HIST 303: Crime and Punishment in the Ancient World

This course explores the history of criminal justice systems in the ancient Mediterranean through close examination of select primary sources. Its primary focus is Greece and Rome, but it will also cover Pharaonic Egypt and the Ancient Near East. We shall move chronologically, geographically, and topically, treating a broad range of literary and archaeological evidence. Of central importance to the course will be the issue of boundaries: between right and wrong, imprisonment and freedom, individual and state. Law codes from Mesopotamia, tomb robbery in the Egyptian New Kingdom, the trial and execution of Socrates, police in the streets of Rome, execution by gladiator, spiritual and allegorical punishment: the course encompasses it all!