History- Crime and Punishment

HideShow resource information

History- Crime and Punishment


Crime is an unlawful act with intention to cause distress to other innocent people.

Ancient Rome



Methods of Policing

Deliberately burning down a building.

Whipped, bound and burned at the stake.

The Vigiles were fire-fighters who patrolled the city, especially at night to prevent fired breaking out and arresting people who caused fires.


Landlords could be prosecuted if their buildings fell down.



Leave the city and sent to exile.

Widows were barred to prevent burglaries.

Selling bread at the wrong price.




Gladiator fights

The Vigiles were also used to capture ranaway slaves.


What does roman Crime and Punishment tell us about Roman Society?

In Rome there was no paid police force which tells us that they didn’t like to spend money on things such as police forces and prisons. They made the punishments for crimes very harsh so the punishments would act as a deterrent. This means that the punishments were so harsh that other people would be put of committing the same crime.


 Roman Laws

·       These dealt with every possible crime, from the assassination of the Emperor, to everyday crimes such as theft.

·       Laws were also designed to make Rome a better place to live e.g. people had to keep the street outside their house clean.

·       The first recorded laws were The Twelve Tables, written about 450 B.C.

·       The greatest Roman law code was the work of Emperor Justinian in 533 A.D. he organised all the laws and brought them together.


Trials and Juries


Minor Crime

·       You found the criminal yourself.

·       You had to collect evidence.

·       You took the accused to the Magistrates’ court.

·       A judge as chosen. He was not a lawyer but he could take advice from lawyers.

·       Both sides presented their evidence.

·       The judge then reached a decision.


Major crime

·        Cases were tired by magistrates with a jury.

·        Anyone could bring a case to court for trial.

·        Both sides gave evidence and the jury decided if he/she was guilty.

·        The Magistrate decided the sentence.


Principles in Roman Trial

·        Any Roman citizen could bring a case to court for trial.

·        The defendant was innocent until proven guilty.

·        The defendant had the right to present evidence.


Roman Punishments

·        Prison Sentences: - Prison sentences were not used as punishments. Prisons were only for people in debt or those awaiting trial or execution.

·        Roman Punishments became more violent over time.

·        It was a patriarchal society.

·        The most violent punishments were reserved for rebels against the Empire.

·        After a revolt by thousands of runaway slaves led by Spartacus, 6000 captured prisoners were crucified.

·        Christians were executed, some by crucifixion; others were thrown to beasts




I KNOW WHO YOU ARE :D hey not air-Marshall Sean... ;) x

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Crime and punishment through time (OCR History A) resources »