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Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2301A/B
Randall Pogorzelski

Classics: Crime and Punishment Week One In 249 BCE ancient Rome, Roman carthage were fighting the first Punic war. The Roman consul Claudius Pulcher was in command of 123 ships and was about to attack the Carthaginian fleet. In order to determine if the gods favored the attack, he order the traditional test using the sacred chicken. The test was: take out the sacred chickens and give them food, if they eat the food in front of them, than it shows the gods are in favor. When Claudius did the test the chickens refused to eat. Claudius then said, “if they wont eat, let them drink”. He then ordered them to be thrown into the sea. He then attacked the Carthaginian fleet anyway and he suffered a major defeat, losing 93 of the 123 ships. When he returned to Rome, his political enemies charged him with capital treason and he was tried before the assembly in the Roman forum. By law, the trial had to be completed in a single day but a storm delayed the hearing. The tribunes rule that since it was not completed in one day, Claudius could not be convicted and not be charged again. He could however be charged with the same crime but this time not capitally, he was duly convicted and find 12 thousand denary. This story can relate to modern times in many ways. Firstly, it has the issue of double jeopardy: once Claudius has been charged, he cannot be charged again on the same charge for the same crime even if he was only acquitted by a technicality. Secondly: the punishment in this case was supposed to be execution but was ultimately a fine. Both of which are possible punishments in modern day courts although Canada no longer executes criminals. Finally: the charge was treason which is also a modern crime. On the other hand, there are also unfamiliar things about this case, such as: first, the charge revolves a religious matter. It wasn’t that he lost the battle, but rather that he engaged in the battle when the gods told him not too. Today we do not charge people with treason for killed sacred chickens. Secondly, this case was about a war crime but was tried using the same courts as any other crime. It was normal to charge generals with crimes when they come back from a fight especially when they faced defeat. Finally, this was a trial preformed outdoors in front of a large assembly of roman people rather than a courtroom in front of a jury. Civil and Criminal Law Civil: Civil law deals with the disputes between individuals, organizations, or between the two, in which compensation is awarded to the victim. Private and public c
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