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Why didn't the Romans conquer crime?

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Introduction

Why didn't the Romans conquer crime? The Romans were efficient and rational people. Their leaders were ruthless. You might think this would make them ideally suited to the task of conquering crime and yet they were not able to effectively. The Romans did try to stop crime but they just didn't prevent it well enough. They Romans had many laws. All laws were made by the Emperor and the Senate. They were written down in detail, often updated and covered all aspects of crime, from the assassination of the Emperor to everyday crimes such as street theft and burglary, even selling underweight bread in the market. There were also laws designed to make Rome a better place to live in. Laws laid down, that householders had to keep pavements and streets clean outside their homes. Dumping waste in the River Tiber, where drinking water came from, was illegal and so were starting fires. There was great danger of fire spreading rapidly and destroying hundreds of homes. The first recorded Roman laws were the Twelve Tables, which were written down around 450BC. ...read more.

Middle

So still, the victims of crime had to investigate and supply evidence themselves. When the victim had the evidence, they took it to the local centurion who summoned the accused person to court to put their side of the case. Many a time the criminal would have got away with the crime. Magistrates dealt with minor case in local courts but all important cases were sent to the Governor's courts in the chief towns. Theft was regarded as a minor crime because it did not effect the ruler or the majority of the people. If you were burgled in Ancient Rome you could not expect any help from the Vigiles, Urban cohorts or Praetorian Guards. You had to find the criminal yourself and summon them to court. At the court a judge was chosen, he was not a lawyer although he could take advice from lawyers and both sides presented their evidence. Then the judge reached his decision. There was a different system for more serious cases such a murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

Anyone convicted of Patricide (killing their father) was tied in a sack containing snakes and thrown into the river to drown. The big idea of Roman punishments was to deter potential criminals by harsh punishment. How you were punished depended on who you were. Nobles could be sentenced to death for serious crimes but they were allowed to go into exile and avoid execution. All the slaves in a household were crucified if one of them murdered or tried to murder their master. Slaves could give evidence in a trial, but only if they had been tortured first! There were three key principles of Roman law that are still part of the British legal system today: * Defendants must know the charges against them. * Both accuser and defendant must come to the court. * Defendants must have the chance to give their evidence to defend themselves. The Romans were still obviously not good at preventing crime. So why is Britain, today, still using the age-old laws of the Roman Ages. Can Britain really conquer crime efficiently? Or are they not much better at preventing crime than the Romans were!? ...read more.

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