History Podcasts

Name of the ancient law that forbade naming/publicising the name of a criminal?

Name of the ancient law that forbade naming/publicising the name of a criminal?

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

I think it was a Roman law, and it said that when a horrific crime was committed, the criminal could not be named, and anyone who disobeyed would suffer capital punishment. I can't remember the name, although I think it may have started with an 'H'/

I believe you are thinking ofHerostratus, the name of the man for whom the law was created (according to the History, he set fire to the temple of Artemis in Ephesus just in order to be famous and recorded in the History1)

More generally, that law (and other similar like those of romans, egyptians and the like) are usually called damnatio memoriae; usually they were applied against previous rulers or powerful officials who had fallen of grace, and included destroying their statues, erasing any written (or sculpted) apparition of their name.

Note: Ostracism was the name of exile. The name came because, being a severe punishment, it was usually decreed by all voting members of the polis which used ceramic pieces (ostrakas) to vote.

1: As you can see, he succeeded and the law failed.

Name of the ancient law that forbade naming/publicising the name of a criminal? - History

In general, there are three stages that most legal systems progress through:

    Pre Legal Society - The only recognizable characteristic of a pre-legal society is that it has no established ways of dealing with disputes that arise in a society. A small society may remain in this stage for an extended period of time, but when the population density reaches a certain point there are too many people who don't know each other and a more formal system is needed.

Proto Legal Society has rules as well as procedures for handling disputes. At this stage there is no distinction between rules (social standards, such as it's not nice to point), and laws (linking specific acts to specific consequences). This is a linking stage between the anarchistic pre-legal stage, and the more rigid legal stage.

After the Dark Ages - About 1200-900 BC - and beginning at about 900 BC, the Ancient Greeks had no official laws or punishments. Murders were settled by members of the victim's family, who would then go and kill the murderer. This often began endless blood feuds. It was not until the middle of the seventh century BC that the Greeks first began to establish official laws. Around 620 BC Draco, the lawgiver, wrote the first known written law of Ancient Greece. This law established exile as the penalty for homicide and was the only one of Draco's laws that Solon kept when he was appointed law giver in about 594 BC. Solon created many new laws that fit into the four basic categories of Ancient Greek law.

A tort occurs when someone does harm to you or to your property. Draco and Solon wrote many of these laws. These laws had specific penalties for specific crimes. Most crimes involved monetary (payment) penalties. Murder was a tort law, and the punishment was exile as set by Draco. Under Solon's laws, fine for rape was 100 drachmas, and the penalty for theft depended on the amount stolen. Other offenses and penalties were things like the offense of a dog bite, the penalty for which was to surrender the dog wearing a three-cubit-long wooden collar. Solon even made laws to serve as guidelines for the spacing and placement of houses, walls, ditches, wells, beehives, and certain types of trees.

Solon also created many family laws, which were laws that regulated the behavior of men and women. He wrote laws on allowances in marriage and adoption, as well as laws concerning inheritances and supporting roles of parents. Penalties for these laws were not set, but were enforced by the head of the particular family. Linked to family laws were laws concerning women, whose role in Greek law was extremely small. This is because they were under constant supervision by their kyrios, or "official guardian." Most often this was a girl's father, or if she were married it was her husband. Because of this supervision, women's role in law was limited to rare court appearances, where she was either presenting evidence in a homicide case, or was being displayed along with her family to try to evoke pity from the jury.

Public laws dictated how public services were to be provided and how public functions should be conducted. Solon contributed some of these laws. He wrote laws that required that people who lived a certain distance from public wells needed to dig their own, laws that forbade the export of agricultural goods except olive oil, laws that restricted the amount of land a man could own, laws that allowed venders to charge any kind of interest rate they wanted to, and even laws that prohibited dealing in perfume.

Procedural laws were guidelines that told judges how to use other laws. These laws told in step-by-step detail how law should be enforced. Procedural laws even included such minute details as how many witnesses must be called forward for someone to be found guilty of homicide.

Law Givers

Law giverswere not rulers or kings, but appointed officials whose only job was to write laws. Most of the lawgivers were middle class members of the aristocracy and many were arkhons before becoming a law giver. The officials in the government wanted to make sure that law givers would not take sides or be a part of just one group, otherwise laws might be unfair. Because of this, law givers were not a part of normal government, and they were considered political outsiders.

One of the most famous law givers in Athens was Draco. His homicide law is the first known written law of Ancient Greece. He was appointed law giver in Athens after a failed Cylon attempt to overthrow the government. Draco earned a reputation for being extremely severe with his punishments, and it is even argued that he set death as the penalty for all offenses. He served as law giver until he was succeeded by Solon in about 594 BC

Solon was appointed law giver in Athens because he did not take any sides. He was known to be a fair man, and so he had full support from all of the various political parties. When he replaced Draco, Solon threw out all of the old laws except for the homicide law, and he created many new laws, especially in the categories of tort and family laws.

Courts and Judicial System

In order to have punishments carried out, the Ancient Greeks needed some sort of system to "try," "convict," and "sentence" guilty persons. To do this, they created a court system. Ancient Greek courts were cheap and run by what people today would call amateurs.Court officials were paid little, if anything, and most trials were completed in the same day, private cases even more quickly. There were no "professional" court officials, no lawyers, and no official judges.A normal case consisted of two "litigants," one who argued that an unlawful act was committed, and the other argued his defense. The audience, or "jurors," would vote for one side or the other. The result was either a guilty or not guilty, after which another vote by the jury would decide the punishment.

Oratory rhetoric was divided into epideictic, deliberative, and forensic. Deliberative was used to address the people in the general Assembly. Forensic was delivered in the law courts. These are usually called political oratory because they both deal with government. Epideictic or display oratory included all other orations, such as those delivered during festivals, public rites, or moral discourses While under Macedonian rule oratory rhetoric languished and Athens became a provincial town. Other cities succeeded Athens, the "School of Greece" as Pericles had called her. However, oratory eventually degenerated into declamation.

The Areiopagos is reputed to be the most ancient homicide court in Greece. It first tried cases of homicide, but later began to try other cases as well. It was made up of former arkhons, or magistrates. Actual arkhai (plural of arkhon) were court officials who could conduct a preliminary hearing, but who otherwise had no power over the court or its proceedings.Among the arkhai was a board of eleven members called the Eleven. The Eleven was in charge of prisoners and executions.They had the right to arrest any criminal that had been denounced to them, and could even execute the criminal if he was 'ep autophoro' - caught in the act.

Around the fifth century BC, the Areiopagos was split into four types of courts, each trying a different type of homicide case. The Areiopagos remained but now dealt primarily with religious and political cases.

The four new courts were the Prutaneion, which tried cases of death caused by an animal or inanimate object, the Palladion, which dealt with cases of involuntary homicide and the killing of non citizens, the Delphinion, which tried cases of justifiable homicide, and the Phreatto, which tried those who, while in banishment for involuntary homicide, were charged with murder or intent to harm. These courts were ruled by a group of about fifty-one members, called the ephetai. These members were selected from the Areiopagos and remained in charge of the courts until about 403 or 402 BC, when they were replaced by dikastai, democratically selected jurors.

With the emergence of the ephetai came a new age of dikastic courts. Previous courts were replaced with one, which heard every kind of case. Regular public prosecutions were referred to as a graphe, and a dike was a private prosecution. The dikastai had the power to decide the law, to decide the facts, and to pass sentence on the party/parties involved. To qualify as a member of the dikastai, one needed to meet three requirements. The potential dikastes needed to have full citizen rights, be at least thirty years old, and he had to be one of the six thousand fully qualified citizens that took the dikastic oath at the start of that year. For normal cases the dikastai was made up of about 500 members, and for private cases either 200 or 400, depending on the sum involved. Fulfilling the requirements of the dikastai did not require the individual to then be available to try cases every day. Each panel of dikastai was simply made up of those legitimate dikastai members that showed up that day. Those that joined the dikastai for that day would oversee a typical case consisting of a dispute between two litigants. The verdict in the case was a vote for one or the other. Verdicts in Athenian courts were not subject to appeal, and sometimes the dikastai would vote after the trial to find a penalty as well.

Ancient Greek law is a branch of comparative jurisprudence relating to the laws and legal institutions of Ancient Greece.

Greek Iuris law has been partially compared with Roman law, and has been incidentally illustrated with the aid of the primitive institutions of the Germanic nations. It may now be studied in its earlier stages in the laws of Gortyn its influence may be traced in legal documents preserved in Egyptian papyri and it may be recognized as a consistent whole in its ultimate relations to Roman law in the eastern provinces of the Roman empire.

