Murder Was Not a Crime: Homicide and Power in the Roman Republic

By Judy E. Gaughan | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

Each decade after Sulla’s dictatorship ended saw an increase in political violence until, within fifty years after Sulla’s dictatorship, the Roman republic came to an end. The pervasiveness of homicide in this period is infamous, for Sulla’s march on Rome, his proscriptions, and his employment of the hostis declaration would be copied by ambitious Romans who came after him, as would the use of the senatus consultum ultimum. The decisions to use these mechanisms came in response to ever-increasing political violence and homicide on the streets of Rome.

At the same time, some Roman magistrates also chose to combat increasing urban violence by creating judicial change: in particular, the various pieces of legislation on public and private violence.1 These changes would help to alter the purpose of the lex Cornelia de sicariis et veneficiis by helping it evolve into a murder law.2 Thus, during the last moments of the Roman republic when the government was on the brink of a transition to empire and the creation of a centralized political institution that would last for centuries, murder became a crime.

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Murder Was Not a Crime: Homicide and Power in the Roman Republic
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • One - Killing and the King 9
  • Two - Power of Life and Death 23
  • Three - Killing and the L Aw, 509–450 B.C.E 53
  • Four - Murder Was Not a Crime, 449–81 B.C.E 67
  • Five - Capital Jurisdiction, 449–81 B.C.E 90
  • Six - License to Kill 109
  • Seven - Centralization of P Ower and Sull An Ambiguity 126
  • Epilogue 141
  • Notes 143
  • Bibliography 181
  • Index 191
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