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Punishment During Ancient Egypt, Edo Japan And Stuart England Era

984 words - 4 pages

Punishments as a result of crime have changed in many societies, directly reflecting society’s views. Religion, classes and governments are examples of aspects that lead to change in punishments. Ancient Egypt, Edo Japan and Stuart England are eras whereby changing various societal views led to punishments themselves being modified.

The Edo Japan period, from 1603-1867, had a violent outlook towards the treatment of their criminals. The Tokugawa shogunate, the last feudal Japanese military government, maintained execution grounds for Edo, and also carried out many of the punishments inflicted on the perpetrators. The death penalty was a direct result of murder and arson. The shogun executed ...view middle of the document...

However, several were still utilised. The death penalty was very rare in ancient Egypt; nevertheless grave robbers were executed in horrendous ways. Grave robbing, or tomb raiding, as seen in source b, was considered the worst crime a person could ever commit. It was the act of breaking into a tomb with the intention to steal whatever they could find that possessed value. It was seen as robbing one’s eternity, and severe punishments would entail if a person were caught. A confession was the basis for a conviction; means for achieving this confession included witnesses and torture. The first method of torture was beating and whipping. A person’s arms, legs and back were whipped viciously and continuously to retrieve a confession. The Vizier (the highest official in Ancient Egypt to serve the king or pharaoh) and his men would threaten to amputate the criminal’s hands, ears and the nose- at times, they would follow through with it. Robbers would often be executed through forms of impalement or being burnt alive. Other crimes such as bribery, assault, rape and murder were punishable by fines, confiscation of property, imprisonment, forced labour, mutilation or banishment.

Egyptian law was closely entwined with religion, which influenced the crimes, punishments and rituals of its citizens. Following the concept of Ma’at, the law was based on a common view of right and wrong. Ma’at was a goddess that represented truth, order and balance in the universe. They also served the pharaoh, who was at the very top of the social hierarchy, a god, obtaining absolute political power. When ancient Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, decades passed and it officially became a Christian nation. With more and more people embracing Christianity, the government modified the punishments to be less severe. Similar to present time, social class does not determine what type of punishment you get, ensuring a fairer society. However, contrary to ancient Egyptian time, punishments and crime in the...

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