By Mitchel P. Roth
From “an eye for an eye” to debates over capital punishment, humanity has a protracted and debatable dating with dishing out justice for legal acts. this present day, crime and punishment stay major elements of our tradition, yet societies differ tremendously on what's thought of felony and the way it's going to be punished. during this international survey of crime and punishment all through background, Mitchel P. Roth examines how and why we penalize sure actions, and he scrutinizes the effectiveness of such efforts in either punishing wrongdoers and bringing a feeling of justice to victims.
Drawing on anthropology, archaeology, folklore, and literature, Roth chronicles the worldwide historical past of crime and punishment—from early civilizations to the outlawing of intercourse crimes and serial murder to the advance of equipped crime and the probability this present day of world piracy. He explores the delivery of the prison and the perform of incarceration in addition to the fashionable philosophy of rehabilitation, arguing that those are possibly crucial advances within the attempt to defend electorate from damage. having a look heavily on the retributions societies have condoned, Roth additionally examine execution and its many varieties, exhibiting how stoning, hemlock, the firing squad, and deadly injection are thought of both barbaric or justified throughout diverse cultures. finally, he illustrates that regardless of advances in each point of human adventure, there's impressive continuity in what's thought of against the law and the sanctions administered.
Perfect for college kids, teachers, and normal readers alike, this interdisciplinary e-book presents a desirable examine illegal activity and its results.
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Extra resources for An Eye for an Eye: A Global History of Crime and Punishment
Most historical accounts of ancient crime and punishment overlook the fact that like so many other components of modern criminal justice systems, prisons date back to early antiquity. How far back, of course, is anyone’s guess; but tombs, execution chambers and holding places for slaves captured in war, date back thousands of years. Information about the earliest ones is scarce; although they are given more than a passing notice in Egyptian hieroglyphics, Greek myths and the Book of Genesis. The notion of locking someone up and throwing away the key is extremely old.
East of this complex is another pyramid whose local Arabic name means ‘Joseph’s Prison’. In the Valley of the Kings and other locations there are many graphic portrayals of imprisonment as it was practised in antiquity. There are even references to prisons in the Rosetta Stone (196 bc), unearthed in 1799. The oldest Egyptian tombs date back over 5,000 years (located on the Nile opposite ruins of Memphis), while the earliest symbol for prison has been traced back to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics combining the terms ‘house’ and ‘darkness’, although we know little else.
Of these, Athens looms largest, making it almost synonymous with Greece in the ancient world. The Greek law codes that developed in the seventh century bc differed from earlier Near Eastern and Mosaic laws in a number of respects. Unlike the laws of the omnipotent King Hammurabi, and God’s law that dominated Mosaic Law, Athenian law was based on the popular consent of the people. By most accounts the Greeks absorbed aspects of Mesopotamian law and Eastern legal ideas and channelled them westwards.
An Eye for an Eye: A Global History of Crime and Punishment by Mitchel P. Roth