The existence of certain general principles of law is implied by the custom of settling a difference between two Greek states, or between members of a single state, by resorting to external arbitration. The general unity of Greek law is mainly to be seen in the laws of inheritance and adoption, in laws of commerce and contract, and in the publicity uniformly given to legal agreements. The main creaters of the laws in Ancient Greek laws was the assembly. They had to have over 6,000 members present before they held any meetings. Athens was the source of the first democracy.

No systematic collection of Greek laws has come down to us. Our knowledge of some of the earliest notions of the subject is derived from the Homeric poems. For the details of Attic law we have to depend on ex parte statements in the speeches of the Attic orators, and we are sometimes able to check those statements by the trustworthy, but often imperfect, aid of inscriptions. Incidental illustrations of the laws of Athens may be found in the Laws of Plato, who deals with the theory of the subject without exercising any influence on actual practice.

The Laws of Plato are criticized in the Politics of Aristotle, who, besides discussing laws in their relation to constitutions, reviews the work of certain early Greek lawgivers. The treatise on the Constitution of Athens includes an account of the jurisdiction of the various public officials and of the machinery of the law courts, and thus enables us to dispense with the second-hand testimony of grammarians and scholiasts who derived their information from that treatise (see Constitution of Athens).

The works of Theophrastus On the Laws, which included a recapitulation of the laws of various barbaric as well as Grecian states, are now represented by only a few fragments (Nos. 97-106, ed. Winner).


The practice of infanticide has taken many forms over time. Child sacrifice to supernatural figures or forces, such as that believed to have been practiced in ancient Carthage, may be only the most notorious example in the ancient world.

A frequent method of infanticide in ancient Europe and Asia was simply to abandon the infant, leaving it to die by exposure (i.e., hypothermia, hunger, thirst, or animal attack). [4] [5]

On at least one island in Oceania, infanticide was carried out until the 20th century by suffocating the infant, [6] while in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and in the Inca Empire it was carried out by sacrifice (see below).

Paleolithic and Neolithic Edit

Many Neolithic groups routinely resorted to infanticide in order to control their numbers so that their lands could support them. Joseph Birdsell believed that infanticide rates in prehistoric times were between 15% and 50% of the total number of births, [7] while Laila Williamson estimated a lower rate ranging from 15% to 20%. [1] : 66 Both anthropologists believed that these high rates of infanticide persisted until the development of agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution. [8] : 19 Comparative anthropologists have calculated that 50% of female newborn babies were killed by their parents during the Paleolithic era. [9] From the infants hominid skulls (e.g. Taung child skull) that had been traumatized, has been proposed cannibalism by Raymond A. Dart. [10] The children were not necessarily actively killed, but neglect and intentional malnourishment may also have occurred, as proposed by Vicente Lull as an explanation for an apparent surplus of men and the below average height of women in prehistoric Menorca. [11]

In ancient history Edit

In the New World Edit

Archaeologists have uncovered physical evidence of child sacrifice at several locations. [8] : 16–22 Some of the best attested examples are the diverse rites which were part of the religious practices in Mesoamerica and the Inca Empire. [12] [13] [14]

In the Old World Edit

Three thousand bones of young children, with evidence of sacrificial rituals, have been found in Sardinia. Pelasgians offered a sacrifice of every tenth child during difficult times. Syrians sacrificed children to Jupiter and Juno. Many remains of children have been found in Gezer excavations with signs of sacrifice. Child skeletons with the marks of sacrifice have been found also in Egypt dating 950–720 BCE. [ citation needed ] In Carthage "[child] sacrifice in the ancient world reached its infamous zenith". [ attribution needed ] [8] : 324 Besides the Carthaginians, other Phoenicians, and the Canaanites, Moabites and Sepharvites offered their first-born as a sacrifice to their gods.

Ancient Egypt Edit

In Egyptian households, at all social levels, children of both sexes were valued and there is no evidence of infanticide. [15] The religion of the Ancient Egyptians forbade infanticide and during the Greco-Roman period they rescued abandoned babies from manure heaps, a common method of infanticide by Greeks or Romans, and were allowed to either adopt them as foundling or raise them as slaves, often giving them names such as "copro -" to memorialize their rescue. [16] Strabo considered it a peculiarity of the Egyptians that every child must be reared. [17] Diodorus indicates infanticide was a punishable offence. [18] Egypt was heavily dependent on the annual flooding of the Nile to irrigate the land and in years of low inundation, severe famine could occur with breakdowns in social order resulting, notably between 930–1070 CE and 1180–1350 CE . Instances of cannibalism are recorded during these periods but it is unknown if this happened during the pharaonic era of Ancient Egypt. [19] Beatrix Midant-Reynes describes human sacrifice as having occurred at Abydos in the early dynastic period (c. 3150–2850 BCE), [20] while Jan Assmann asserts there is no clear evidence of human sacrifice ever happening in Ancient Egypt. [21]

Carthage Edit

According to Shelby Brown, Carthaginians, descendants of the Phoenicians, sacrificed infants to their gods. [22] Charred bones of hundreds of infants have been found in Carthaginian archaeological sites. One such area harbored as many as 20,000 burial urns. [22] Skeptics suggest that the bodies of children found in Carthaginian and Phoenician cemeteries were merely the cremated remains of children that died naturally. [23]

Plutarch (c. 46–120 CE ) mentions the practice, as do Tertullian, Orosius, Diodorus Siculus and Philo. The Hebrew Bible also mentions what appears to be child sacrifice practiced at a place called the Tophet (from the Hebrew taph or toph, to burn) by the Canaanites. Writing in the 3rd century BCE, Kleitarchos, one of the historians of Alexander the Great, described that the infants rolled into the flaming pit. Diodorus Siculus wrote that babies were roasted to death inside the burning pit of the god Baal Hamon, a bronze statue. [24] [25]

Greece and Rome Edit

The historical Greeks considered the practice of adult and child sacrifice barbarous, [26] however, the exposure of newborns was widely practiced in ancient Greece. [27] [28] [29] It was advocated by Aristotle in the case of congenital deformity: "As to the exposure of children, let there be a law that no deformed child shall live.” [30] In Greece, the decision to expose a child was typically the father's, although in Sparta the decision was made by a group of elders. [31] Exposure was the preferred method of disposal, as that act in itself was not considered to be murder moreover, the exposed child technically had a chance of being rescued by the gods or any passersby. [32] This very situation was a recurring motif in Greek mythology. [33] To notify the neighbors of a birth of a child, a woolen strip was hung over the front door to indicate a female baby and an olive branch to indicate a boy had been born. Families did not always keep their new child. After a woman had a baby, she would show it to her husband. If the husband accepted it, it would live, but if he refused it, it would die. Babies would often be rejected if they were illegitimate, unhealthy or deformed, the wrong sex, or too great a burden on the family. These babies would not be directly killed, but put in a clay pot or jar and deserted outside the front door or on the roadway. In ancient Greek religion, this practice took the responsibility away from the parents because the child would die of natural causes, for example, hunger, asphyxiation or exposure to the elements.

The practice was prevalent in ancient Rome, as well. Philo was the first philosopher to speak out against it. [34] A letter from a Roman citizen to his sister, or a pregnant wife from her husband, [35] dating from 1 BCE, demonstrates the casual nature with which infanticide was often viewed:

"I am still in Alexandria. . I beg and plead with you to take care of our little child, and as soon as we receive wages, I will send them to you. In the meantime, if (good fortune to you!) you give birth, if it is a boy, let it live if it is a girl, expose it.", [36] [37] "If you give birth to a boy, keep it. If it is a girl, expose it. Try not to worry. I'll send the money as soon as we get paid." [38]

In some periods of Roman history it was traditional for a newborn to be brought to the pater familias, the family patriarch, who would then decide whether the child was to be kept and raised, or left to die by exposure. [39] The Twelve Tables of Roman law obliged him to put to death a child that was visibly deformed. The concurrent practices of slavery and infanticide contributed to the "background noise" of the crises during the Republic. [39]

Infanticide became a capital offense in Roman law in 374, but offenders were rarely if ever prosecuted. [40]

According to mythology, Romulus and Remus, twin infant sons of the war god Mars, survived near-infanticide after being tossed into the Tiber River. According to the myth, they were raised by wolves, and later founded the city of Rome.

Middle Ages Edit

Whereas theologians and clerics preached sparing their lives, newborn abandonment continued as registered in both the literature record and in legal documents. [5] : 16 According to William Lecky, exposure in the early Middle Ages, as distinct from other forms of infanticide, "was practiced on a gigantic scale with absolute impunity, noticed by writers with most frigid indifference and, at least in the case of destitute parents, considered a very venial offence". [41] : 355–56 The first foundling house in Europe was established in Milan in 787 on account of the high number of infanticides and out-of-wedlock births. The Hospital of the Holy Spirit in Rome was founded by Pope Innocent III because women were throwing their infants into the Tiber river. [42]

Unlike other European regions, in the Middle Ages the German mother had the right to expose the newborn. [43]

In the High Middle Ages, abandoning unwanted children finally eclipsed infanticide. [ citation needed ] Unwanted children were left at the door of church or abbey, and the clergy was assumed to take care of their upbringing. This practice also gave rise to the first orphanages.

However, very high sex ratios were common in even late medieval Europe, which may indicate sex-selective infanticide. [44]

Judaism Edit

Judaism prohibits infanticide, and has for some time, dating back to at least early Common Era. Roman historians wrote about the ideas and customs of other peoples, which often diverged from their own. Tacitus recorded that the Jews "take thought to increase their numbers, for they regard it as a crime to kill any late-born children". [45] Josephus, whose works give an important insight into 1st-century Judaism, wrote that God "forbids women to cause abortion of what is begotten, or to destroy it afterward". [46]

Pagan European tribes Edit

In his book Germania, Tacitus wrote in 98 CE that the ancient Germanic tribes enforced a similar prohibition. He found such mores remarkable and commented: "[The Germani] hold it shameful to kill any unwanted child." It has become clear over the millennia, though, that Tacitus' description was inaccurate the consensus of modern scholarship significantly differs. John Boswell believed that in ancient Germanic tribes unwanted children were exposed, usually in the forest. [47] : 218 "It was the custom of the [Teutonic] pagans, that if they wanted to kill a son or daughter, they would be killed before they had been given any food." [47] : 211 Usually children born out of wedlock were disposed of that way.

In his highly influential Pre-historic Times, John Lubbock described burnt bones indicating the practice of child sacrifice in pagan Britain. [48]

The last canto, Marjatan poika (Son of Marjatta), of Finnish national epic Kalevala describes assumed infanticide. Väinämöinen orders the infant bastard son of Marjatta to be drowned in a marsh.

The Íslendingabók, the main source for the early history of Iceland, recounts that on the Conversion of Iceland to Christianity in 1000 it was provided – in order to make the transition more palatable to Pagans – that "the old laws allowing exposure of newborn children will remain in force". However, this provision – like other concessions made at the time to the Pagans – was abolished some years later.

Christianity Edit

Christianity explicitly rejects infanticide. The Teachings of the Apostles or Didache said "thou shalt not kill a child by abortion, neither shalt thou slay it when born". [49] The Epistle of Barnabas stated an identical command, both thus conflating abortion and infanticide. [50] Apologists Tertullian, Athenagoras, Minucius Felix, Justin Martyr and Lactantius also maintained that exposing a baby to death was a wicked act. [4] In 318, Constantine I considered infanticide a crime, and in 374, Valentinian I mandated the rearing of all children (exposing babies, especially girls, was still common). The Council of Constantinople declared that infanticide was homicide, and in 589, the Third Council of Toledo took measures against the custom of killing their own children. [40]

Arabia Edit

Some Muslim sources allege that pre-Islamic Arabian society practiced infanticide as a form of "post-partum birth control". [51] The word waʾd was used to describe the practice. [52] These sources state that infanticide was practiced either out of destitution (thus practiced on males and females alike), or as "disappointment and fear of social disgrace felt by a father upon the birth of a daughter". [51]

Some authors believe that there is little evidence that infanticide was prevalent in pre-Islamic Arabia or early Muslim history, except for the case of the Tamim tribe, who practiced it during severe famine according to Islamic sources. [53] Others state that "female infanticide was common all over Arabia during this period of time" (pre-Islamic Arabia), especially by burying alive a female newborn. [8] : 59 [54] A tablet discovered in Yemen, forbidding the people of a certain town from engaging in the practice, is the only written reference to infanticide within the peninsula in pre-Islamic times. [55]

Islam Edit

Infanticide is explicitly prohibited by the Qur'an. [56] "And do not kill your children for fear of poverty We give them sustenance and yourselves too surely to kill them is a great wrong." [57] Together with polytheism and homicide, infanticide is regarded as a grave sin (see 6:151 and 60:12). [51] Infanticide is also implicitly denounced in the story of Pharaoh's slaughter of the male children of Israelites (see 2:49 7:127 7:141 14:6 28:4 40:25). [51]

Ukraine and Russia Edit

Infanticide may have been practiced as human sacrifice, as part of the pagan cult of Perun. Ibn Fadlan describes sacrificial practices at the time of his trip to Kiev Rus (present-day Ukraine) in 921–922, and describes an incident of a woman voluntarily sacrificing her life as part of a funeral rite for a prominent leader, but makes no mention of infanticide. The Primary Chronicle, one of the most important literary sources before the 12th century, indicates that human sacrifice to idols may have been introduced by Vladimir the Great in 980. The same Vladimir the Great formally converted Kiev Rus into Christianity just 8 years later, but pagan cults continued to be practiced clandestinely in remote areas as late as the 13th century.

American explorer George Kennan noted that among the Koryaks, a Mongoloid people of north-eastern Siberia, infanticide was still common in the nineteenth century. One of a pair of twins was always sacrificed. [58]

Great Britain Edit

Infanticide (as a crime) gained both popular and bureaucratic significance in Victorian Britain. By the mid-19th century, in the context of criminal lunacy and the insanity defence, killing one's own child(ren) attracted ferocious debate, as the role of women in society was defined by motherhood, and it was thought that any woman who murdered her own child was by definition insane and could not be held responsible for her actions. Several cases were subsequently highlighted during the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment 1864–66, as a particular felony where an effective avoidance of the death penalty had informally begun.

The New Poor Law Act of 1834 ended parish relief for unmarried mothers and allowed fathers of illegitimate children to avoid paying for "child support". [60] Unmarried mothers then received little assistance and the poor were left with the option either entering the workhouse, prostitution, infanticide or abortion. By the middle of the century infanticide was common for social reasons, such as illegitimacy, and the introduction of child life insurance additionally encouraged some women to kill their children for gain. Examples are Mary Ann Cotton, who murdered many of her 15 children as well as three husbands, Margaret Waters, the 'Brixton Baby Farmer', a professional baby-farmer who was found guilty of infanticide in 1870, Jessie King hanged in 1889, Amelia Dyer, the 'Angel Maker', who murdered over 400 babies in her care, and Ada Chard-Williams, a baby farmer who was later hanged at Newgate prison.

The Times reported that 67 infants were murdered in London in 1861 and 150 more recorded as "found dead", many of which were found on the streets. Another 250 were suffocated, half of them not recorded as accidental deaths. The report noted that "infancy in London has to creep into life in the midst of foes." [61]

Recording a birth as a still-birth was also another way of concealing infanticide because still-births did not need to be registered until 1926 and they did not need to be buried in public cemeteries. [62] In 1895 The Sun (London) published an article "Massacre of the Innocents" highlighting the dangers of baby-farming, in the recording of stillbirths and quoting Braxton-Hicks, the London Coroner, on lying-in houses: "I have not the slightest doubt that a large amount of crime is covered by the expression 'still-birth'. There are a large number of cases of what are called newly-born children, which are found all over England, more especially in London and large towns, abandoned in streets, rivers, on commons, and so on." He continued "a great deal of that crime is due to what are called lying-in houses, which are not registered, or under the supervision of that sort, where the people who act as midwives constantly, as soon as the child is born, either drop it into a pail of water or smother it with a damp cloth. It is a very common thing, also, to find that they bash their heads on the floor and break their skulls." [63]

The last British woman to be executed for infanticide of her own child was Rebecca Smith, who was hanged in Wiltshire in 1849.

The Infant Life Protection Act of 1897 required local authorities to be notified within 48 hours of changes in custody or the death of children under seven years. Under the Children's Act of 1908 "no infant could be kept in a home that was so unfit and so overcrowded as to endanger its health, and no infant could be kept by an unfit nurse who threatened, by neglect or abuse, its proper care, and maintenance."

Asia Edit

China Edit

Short of execution, the harshest penalties were imposed on practitioners of infanticide by the legal codes of the Qin dynasty and Han dynasty of ancient China. [65]

The Venetian explorer Marco Polo claimed to have seen newborns exposed in Manzi. [66] China's society practiced sex selective infanticide. Philosopher Han Fei Tzu, a member of the ruling aristocracy of the 3rd century BCE, who developed a school of law, wrote: "As to children, a father and mother when they produce a boy congratulate one another, but when they produce a girl they put it to death." [67] Among the Hakka people, and in Yunnan, Anhui, Sichuan, Jiangxi and Fujian a method of killing the baby was to put her into a bucket of cold water, which was called "baby water". [68]

Infanticide was reported as early as the 3rd century BCE, and, by the time of the Song dynasty (960–1279 CE ), it was widespread in some provinces. Belief in transmigration allowed poor residents of the country to kill their newborn children if they felt unable to care for them, hoping that they would be reborn in better circumstances. Furthermore, some Chinese did not consider newborn children fully "human" and saw "life" beginning at some point after the sixth month after birth. [69]

Contemporary writers from the Song dynasty note that, in Hubei and Fujian provinces, residents would only keep three sons and two daughters (among poor farmers, two sons, and one daughter), and kill all babies beyond that number at birth. [70] Initially the sex of the child was only one factor to consider. By the time of the Ming Dynasty, however (1368–1644), male infanticide was becoming increasingly uncommon. The prevalence of female infanticide remained high much longer. The magnitude of this practice is subject to some dispute however, one commonly quoted estimate is that, by late Qing, between one fifth and one-quarter of all newborn girls, across the entire social spectrum, were victims of infanticide. If one includes excess mortality among female children under 10 (ascribed to gender-differential neglect), the share of victims rises to one third. [71] [72] [73]

Scottish physician John Dudgeon, who worked in Peking, China, during the early 20th century said that, "Infanticide does not prevail to the extent so generally believed among us, and in the north, it does not exist at all." [74]

Gender-selected abortion or sex identification (without medical uses [75] [76] ), abandonment, and infanticide are illegal in present-day Mainland China. Nevertheless, the US State Department, [77] and the human rights organization Amnesty International [78] have all declared that Mainland China's family planning programs, called the one child policy (which has since changed to a two-child policy [79] ), contribute to infanticide. [80] [81] [82] The sex gap between males and females aged 0–19 years old was estimated to be 25 million in 2010 by the United Nations Population Fund. [83] But in some cases, in order to avoid Mainland China's family planning programs, parents will not report to government when a child is born (in most cases a girl), so she or he will not have an identity in the government and they can keep on giving birth until they are satisfied, without fines or punishment. In 2017, the government announced that all children without an identity can now have an identity legally, known as family register. [84]

Japan Edit

Since feudal Edo era Japan the common slang for infanticide was "mabiki" (間引き) which means to pull plants from an overcrowded garden. A typical method in Japan was smothering the baby's mouth and nose with wet paper. [85] It became common as a method of population control. Farmers would often kill their second or third sons. Daughters were usually spared, as they could be married off, sold off as servants or prostitutes, or sent off to become geishas. [86] Mabiki persisted in the 19th century and early 20th century. [87] To bear twins was perceived as barbarous and unlucky and efforts were made to hide or kill one or both twins. [88]

India Edit

Female infanticide of newborn girls was systematic in feudatory Rajputs in South Asia for illegitimate female children during the Middle Ages. According to Firishta, as soon as the illegitimate female child was born she was held "in one hand, and a knife in the other, that any person who wanted a wife might take her now, otherwise she was immediately put to death". [91] The practice of female infanticide was also common among the Kutch, Kehtri, Nagar, Bengal, Miazed, Kalowries and Sindh communities. [92]

It was not uncommon that parents threw a child to the sharks in the Ganges River as a sacrificial offering. The East India Company administration were unable to outlaw the custom until the beginning of the 19th century. [93] : 78

According to social activists, female infanticide has remained a problem in India into the 21st century, with both NGOs and the government conducting awareness campaigns to combat it. [94] In India female infanticide is more common than the killing of male offspring, due to sex-selective infanticide. [95]

Africa Edit

In some African societies some neonates were killed because of beliefs in evil omens or because they were considered unlucky. Twins were usually put to death in Arebo as well as by the Nama people of South West Africa in the Lake Victoria Nyanza region by the Tswana in Portuguese East Africa in some parts of Igboland, Nigeria twins were sometimes abandoned in a forest at birth (as depicted in Things Fall Apart), oftentimes one twin was killed or hidden by midwives of wealthier mothers and by the !Kung people of the Kalahari Desert. [8] : 160–61 The Kikuyu, Kenya's most populous ethnic group, practiced ritual killing of twins. [96]

Infanticide is rooted in the old traditions and beliefs prevailing all over the country. A survey conducted by Disability Rights International found that 45% of women interviewed by them in Kenya were pressured to kill their children born with disabilities. The pressure is much higher in the rural areas, with every second mother being forced out of three. [97]

Australia Edit

Literature suggests infanticide may have occurred reasonably commonly among Indigenous Australians, in all areas of Australia prior to European settlement. Infanticide may have continued to occur quite often up until the 1960s. An 1866 issue of The Australian News for Home Readers informed readers that "the crime of infanticide is so prevalent amongst the natives that it is rare to see an infant". [98]

Author Susanna de Vries in 2007 told a newspaper that her accounts of Aboriginal violence, including infanticide, were censored by publishers in the 1980s and 1990s. She told reporters that the censorship "stemmed from guilt over the stolen children question". [99] Keith Windschuttle weighed in on the conversation, saying this type of censorship started in the 1970s. [99] In the same article Louis Nowra suggested that infanticide in customary Aboriginal law may have been because it was difficult to keep an abundant number of Aboriginal children alive there were life-and-death decisions modern-day Australians no longer have to face. [99]

South Australia and Victoria Edit

According to William D. Rubinstein, "Nineteenth-century European observers of Aboriginal life in South Australia and Victoria reported that about 30% of Aboriginal infants were killed at birth." [100]

James Dawson wrote a passage about infanticide among Indigenous people in the western district of Victoria, which stated that "Twins are as common among them as among Europeans but as food is occasionally very scarce, and a large family troublesome to move about, it is lawful and customary to destroy the weakest twin child, irrespective of sex. It is usual also to destroy those which are malformed." [101]

He also wrote "When a woman has children too rapidly for the convenience and necessities of the parents, she makes up her mind to let one be killed, and consults with her husband which it is to be. As the strength of a tribe depends more on males than females, the girls are generally sacrificed. The child is put to death and buried, or burned without ceremony not, however, by its father or mother, but by relatives. No one wears mourning for it. Sickly children are never killed on account of their bad health, and are allowed to die naturally." [101]

Western Australia Edit

In 1937, a reverend in the Kimberley offered a "baby bonus" to Aboriginal families as a deterrent against infanticide and to increase the birthrate of the local Indigenous population. [102]

Australian Capital Territory Edit

A Canberran journalist in 1927 wrote of the "cheapness of life" to the Aboriginal people local to the Canberra area 100 years before. "If drought or bush fires had devastated the country and curtailed food supplies, babies got a short shift. Ailing babies, too would not be kept" he wrote. [103]

New South Wales Edit

A bishop wrote in 1928 that it was common for Aboriginal Australians to restrict the size of their tribal groups, including by infanticide, so that the food resources of the tribal area may be sufficient for them. [104]

Northern Territory Edit

Annette Hamilton, a professor of anthropology at Macquarie University who carried out research in the Aboriginal community of Maningrida in Arnhem Land during the 1960s wrote that prior to that time part-European babies born to Aboriginal mothers had not been allowed to live, and that 'mixed-unions are frowned on by men and women alike as a matter of principle'. [105]

North America Edit

Inuit Edit

There is no agreement about the actual estimates of the frequency of newborn female infanticide in the Inuit population. Carmel Schrire mentions diverse studies ranging from 15–50% to 80%. [106]

Polar Inuit (Inughuit) killed the child by throwing him or her into the sea. [107] There is even a legend in Inuit mythology, "The Unwanted Child", where a mother throws her child into the fjord.

The Yukon and the Mahlemuit tribes of Alaska exposed the female newborns by first stuffing their mouths with grass before leaving them to die. [108] In Arctic Canada the Inuit exposed their babies on the ice and left them to die. [41] : 354

Female Inuit infanticide disappeared in the 1930s and 1940s after contact with the Western cultures from the South. [109]

Canada Edit

The Handbook of North American Indians reports infanticide among the Dene Natives and those of the Mackenzie Mountains. [110] [111]

Native Americans Edit

In the Eastern Shoshone there was a scarcity of Indian women as a result of female infanticide. [112] For the Maidu Native Americans twins were so dangerous that they not only killed them, but the mother as well. [113] In the region known today as southern Texas, the Mariame Indians practiced infanticide of females on a large scale. Wives had to be obtained from neighboring groups. [114]

Mexico Edit

Bernal Díaz recounted that, after landing on the Veracruz coast, they came across a temple dedicated to Tezcatlipoca. "That day they had sacrificed two boys, cutting open their chests and offering their blood and hearts to that accursed idol". [115] In The Conquest of New Spain Díaz describes more child sacrifices in the towns before the Spaniards reached the large Aztec city Tenochtitlan.

South America Edit

Although academic data of infanticides among the indigenous people in South America is not as abundant as that of North America, the estimates seem to be similar.

Brazil Edit

The Tapirapé indigenous people of Brazil allowed no more than three children per woman, and no more than two of the same sex. If the rule was broken infanticide was practiced. [116] The Bororo killed all the newborns that did not appear healthy enough. Infanticide is also documented in the case of the Korubo people in the Amazon. [117]

The Yanomami men killed children while raiding enemy villages. [118] Helena Valero, a Brazilian woman kidnapped by Yanomami warriors in the 1930s, witnessed a Karawetari raid on her tribe:

"They killed so many. I was weeping for fear and for pity but there was nothing I could do. They snatched the children from their mothers to kill them, while the others held the mothers tightly by the arms and wrists as they stood up in a line. All the women wept. . The men began to kill the children little ones, bigger ones, they killed many of them.”. [118]

Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia Edit

While qhapaq hucha was practiced in the Peruvian large cities, child sacrifice in the pre-Columbian tribes of the region is less documented. However, even today studies on the Aymara Indians reveal high incidences of mortality among the newborn, especially female deaths, suggesting infanticide. [119] The Abipones, a small tribe of Guaycuruan stock, of about 5,000 by the end of the 18th century in Paraguay, practiced systematic infanticide with never more than two children being reared in one family. The Machigenga killed their disabled children. Infanticide among the Chaco in Paraguay was estimated as high as 50% of all newborns in that tribe, who were usually buried. [120] The infanticidal custom had such roots among the Ayoreo in Bolivia and Paraguay that it persisted until the late 20th century. [121]

Infanticide has become less common in the Western world. The frequency has been estimated to be 1 in approximately 3000 to 5000 children of all ages [122] and 2.1 per 100,000 newborns per year. [123] It is thought that infanticide today continues at a much higher rate in areas of extremely high poverty and overpopulation, such as parts of China and India. [124] Female infants, then and even now, are particularly vulnerable, a factor in sex-selective infanticide. Recent estimates suggest that over 100 million girls and women are 'missing' in Asia. [125]

Benin Edit

In spite of the fact that it is illegal, in Benin, West Africa, parents secretly continue with infanticidal customs. [126]

North Korea Edit

According to "The Hidden Gulag" published by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, Mainland China returns all illegal immigrants from North Korea which usually imprisons them in a short term facility. Korean women who are suspected of being impregnated by Chinese fathers are subjected to forced abortions babies born alive are killed, sometimes by exposure or being buried alive. [127]

Mainland China Edit

There have been some accusations that infanticide occurs in Mainland China due to the one-child policy. [128] In the 1990s, a certain stretch of the Yangtze River was known to be a common site of infanticide by drowning, until government projects made access to it more difficult. Recent studies suggest that over 40 million girls and women are missing in Mainland China (Klasen and Wink 2002). [129]

India Edit

The practice has continued in some rural areas of India. [130] [131] Infanticide is illegal in India but still has the highest infanticide rate in the world. [132]

According to a recent report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) up to 50 million girls and women are missing in India's population as a result of systematic sex discrimination and sex selective abortions. [133]

Pakistan Edit

Killings of newborn babies have been on the rise in Pakistan, corresponding to an increase in poverty across the country. [134] More than 1,000 infants, mostly girls, were killed or abandoned to die in Pakistan in 2009 according to a Pakistani charity organization. [135]

The Edhi Foundation found 1,210 dead babies in 2010. Many more are abandoned and left at the doorsteps of mosques. As a result, Edhi centers feature signs "Do not murder, lay them here." Though female infanticide is punishable by life in prison, such crimes are rarely prosecuted. [134]

Oceania Edit

In November 2008 it was reported that in Agibu and Amosa villages of Gimi region of Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea where tribal fighting in the region of Gimi has been going on since 1986 (many of the clashes arising over claims of sorcery) women had agreed that if they stopped producing males, allowing only female babies to survive, their tribe's stock of boys would go down and there would be no men in the future to fight. They agreed to have all newborn male babies killed. It is not known how many male babies were killed by being smothered, but it had reportedly happened to all males over a 10-year period and probably was still happening.

England and Wales Edit

In England and Wales there were typically 30 to 50 homicides per million children less than 1 year old between 1982 and 1996. [136] The younger the infant, the higher the risk. [136] The rate for children 1 to 5 years was around 10 per million children. [136] The homicide rate of infants less than 1 year is significantly higher than for the general population. [136]

In English law infanticide is established as a distinct offence by the Infanticide Acts. Defined as the killing of a child under 12 months of age by their mother, the effect of the Acts are to establish a partial defence to charges of murder. [137]

United States Edit

In the United States the infanticide rate during the first hour of life outside the womb dropped from 1.41 per 100,000 during 1963 to 1972 to 0.44 per 100,000 for 1974 to 1983 the rates during the first month after birth also declined, whereas those for older infants rose during this time. [138] The legalization of abortion, which was completed in 1973, was the most important factor in the decline in neonatal mortality during the period from 1964 to 1977, according to a study by economists associated with the National Bureau of Economic Research. [138] [139]

While legislation regarding infanticide in the majority of Western countries focuses on rehabilitation, believing that treatment and education will prevent repetitive action, the United States remains focused on delivering punishment. One justification for punishment is the difficulty of implementing rehabilitation services. With an overcrowded prison system, the United States can not provide the necessary treatment and services. [140]

Canada Edit

In Canada 114 cases of infanticide by a parent were reported during 1964–1968. [141] There is ongoing debate in the Canadian legal and political fields about whether section 237 of the Criminal Code, which creates the specific offence and partial defence of infanticide in Canadian law, should be amended or abolished altogether. [142]

Spain Edit

In Spain, far-right political party Vox has claimed that female perpetrators of infanticide outnumber male perpetrators of femicide. [143] However, neither the Spanish National Statistics Institute nor the Ministry of the Interior keep data on the gender of perpetrators, but victims of femicide consistently number higher than victims of infanticide. [144] From 2013 to March 2018, 28 infanticide cases perpetrated by 22 mothers and three stepmothers were reported in Spain. [145] Historically, the most famous Spanish infanticide case was the murder of Bernardo González Parra in 1910 perpetrated by Francisco Leona Romero, Julio Hernández Rodríguez, Francisco Ortega el Moruno and Agustina Rodríguez. [146] [147]

There are various reasons for infanticide. Neonaticide typically has different patterns and causes than for the killing of older infants. Traditional neonaticide is often related to economic necessity – the inability to provide for the infant.

In the United Kingdom and the United States, older infants are typically killed for reasons related to child abuse, domestic violence or mental illness. [136] For infants older than one day, younger infants are more at risk, and boys are more at risk than girls. [136] Risk factors for the parent include: Family history of violence, violence in a current relationship, history of abuse or neglect of children, and personality disorder and/or depression. [136]

Religious Edit

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, "loopholes" were invented by Protestants who wanted to avoid the damnation that was promised by most Christian doctrine as a penalty of suicide. One famous example of someone who wished to end their life but avoid the eternity in hell was Christina Johansdotter (died 1740). She was a Swedish murderer who killed a child in Stockholm with the sole purpose of being executed. She is an example of those who seek suicide through execution by committing a murder. It was a common act, frequently targeting young children or infants as they were believed to be free from sin, thus believing to go "straight to heaven". [148]

On the contrary, most mainstream denominations view the murder of an innocent as being condemned in the Fifth Commandment. The Roman Catholic Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, in Donum Vitæ, is instructive. "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being." [149]

In 1888, Lieut. F. Elton reported that Ugi beach people in the Solomon Islands killed their infants at birth by burying them, and women were also said to practice abortion. They reported that it was too much trouble to raise a child, and instead preferred to buy one from the bush people. [150]

Economic Edit

Many historians believe the reason to be primarily economic, with more children born than the family is prepared to support. In societies that are patrilineal and patrilocal, the family may choose to allow more sons to live and kill some daughters, as the former will support their birth family until they die, whereas the latter will leave economically and geographically to join their husband's family, possibly only after the payment of a burdensome dowry price. Thus the decision to bring up a boy is more economically rewarding to the parents. [8] : 362–68 However, this does not explain why infanticide would occur equally among rich and poor, nor why it would be as frequent during decadent periods of the Roman Empire as during earlier, less affluent, periods. [8] : 28–34, 187–92

Before the appearance of effective contraception, infanticide was a common occurrence in ancient brothels. Unlike usual infanticide – where historically girls have been more likely to be killed – prostitutes in certain areas preferred to kill their male offspring. [151]

UK 18th and 19th century Edit

Instances of infanticide in Britain in 18th and 19th centuries is often attributed to the economic position of the women, with juries committing “pious perjury” in many subsequent murder cases. The knowledge of the difficulties faced in the 18th century by those women who attempted to keep their children can be seen as a reason for juries to show compassion. If the woman chose to keep the child, society was not set up to ease the pressure placed upon the woman, legally, socially or economically. [152]

In mid-18th century Britain there was assistance available for women who were not able to raise their children. The Foundling Hospital opened in 1756 and was able to take in some of the illegitimate children. However, the conditions within the hospital caused Parliament to withdraw funding and the governors to live off of their own incomes. [153] This resulted in a stringent entrance policy, with the committee requiring that the hospital:

Will not receive a child that is more than a year old, nor the child of a domestic servant, nor any child whose father can be compelled to maintain it. [154]

Once a mother had admitted her child to the hospital, the hospital did all it could to ensure that the parent and child were not re-united. [154]

MacFarlane argues in Illegitimacy and Illegitimates in Britain (1980) that English society greatly concerned itself with the burden that a bastard child places upon its communities and had gone to some lengths to ensure that the father of the child is identified in order to maintain its well-being. [155] Assistance could be gained through maintenance payments from the father, however, this was capped "at a miserable 2 s and 6 d a week". [156] If the father fell behind with the payments he could only be asked "to pay a maximum of 13 weeks arrears". [156]

Despite the accusations of some that women were getting a free hand-out, there is evidence that many women were far from receiving adequate assistance from their parish. "Within Leeds in 1822 . relief was limited to 1 s per week". [157] Sheffield required women to enter the workhouse, whereas Halifax gave no relief to the women who required it. The prospect of entering the workhouse was certainly something to be avoided. Lionel Rose quotes Dr Joseph Rogers in Massacre of the Innocents . (1986). Rogers, who was employed by a London workhouse in 1856 stated that conditions in the nursery were ‘wretchedly damp and miserable . [and] . overcrowded with young mothers and their infants’. [158]

The loss of social standing for a servant girl was a particular problem in respect of producing a bastard child as they relied upon a good character reference in order to maintain their job and more importantly, to get a new or better job. In a large number of trials for the crime of infanticide, it is the servant girl that stood accused. [159] The disadvantage of being a servant girl is that they had to live to the social standards of their superiors or risk dismissal and no references. Whereas within other professions, such as in the factory, the relationship between employer and employee was much more anonymous and the mother would be better able to make other provisions, such as employing a minder. [160] The result of the lack of basic social care in Britain in the 18th and 19th century is the numerous accounts in court records of women, particularly servant girls, standing trial for the murder of their child. [161]

There may have been no specific offense of infanticide in England before about 1623 because infanticide was a matter for the by ecclesiastical courts, possibly because infant mortality from natural causes was high (about 15% or one in six). [162]

Thereafter the accusation of the suppression of bastard children by lewd mothers was a crime incurring the presumption of guilt. [163]

The Infanticide Acts are several laws. That of 1922 made the killing of an infant child by its mother during the early months of life as a lesser crime than murder. The acts of 1938 and 1939 abolished the earlier act, but introduced the idea that postpartum depression was legally to be regarded as a form of diminished responsibility.

Population control Edit

Marvin Harris estimated that among Paleolithic hunters 23–50% of newborn children were killed. He argued that the goal was to preserve the 0.001% population growth of that time. [164] : 15 He also wrote that female infanticide may be a form of population control. [164] : 5 Population control is achieved not only by limiting the number of potential mothers increased fighting among men for access to relatively scarce wives would also lead to a decline in population. For example, on the Melanesian island of Tikopia infanticide was used to keep a stable population in line with its resource base. [6] Research by Marvin Harris and William Divale supports this argument, it has been cited as an example of environmental determinism. [165]

Psychological Edit

Evolutionary psychology Edit

Evolutionary psychology has proposed several theories for different forms of infanticide. Infanticide by stepfathers, as well as child abuse in general by stepfathers, has been explained by spending resources on not genetically related children reducing reproductive success (See the Cinderella effect and Infanticide (zoology)). Infanticide is one of the few forms of violence more often done by women than men. Cross-cultural research has found that this is more likely to occur when the child has deformities or illnesses as well as when there are lacking resources due to factors such as poverty, other children requiring resources, and no male support. Such a child may have a low chance of reproductive success in which case it would decrease the mother's inclusive fitness, in particular since women generally have a greater parental investment than men, to spend resources on the child. [166]

"Early infanticidal childrearing" Edit

A minority of academics subscribe to an alternate school of thought, considering the practice as "early infanticidal childrearing". [167] : 246–47 They attribute parental infanticidal wishes to massive projection or displacement of the parents' unconscious onto the child, because of intergenerational, ancestral abuse by their own parents. [168] Clearly, an infanticidal parent may have multiple motivations, conflicts, emotions, and thoughts about their baby and their relationship with their baby, which are often colored both by their individual psychology, current relational context and attachment history, and, perhaps most saliently, their psychopathology [169] (See also Psychiatric section below) Almeida, Merminod, and Schechter suggest that parents with fantasies, projections, and delusions involving infanticide need to be taken seriously and assessed carefully, whenever possible, by an interdisciplinary team that includes infant mental health specialists or mental health practitioners who have experience in working with parents, children, and families.

Wider effects Edit

In addition to debates over the morality of infanticide itself, there is some debate over the effects of infanticide on surviving children, and the effects of childrearing in societies that also sanction infanticide. Some argue that the practice of infanticide in any widespread form causes enormous psychological damage in children. [167] : 261–62 Conversely, studying societies that practice infanticide Géza Róheim reported that even infanticidal mothers in New Guinea, who ate a child, did not affect the personality development of the surviving children that "these are good mothers who eat their own children". [170] Harris and Divale's work on the relationship between female infanticide and warfare suggests that there are, however, extensive negative effects.

Psychiatric Edit

Postpartum psychosis is also a causative factor of infanticide. Stuart S. Asch, MD, a Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell University established the connections between some cases of infanticide and post-partum depression. [171] , [172] The books, From Cradle to Grave, [173] and The Death of Innocents, [174] describe selected cases of maternal infanticide and the investigative research of Professor Asch working in concert with the New York City Medical Examiner's Office. Stanley Hopwood wrote that childbirth and lactation entail severe stress on the female sex, and that under certain circumstances attempts at infanticide and suicide are common. [175] A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry revealed that 44% of filicidal fathers had a diagnosis of psychosis. [176] In addition to postpartum psychosis, dissociative psychopathology and sociopathy have also been found to be associated with neonaticide in some cases [177]

In addition, severe postpartum depression can lead to infanticide. [178]

Sex selection Edit

Sex selection may be one of the contributing factors of infanticide. In the absence of sex-selective abortion, sex-selective infanticide [ dead link ] can be deduced from very skewed birth statistics. The biologically normal sex ratio for humans at birth is approximately 105 males per 100 females normal ratios hardly ranging beyond 102–108. [179] When a society has an infant male to female ratio which is significantly higher or lower than the biological norm, and biased data can be ruled out, sex selection can usually be inferred. [180]

Australia Edit

In New South Wales, infanticide is defined in Section 22A(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) as follows: [181]

Where a woman by any willful act or omission causes the death of her child, being a child under the age of twelve months, but at the time of the act or omission the balance of her mind was disturbed by reason of her not having fully recovered from the effect of giving birth to the child or by reason of the effect of lactation consequent upon the birth of the child, then, notwithstanding that the circumstances were such that but for this section the offense would have amounted to murder, she shall be guilty of infanticide, and may for such offense be dealt with and punished as if she had been guilty of the offense of manslaughter of such child.

Because Infanticide is punishable as manslaughter, as per s24, [182] the maximum penalty for this offence is therefore 25 years imprisonment.

In Victoria, infanticide is defined by Section 6 of the Crimes Act of 1958 with a maximum penalty of five years. [183]

Canada Edit

In Canada, a mother commits infanticide, a lesser offense than homicide, if she killed her child while "not fully recovered from the effects of giving birth to the child and by reason thereof or of the effect of lactation consequent on the birth of the child her mind is then disturbed". [184]

England and Wales Edit

In England and Wales, the Infanticide Act 1938 describes the offense of infanticide as one which would otherwise amount to murder (by his/her mother) if the victim was older than 12 months and the mother was not suffering from an imbalance of mind due to the effects of childbirth or lactation. Where a mother who has killed such an infant has been charged with murder rather than infanticide s.1(3) of the Act confirms that a jury has the power to find alternative verdicts of Manslaughter in English law or guilty but insane.

The Netherlands Edit

Infanticide is illegal in the Netherlands, although the maximum sentence is lower than for homicide. The Groningen Protocol regulates euthanasia for infants who are believed to "suffer hopelessly and unbearably" under strict conditions. [ citation needed ]

Romania Edit

Article 200 of the Penal Code of Romania stipulates that the killing of a newborn during the first 24 hours, by the mother who is in a state of mental distress, shall be punished with imprisonment of one to five years. [185] The previous Romanian Penal Code also defined infanticide (pruncucidere) as a distinct criminal offense, providing for punishment of two to seven years imprisonment, [186] recognizing the fact that a mother's judgment may be impaired immediately after birth but did not define the term "infant", and this had led to debates regarding the precise moment when infanticide becomes homicide. This issue was resolved by the new Penal Code, which came into force in 2014.

United States Edit

State Legislation Edit

In 2009, Texas state representative Jessica Farrar proposed legislation that would define infanticide as a distinct and lesser crime than homicide. [187] Under the terms of the proposed legislation, if jurors concluded that a mother's "judgment was impaired as a result of the effects of giving birth or the effects of lactation following the birth", they would be allowed to convict her of the crime of infanticide, rather than murder. [188] The maximum penalty for infanticide would be two years in prison. [188] Farrar's introduction of this bill prompted liberal bioethics scholar Jacob M. Appel to call her "the bravest politician in America". [188]

Federal Legislation Edit

The MOTHERS Act (Moms Opportunity To access Health, Education, Research and Support), precipitated by the death of a Chicago woman with postpartum psychosis was introduced in 2009. The act was ultimately incorporated into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which passed in 2010. The act requires screening for postpartum mood disorders at any time of the adult lifespan as well as expands research on postpartum depression. Provisions of the act also authorize grants to support clinical services for women who have, or are at risk for, postpartum psychosis. [189]

Sex education and birth control Edit

Since infanticide, especially neonaticide, is often a response to an unwanted birth, [136] preventing unwanted pregnancies through improved sex education and increased contraceptive access are advocated as ways of preventing infanticide. [190] Increased use of contraceptives and access to safe legal abortions [8] [138] : 122–23 have greatly reduced neonaticide in many developed nations. Some say that where abortion is illegal, as in Pakistan, infanticide would decline if safer legal abortions were available. [134]

Psychiatric intervention Edit

Cases of infanticide have also garnered increasing attention and interest from advocates for the mentally ill as well as organizations dedicated to postpartum disorders. Following the trial of Andrea Yates, a mother from the United States who garnered national attention for drowning her 5 children, representatives from organizations such as the Postpartum Support International and the Marcé Society for Treatment and Prevention of Postpartum Disorders began requesting clarification of diagnostic criteria for postpartum disorders and improved guidelines for treatments. While accounts of postpartum psychosis have dated back over 2,000 years ago, perinatal mental illness is still largely under-diagnosed despite postpartum psychosis affecting 1 to 2 per 1000 women. [191] [192] However, with clinical research continuing to demonstrate the large role of rapid neurochemical fluctuation in postpartum psychosis, prevention of infanticide points ever strongly towards psychiatric intervention. [ citation needed ]

Screening for psychiatric disorders or risk factors, and providing treatment or assistance to those at risk may help prevent infanticide. [193] Current diagnostic considerations include symptoms, psychological history, thoughts of self-harm or harming one's children, physical and neurological examination, laboratory testing, substance abuse, and brain imaging. As psychotic symptoms may fluctuate, it is important that diagnostic assessments cover a wide range of factors. [ citation needed ]

While studies on the treatment of postpartum psychosis are scarce, a number of case and cohort studies have found evidence describing the effectiveness of lithium monotherapy for both acute and maintenance treatment of postpartum psychosis, with the majority of patients achieving complete remission. Adjunctive treatments include electroconvulsive therapy, antipsychotic medication, or benzodiazepines. Electroconvulsive therapy, in particular, is the primary treatment for patients with catatonia, severe agitation, and difficulties eating or drinking. Antidepressants should be avoided throughout the acute treatment of postpartum psychosis due to risk of worsening mood instability. [194]

Though screening and treatment may help prevent infanticide, in the developed world, significant proportions of neonaticides that are detected occur in young women who deny their pregnancy and avoid outside contacts, many of who may have limited contact with these health care services. [136]

Safe surrender Edit

In some areas baby hatches or safe surrender sites, safe places for a mother to anonymously leave an infant, are offered, in part to reduce the rate of infanticide. In other places, like the United States, safe-haven laws allow mothers to anonymously give infants to designated officials they are frequently located at hospitals and police and fire stations. Additionally, some countries in Europe have the laws of anonymous birth and confidential birth that allow mothers to give up an infant after birth. In anonymous birth, the mother does not attach her name to the birth certificate. In confidential birth, the mother registers her name and information, but the document containing her name is sealed until the child comes to age. Typically such babies are put up for adoption, or cared for in orphanages. [195]

Employment Edit

Granting women employment raises their status and autonomy. Having a gainful employment can raise the perceived worth of females. This can lead to an increase in the number of women getting an education and a decrease in the number of female infanticide. As a result, the infant mortality rate will decrease and economic development will increase. [196]

The practice has been observed in many other species of the animal kingdom since it was first seriously studied by Yukimaru Sugiyama. [197] These include from microscopic rotifers and insects, to fish, amphibians, birds and mammals, including primates such as chacma baboons. [198]

According to studies carried out by Kyoto University in primates, including certain types of gorillas and chimpanzees, several conditions favor the tendency to kill their offspring in some species (to be performed only by males), among them are: Nocturnal life, the absence of nest construction, the marked sexual dimorphism in which the male is much larger than the female, the mating in a specific season and the high period of lactation without resumption of the estrus state in the female.

Pilate clashed with the Jewish population in Jerusalem.

Philo also wrote that Pilate permitted a pair of gilded shields inscribed with the name of the Roman Emperor Tiberius into King Herod’s former palace in Jerusalem, in violation of Jewish customs. Writing a half-century later, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus told a similar tale that Pilate permitted troops carrying military standards bearing the likeness of the emperor into Jerusalem, although Jewish law forbade images in the city. A great crowd traveled to the Judean capital of Caesarea in protest and lay prostrate around Pilate’s palace for five days until he relented.

“Josephus was born in Jerusalem the year Pilate left office and so would have had reasonably good information,” Bond says. “The story has the ring of a new governor seeing what he can get away with and completely underestimating the strength of local opinion when it came to graven images.” At the same time, Bond notes, the story shows his willingness to back down and respect public opinion.

In another incident—with a bloodier ending—Josephus recounted that Pilate used funds from the Temple treasury to build an aqueduct to Jerusalem. This time when protesters amassed, Pilate dispatched plain-clothed soldiers to infiltrate the crowd. On his signal, they removed clubs hidden in their garments and beat many of the protesters to death.

Pandaren organizations

    — An organization of pandaren fishermen who hope to feed their people and grow their knowledge of fishing. Based out of the Anglers Wharf in southern Krasarang Wilds and led by the esteemed human fisherman Nat Pagle. — Disciples and servants of the four Wild Godsof the same name and protectors of their four temples. — Disciples of the spirit of Emperor Shaohao, the last pandaren emperor. Found on the Timeless Isle and at war with the savage Ordonyaungol. — Secretive protectors of the sacred Vale of Eternal Blossoms, even after the vale was ravaged by the Heart of Y'Shaarj. Formerly based out of the Golden Pagoda and formerly led by Zhi the Harmonious. — Caretakers of Pandaria's rich history and folklore. Based out of the Seat of Knowledge above Mogu'shan Palace and led by Lorewalker Cho. — An order of cloud serpent riders and trainers founded during the Zandalari Troll Wars by Jiang. Based out of the Arboretum in the Jade Forest and led by Elder Anli. — A secretive organization dedicated to the protection of Pandaria, as the continent has no standing army. Based out of Shado-Pan Monastery in Kun-Lai Summit and led by Taran Zhu.
      — An elite branch of the Shado-Pan sent to the Isle of Thunder to ensure Lei Shen's final defeat. Led by Taran Zhu.

    Sir Robert Peel (1788 - 1850)

    Sir Robert Peel © Peel was twice British prime minister and his period in government saw landmark social reforms and the repeal of the Corn Laws.

    Robert Peel was born on 5 February 1788 in Bury, Lancashire. His father was a wealthy cotton mill owner, and Peel was educated at Harrow and Oxford, entering parliament as a Tory in 1809. His early political career included appointments as under-secretary for war and colonies (1809) and chief secretary for Ireland (1812). In 1822, he become home secretary, and introduced far-ranging criminal law and prison reform as well as creating the Metropolitan Police - the terms 'bobbies' and 'peelers' come from his name.

    The Wellington government in which Peel had been home secretary fell in 1830, and Peel was now in opposition to a new administration, headed by Earl Grey. Peel argued passionately against Grey's proposals for parliamentary reform. Nonetheless, in 1832 the Reform Act was passed.

    The Whig Government of Earl Grey was dismissed in 1834 by William IV, who appointed Peel as the new prime minister. In his Tamworth Manifesto, Peel outlined his support for the Reform Act, a shift which highlighted his adoption of a more enlightened Conservatism. Although in power, Peel's Tories remained a minority in the House of Commons, a situation which Peel found increasingly intolerable, and he resigned in 1835.

    In 1841, Peel again formed a Conservative administration, and it was during this government that he oversaw the introduction of significant legislation such as the Mines Act of 1842, which forbade the employment of women and children underground and the Factory Act of 1844, which limited working hours for children and women in factories. In 1845, Peel faced the defining challenge of his career, when he attempted to repeal the Corn Laws which had been introduced to protect British agriculture. This was triggered by the need to free up more food for Ireland, where a potato famine was raging. Landowners resisted in the House of Commons what they perceived as an attack on their interests. Peel's Conservative Party would not support him, and the debate lasted for months. Eventually, in June 1846, with support from the Whigs and the Radicals, the Corn Laws were repealed. On the same day, Peel was defeated on another bill, and resigned. He never held office again.

    Four years later, Peel was badly injured after falling from his horse and died on 2 July 1850 in London.

    Background to the Manava Dharma Shastra

    The ancient Vedic society had a structured social order in which the Brahmins were esteemed as a highest and the most revered sect and assigned the holy task of acquiring ancient knowledge and learning — the teachers of each Vedic school composed manuals written in Sanskrit about their respective schools and designed for the guidance of their pupils. Known as 'sutras,' these manuals were highly revered by the Brahmins and memorized by each Brahmin student.

    The most common of these were the 'Grihya-sutras,' dealing with domestic ceremonies and the 'Dharma-sutras,' treating the sacred customs and laws. The extremely complicated bulk of ancient rules and regulations, customs, laws, and rites were gradually enlarged in scope, transformed into aphoristic prose, and set to musical cadence, then systematically arranged to constitute the 'Dharma-Shastras.' Of these, the most ancient and most famous is the Laws of Manu, the Manava Dharma-shastra—a Dharma-sutra' belonging to the ancient Manava Vedic school.


    In ancient Roman law, ambitus was a crime of political corruption, mainly a candidate’s attempt to influence the outcome (or direction) of an election through bribery or other forms of soft power. The Latin word ambitus is the origin of the English word “ambition” which is another of its original meanings ambitus was the process of “going around and commending oneself or one’s protégés to the people,” an activity liable to unethical excesses. [1] In practice, bringing a charge of ambitus against a public figure became a favored tactic for undermining a political opponent.

    Obverse: the head of Dea Roma. On the lower left is a ballot urn. Reverse: A personification of Libertas in a chariot, holding the cap (pileus) and staff (vindicta) of freedom. This coin was struck by C Cassius around 126 BC and commemorates the Lex Cassia tabellaria of 137 BC, which mandated the use of the secret ballot for all trials in the popular assemblies with the exception of treason cases. / British Museum, Wikimedia Commons

    The Lex Baebia was the first law criminalizing electoral bribery, instituted by M. Baebius Tamphilus during his consulship in 181 BC. The passage of Rome’s first sumptuary law the previous year suggests that the two forms of legislation are related both were aimed at curbing wealth-based inequities of power and status within the governing classes. [2] The temptation to indulge in bribery indicates that the traditional patron-client relationship was insufficient to gather enough votes to win election. [3]

    The word ambitus for electoral corruption is a general term for the crime defendants would have been charged under a specific statute (lex). [4] The 2nd-century BC Greek historian Polybius, a major source on the workings of the Roman constitution, makes the extravagant assertion that while Carthaginians acquire public office by openly offering gifts, the penalty at Rome for doing so is death. [5] The point is perhaps that ambitus could be construed as treason under some circumstances. [6]

    The rhetorical tactics of Cicero’s speeches demonstrate how an initial charge of ambitus, under whatever statute, might devolve into an occasion for impugning or humiliating a public figure. Popularist politicians were particularly vulnerable to charges of currying favor with the masses, and ambitus might be alleged when a man of lower social rank defeated his superior in an election: “The defeat of a candidate boasting nobilitas by another not in possession of such standing appears to have been sufficient grounds for initiating a charge of ambitus.” [7]

    During the Imperial era, the ambitious politician yielded of necessity to the bureaucrat in the holding of Roman magistracies. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus (1st–2nd centuries AD) recoiled from the rough-and-tumble of electoral politics and ambitus:

    For the sake of these mighty and dignified offices and honours you kiss the hands of another man’s slaves — and are thus the slaves of men who are not free themselves. … If you wish to be consul you must give up your sleep, run around, kiss men’s hands, rot away at other men’s doors … send presents to many and daily xenia [guest-gifts] to some. And what is the result? Twelve bundles of rods, sitting three or four times on the tribunal, giving games in the Circus, and distributing meals in little baskets. [8]

    Bribery of a person already holding office was covered by laws de repetundae provincial governors were particularly susceptible to such charges. [9]

    Law of the Twelve Tables

    Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

    Law of the Twelve Tables, Latin Lex XII Tabularum, the earliest written legislation of ancient Roman law, traditionally dated 451–450 bc .

    The Twelve Tables allegedly were written by 10 commissioners (decemvirs) at the insistence of the plebeians, who felt their legal rights were hampered by the fact that court judgments were rendered according to unwritten custom preserved only within a small group of learned patricians. Beginning work in 451, the first set of commissioners produced 10 tables, which were later supplemented by 2 additional tables. In 450 the code was formally posted, likely on bronze tablets, in the Roman Forum. The written recording of the law in the Twelve Tables enabled the plebeians both to become acquainted with the law and to protect themselves against patricians’ abuses of power.

    The Twelve Tables were not a reform or a liberalizing of old custom. Rather, they recognized the prerogatives of the patrician class and of the patriarchal family, the validity of enslavement for unpaid debt, and the interference of religious custom in civil cases. That they reveal a remarkable liberality for their time with respect to testamentary rights and contracts is probably the result not of any innovations by the decemvirs but rather of the progress that had been made in commercial customs in Rome in an era of prosperity and vigorous trade.

    Because only random quotations from the Twelve Tables are extant, knowledge about their contents is largely derived from references in later juridical writings. Venerated by the Romans as a prime legal source, the Twelve Tables were superseded by later changes in Roman law but were never formally abolished.

    Ritual Pollution and Homicide Cases: Greek Law

    Religion and superstition played a large part in the everyday life of aclassical Athenian, and there was a heavy emphasis on ritual and reverence to the gods. Athenians believed that certain crimes – e.g. homicide – disrupted the sanctity of their city, causing an imbalance they referred to as “pollution.” Restoring balance was of the utmost importance. Otherwise, they believed that the gods would punish them with losses in battle, bad crops, and an overall miserable existence.

    Rituals played a very important role in ancient Greek society. Certain cities, sites, and temples were sacred. The tradition of naming certain spiritual places areas of asylum was Asylia. These asylums were “immune to violence and civil authority” and thus under the jurisdiction of the divine (Rigsby 1997). It was imperative that anyone who entered these areas of asylum be free of pollution. It was equally important that the experts – known as kathartai – performed the rituals in a proper and orderly manner, sometimes following a strict series of guidelines.How many details and provisions required depended on how urgent the necessity was to perform a specific ritual. The Greeks believed that failure to abide to these specific criteria would fail to purify the ritual, and that as a result, the gods would not bring about the desired result (Von Rösch 2012).

    Failure to adopt proper cleansing protocol had dire consequences according to classical Greek literature and mythology. One such consequence was the miasma. Themiasma was “a contagious power . that has an independent life of its own. Until purged by the sacrificial death of the wrongdoer, society would be chronically infected by catastrophe” (Armstrong 2007). An example of the miasma in ancient Greek literature occurs in the Aeschylus's trilogy, The Oresteia. The myth concerned two brothers, Atreus and Thyestes, and their struggle for the throne of Mycenae. Atreus fed his brother a stew, which contained the bodies of his sons. The heinousness of this crime caused a miasma to contaminate the entire House of Atreus, which led to a large number of subsequent violent acts and other urgencies in order to quell the miasma and restore order to the family (Aeschylus 1984). The miasma was problematic for Greeks because of its supposed negative impact on people and places that were innocent of any wrongdoings. Thus, it was extremely important to remove the polluted elements through sacred rituals (Von Rösch 2012).

    Historical texts stressed the severe impact of certain crimes on Greek society. For example, murdering one’s parents or abusing one’s children was especially heinous to the Greeks. The Erinyes (also known as the furies in Roman mythology) were a set of beastly-looking mythical figures that haunted those who had committed homicidal acts against their own family. They continued to harass and bring ill favor to those who committed these crimes, until they felt the restoration of justice – which sometimes involved the offender’s death. The most famous case of the Erinyes in Greek literature concerns the tale of Orestes, whose story features prominently in the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. In Aeschylus’ Eumenides, the Erinyes act as the prosecutor against Orestes after charging him with killing his mother, