Punishments in Rome were very harsh
In the absence of electric chairs and lethal injections, what would have been the options for punishments in Rome? Ancient Rome did not have to deal with human welfare advocates, thus, crimes committed were strictly addressed to by the government.
Punishments in Rome were actually very harsh. There are laws expressed in the Twelve Tables and disobedience to any of those was dealt with the corresponding penalty. A person convicted of slander was clubbed to death. Thieves were whipped, however, if he is a slave, he has to be executed by throwing him off Tarpeian rock on the Capitoline hill. Those who were convicted of swindling their clients were also sentenced to execution. Judges who were bribed, persons convicted of treason, or those who committed perjury were executed as these crimes were considered the heaviest crimes of the State.
Punishments in Rome were really downright cruel. The death penalty wasn’t always carried out. Sometimes, the house of the convicted person is demolished so he would go on an exile. However, the punishments in Rome were harsher to Vestal Virgins convicted of not living up to their vow of chastity. Since the Vestal Virgins were not supposed to shed blood, they are instead buried alive.
The punishments in Rome did not spare non-Romans
Men are well-respected in ancient Rome. Fathers have the supreme authority in every family. He has the power to sell any or all of his children to slavery. He can decide to have a disobedient son executed, or in subtler Roman terms, offered as sacrifice to the gods. The father treated his daughters like a property which he can sell to anyone he desired. The fathers were also given the right to decide whom their sons marry and when to divorce them. Roman laws were even harsher to those who display physical flaws. Punishments in Rome were not restricted to those convicted for crimes. Those who were born with physical deformities were killed right after birth. Parents were even allowed to kill their babies if at least five other people agreed to it.
The punishments in Rome did not spare non-Romans who were convicted of crimes. They were usually meted out with crucifixion, which leads to a slow and painful death. Soldiers during the earliest years of Rome have their own types of penalties. For minor offenses, punishments included lesser food ration or eating barley in place of the grain ration. Those from the lower ranks were most often hit by the centurion or sentenced to whipping in the presence of the other soldiers. There are subtler penalties though, like salary deductions, loss of privileges, or for graver offenses – discharge from the service.
If the punishments in Rome did well in reducing crimes and not just in lessening the population, we probably should start flogging criminals too.