Capital punishment in the Ancient Rome

Keywords: Ancient Rome, republic, Empire, Laws of XII tables, crimes, lex talionis, punishment system, capital punishment, slave, citizen.


The process of formation and development of one of the main forms of punishment in the Ancient Rome – the death penalty has been studied. It has been demonstrated that the capital punishment for violation of customs, traditions and laws was common in the Ancient Rome. During the republic period, when remnants of the tribal system were preserved, the capital punishment was spread to all groups of society. Despite the presence of a large arsenal of ways to deprive a person’s life, the dominant was not so much to hurt and make suffering to the offender as the desire of early revenge. In the days of the Empire the death penalty was applied mainly against the dependent groups of society and only in exceptional cases – against those who had Roman citizenship. In carrying out the capital punishment, the priority was the desire to cause the offender as much suffering and pain. On this basis, the ways and methods of tortures and execution became more diverse. It has been demonstrated that a large number of slaves and a hostile attitude towards them from citizens – were those factors that contributed to the emergence of different ways of the capital punishment.

It has been concluded that the capital punishment in the Ancient Rome was of special importance. But, if the death penalty in the republican period of its history was considered one of the most effective measures that could consolidate that society, then capital punishment during the Empire became a spectacle and one of the preconditions of its decay.


Download data is not yet available.


Логинов О. Казни мира. Древний Рим // МИРТЕСЕН: сайт. URL:

Поликарпова Н. А. Идея смерти как наказания в древнеримской юридической традиции. Ярославский педагогический вестник. 2011. № 3, т. 1 (Гуманитарные науки). С. 72–75.

Хрестоматия по истории древнего мира/под ред. В. И. Кузищина. М.: Высш. шк., 1987. 431 с.

Хрестоматия по истории древнего мира/под. ред. С. Л. Утченко. М. : Изд-во Социэкгиз, 1962. 675 с.

Культура Древнего Рима: в 2 т. Т. 2/под. ред. Е. С. Голубцовой. М. : Наука, 1985. 628 с.

Власенко С. И. Отражение представлений о почетной и унизительной смерти в древнеримской практике наказаний // Концепт. 2015. Т. 8. С. 216–220. URL:

Тираспольский Г. И. Беседы с палачом. Казни, пытки и суровые наказания в Древнем Риме. М.: Интрада, 2003. 192 с.

Хёфлинг Г. Римляне, рабы, гладиаторы: Спартак у ворот Рима. М.: Мысль, 1992. 270 с.

Сергеенко М. Е. Жизнь Древнего Рима: очерки быта. М.; Л.: Наука, 1964. 336 с.

Омельченко О. А. Римское право: учебник. Изд. 2-е, испр. и доп. М.: ТОН – Остожье, 2000. 208 с.

Abstract views: 8
PDF Downloads: 13
How to Cite
Lohvynenko, Y. (2018) “Capital punishment in the Ancient Rome”, Bulletin of Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs, 74(3), pp. 38-43. Available at: (Accessed: 26May2019).