An Eye for an Eye: A Global History of Crime and Punishment

An Eye for an Eye: A Global History of Crime and Punishment

Mitchel P. Roth

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 1780233590

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

From “an eye for an eye” to debates over capital punishment, humanity has a long and controversial relationship with doling out justice for criminal acts. Today, crime and punishment remain significant parts of our culture, but societies vary greatly on what is considered criminal and how it should be punished. In this global survey of crime and punishment throughout history, Mitchel P. Roth examines how and why we penalize certain activities, and he scrutinizes the effectiveness of such efforts in both punishing wrongdoers and bringing a sense of justice to victims.
Drawing on anthropology, archaeology, folklore, and literature, Roth chronicles the global history of crime and punishment—from early civilizations to the outlawing of sex crimes and serial homicide to the development of organized crime and the threat today of global piracy. He explores the birth of the penitentiary and the practice of incarceration as well as the modern philosophy of rehabilitation, arguing that these are perhaps the most important advances in the effort to safeguard citizens from harm. Looking closely at the retributions societies have condoned, Roth also look at execution and its many forms, showing how stoning, hemlock, the firing squad, and lethal injection are considered either barbaric or justified across different cultures. Ultimately, he illustrates that despite advances in every level of human experience, there is remarkable continuity in what is considered a crime and the sanctions administered.
Perfect for students, academics, and general readers alike, this interdisciplinary book provides a fascinating look at criminality and its consequences.

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Triptych (Will Trent, Book 1)















penalties . . . are directed, not against specific infractions, but to the restoration of this equilibrium.’30 Considering the European–African nexus, there were hardly any prisons in either region until the late eighteenth century, leading one Africanist to suggest that ‘Africa was not much out of step’ with its counterparts in the Western world at this juncture.31 British empire builders introduced the modern prison to Nigeria beginning in the 1860s, although there is some evidence that

someone fall 100s, and brawling just 3 lire. The aforementioned penalties were doubled for knights, sons of knights and anyone who owned 2,000 lire in property. Some of the listed infractions give one the impression of a rude age. Those who knocked out or broke another’s tooth, pushed someone into a fire or pulled another from a horse were fined 10 lire. However, if a miscreant had the gall to put dung, excrement or similar filth in anyone’s mouth the penalty was more than doubled to 25 lire. All

a pregnant woman to give birth first and hope for mercy. But, in many cases the only mercy they received was to be strangled before being burned alive. In fourteenth-century Venice a distinction was made between counterfeiters and clippers. Instead of being burned alive clippers could take solace in only losing the right hand and being subsequently banished. In similar fashion, women lost their noses instead of the right hand. In 1359, Venetian authorities added gouging out both eyes to the list

punished for the same crime which the accused would have merited. This could include strangling, beheading and other sanctions. If the false accusation was discovered before the sanction was used, the false accuser would suffer 100 blows and perpetual banishment to at least 3,000 li from residence.86 Chinese law recognized seven categories of homicide, each with its own punishment. Premeditated murder was punished with decapitation and any accessories were strangled. No crime was considered more

specific religious texts or agreed forms of worship. Some historians suggest early investigators misinterpreted conversations with captured Thugs and that this, combined with prejudice against Hinduism, textured many of the accounts.58 William Sleeman, a British Army official and the eventual nemesis of this scourge, had read Sherwood’s findings and, with no police presence outside British possessions, had to create his own police network while obtaining permission from local courts to try

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