Capital Punishment in Ancient Rome and Greece | Essay (274 Words)

Murder, being the worst of crimes, must deserve the highest penalty which is death sentence. This shall also be in accordance of the principle that punishment must be in proportion to the gravity of the offence.

Ancient Romans accepted the deterrent value of death penalty. Under the Roman criminal law, the offender was put to public ridicule and his execution took the form of a ceremony. Death was caused to the condemned person in a most tortuous manner. For example, one who killed his father was sewn in a sack along with a live dog, cat and a cobra and thrown into river. The object was to make him die most painfully.

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The sentence of death could be awarded even to a debtor who was unable to pay off the debt of his creditor. Thus, a creditor who found that his debtor was unable to pay off the debt, could vent his wrath upon the debtor by marching him up the Tarpeian rock and hurling him from there to death.

The Greek penal system also provided death sentence for many offences. The offenders were stripped, tarred and feathered to death publicly. Execution of death penalty in public places was favoured because of its deterrent effect.