Peter Sidney Derow
Andrew M. Riggsby
“Crime” lacks a fully agreed definition across modern societies, but competing versions tend to stress notions like punishment, protection of public or collective interests, and a pervasive role for the state in proceedings. Over time the Romans used a series of different procedures (successively, trial before the assemblies, by specialized juries, or by imperial inquisitors) to try most of their offences that would be more or less recognizably criminal today. Substantively, the core of this group were offences against the state in an institutional sense (e.g., sedition, electoral malpractice, abuse of public office, forgery). Over time it also came to include an increasing number of (personal) crimes of violence. Some core modern criminal offences such as forms of theft and forgery of private documents came to be grouped in with these only at a very late date and incompletely. “Moral” offences that are treated as criminal more sporadically today (e.g., use of intoxicants, gambling, prostitution) were not criminalized. Penalties in earlier periods included fines, civic disgrace, and exile; later periods introduced finer differentiation of penalties, as well as execution. Imprisonment was not a formal penalty.
Roman criminal law had a deeper and more complicated relationship to politics than did the private, civil law. This is true both in the sense that the jurists were relatively uninterested in the criminal law, especially before the late 2nd century
George Ronald Watson and Andrew Lintott
In Roman public law, cura(tio) means the responsibility for a particular area of public administration, normally inhering in a magistrate. *Cicero, in his description of the ideal (Roman) Republic, makes the aediles curatores of the city, the food supply, and the traditional games (Leg. 3.7). (He avoids the term for the other magistrates, probably for literary reasons.) In 3.10 he stipulates, in his affected pseudo-archaic language, that if anything outside the sphere of the magistracies needs to be attended to (coerari oesus est), the People shall elect a man to administer it (qui coeret) and give him the power to do so.
It is clear that this way of attending to business not within the sphere of any magistrate was a fairly late development, probably because of the Roman distrust of conferring special powers on one man, which was overcome only when the Republic was beginning to break down.
T. Corey Brennan
Arnaldo Momigliano and Antony Spawforth
Arnold Hugh Martin Jones and Antony Spawforth
Decaproti (δεκάπρωτοι) first appear in 66