Ancient Greece and Rome had the Death Penalty for Treason


SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

From the Twelve Tables

“The Law of the Twelve Tables commands that anyone who has conspired with an enemy against the state or handed a citizen to a public enemy, should suffer capital punishment.”

Marcianus, ap. Dig., XLVIII, 4, 3: Lex XII Tabularum iubet eum qui hostem concitaverit quive civem hosti tradiderit capite puniri.

Cicero, De Legibus 3.2

“[Cases concerning] death and citizenship must not be pursued except before the greatest assembly and those whom the censors have recorded in the rolls of the citizens.”

de capite civis nisi per maximum comitiatum ollosque, quos censores in partibus populi locasint, ne ferunto.

The death penalty is not the enactment of justice, it is the execution of vengeance when justice is impossible or not actually desired. It does not function as a deterrent. It is meted out disproportionately to people without financial and social capital, which in the United States means that…

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