The first formal and printed set of laws was the Code of Hammurabi (Leick, 2003, p. 36) in 1750 B. C. E Mesopotamia set forth by the Babylonian King Hammurabi. The Law Code (publicised in his 39th regnal year) represents an attempt to formalise certain legal relationships and sets down tariffs for a number of commodities and fines. Careful attention is given to the duties and rights of people who were granted land by the crown in return for services.
It also contains prescriptive legislation about a wide number of issues, from homicide to inheritance, accusations of witchcraft, damage to property, marriage and adultery, as well as professional conduct. (Leick, 2003, p. 36) The "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" principle espoused by the Code promoted a justice system of vengeance and retribution. The Code also divided people into three groups: the slaves who are not viewed as humans but more of "property," the owners who were entitle to humanity, and the muskenum who were entitled to certain restricted rights yet were not totally free.
(Leick, 2003, p. 39) Punishment in Greek and Roman Societies The system of retribution forwarded by the Code of Hammurabi was not so favored in both Greek and Roman civilizations. The Greeks and Romans favored punishment with the purpose of reformation and deterrence. The Greek philosopher Plato (Saunders, 1994, p. 25) was one of the first to question the validity of the concept of punishment as a simple act of retribution. Plato said that to punish just for the sake of inflicting pain and suffering to avenge a wrong is not a legitimate enough reason for punishment.
He propounded the thought that punishment should be viewed more as a "curative treatment" with the higher purpose of reformation and deterrence (Bauman, 1996, p. 3). Plato proposed that the criminal soul is subjected to punishment, will be forced to evaluate his action and thus reform his ways. As a deterrent, punishment and penalties if severe enough, will deter individuals from committing or repeating his crime. In Rome despite his orientation as a barrister that made him uncomfortable with philosophy, Cicero exemplified the views Plato advanced with regard to punishment as a reformatory and deterrent tool.
(Bauman, 1996, p. 4) Cicero states that "mildness and clemency (mansuetudo atque clementia), commendable as they are, should give way to severitas when the interests of the res publica are involved; without that proper government is not possible. " (Bauman, 1996, p. 36) According to Cicero, punishment should never be done simply to satisfy the person inflicting punishment or to just humiliate the offender. Punishment should be carried out in the interest of the public. Cicero also stated that the offender's fear not only of punishment (poenae metus,) but also of humiliation are effective deterrents of wrongdoing.
(Bauman, 1996, p. 37) The Rise of Christianity in Rome and its Effects on Punishment Christianity in Rome began with the slaves and peasant class between 48-50AD. Christians were punished and persecuted for their faith along with a host of other crimes attributed to them. One of these persecutors was the Roman Emperor Nero who is believed to have blamed the Great Fire of Rome in 64AD that he himself set on the Christians. For this, he "punished" the Christians and had them massacred at the Roman amphitheater.
The other forms of torture and atrocious methods of punishment Nero inflicted in the Christians included crucifixion, dressing Christians up in animal skins to be attacked by dogs, and perhaps the most brutal of all, was the drenching in oil and burning alive of Christians. Sympathy eventually began to grow for the Christians among the pagan citizens of Rome. This was very different from when the Romans felt that Christianity was illegal on its first onset. Now, more and more people started converting to Christianity.
After Rome adopted Christianity as its state religion under the leadership of Constantine the Great in 312AD, the view of punishment shifted to a more spiritual and tolerant perspective. While there were still some cases of capital punishment, more often than not, confinement in a monastery was substituted whenever possible. (Elliott, 1996, p. 331) Punishment in the Early Middle Ages: England and Europe The Early Middle Ages in England and Europe saw the development of two systems: the Ecclesiastical (Church) and the Secular (Feudal system).