of Tackling Crime
· Roman Laws (Twelve Tables)- Dealt with every possible crime,
every child in education was required to learn all of the laws.
· Roman Policing (Vigiles)- Not a real police force, 7000 men mainly
used to put out fires, prevent crime at night and catch runaway
· Urban Cohorts (Soldiers)- Keep order on the streets, main order
to stop riots.
· Aediles- Inspected shops to make sure they were being fair and
kept the streets clear.
· Praetorian Guards- The emperors household guards, used only in
emergencies to protect the emperor.
· Trials and Juries-
­ Minor Crime- If it did not affect a large amount of people it was
considered to be a minor crime, if you had a crime committed against
you, you were expected to catch the criminals yourself.
­ Major Crime- Major crimes such as murder were tried by magistrates
with a jury, the victim and suspect gave both sides and the jury decided
the outcome.…read more

Slide 5

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Roman Punishments
· Punishments often depended on social class
· Citizens (Ordinary Romans)-
­ Lesser crimes were punished with things such as whipping, repaying the
cost of good and confiscation of property.
­ Put to death for crimes such as:
· Arson
· Attacking the emperor
· Robbing temples
· Stealing farm animals.
· Nobles-
­ Sentenced to death for major crimes however had the ability to go in to
exile to avoid execution.
· Slaves-
­ All the slaves in a household were crucified if one of them murdered or
tried to murder their master.
· Legionaries-
­ Men who ran away in battle faced execution, but not all men were.…read more

Slide 6

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· Governments regarded riots and rebellions as the most serious crimes.
· Law and courts were needed to protect people against criminals.
· No police forces or prisons as it was too expensive.
· Punishments were harsh so that they would deter willing criminals.
What Did They Do?
Laws Laws were made by the Emperor. Written down in detail and often
Policing No police force but the Emperor was protected by his own guards.
Trials Victims had to collect their own evidence and bring it to court.
Juries decided major trials. Judges decided lesser crimes.
Punishments Harsh and often violent. Executions were common but noble had the
ability to go into exile.…read more

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Miss E


This huge resource covers most of the course from the Romans to Industrial Britain and includes useful summaries and tables to help you revise. Use it to pick out key words and definitions and then transfer the information to a resource of your own making, perhaps flash cards.

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