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The History Of Crime And Punishment

834 words - 4 pages

When studying the purpose and function of punishment across different time periods, a common aim becomes clear; to create an orderly and peaceful society. However, the methods of and ideology behind punishments is not congruent. Early time periods employed harsh, permanent punishments whereas modern societies utilized humane corrective services when dealing with criminals. When placed side by side, the Roman Empire, Medieval Britain and today’s society clearly illustrate the changes in methods and ideology behind reprimanding criminals. From this we can determine how early societies influenced the laws of future societies, however we can also determine how the laws and its punishments ...view middle of the document...

Roman law and modern law share a highly structured system where the laws are written in specific detail and the processes encompassing the law are religiously followed. They difference between Ancient Roman law and modern law lies within their ideology and methodology behind punishments; as aforementioned, the Roman’s utilized harsh punishments, but modern law enlists humane corrective services to reform their criminals.
The medieval law system was structured so it could satisfy the Great Chain of Being, a concept which detailed a strict, religious hierarchical structure of all matter and life. This concept was assimilated into the legal system to appease both the Catholic Church – which in this period had immense power and wealth- and the monarchy. After this fusion the punishments moved from beatings and death to mutilations.
Mutilations were most commonly utilized as punishments as it offered offenders the ability to either repent and save their soul or confess to their crimes and again, find retribution through religion. The habitual use of mutilations as a punishment technique reflects the growing power of religion within the society, leading the societal views to move from favouring justice and revenge to valuing the a person’s moral standing with the lord and keeping high levels of faith.
The similarities shared between Roman and medieval law is the continued use of harsh, public punishment to discipline criminals. The difference between the two societies is the aim and view of punishment; ancient Rome believed in eradicating criminals to promote an orderly...

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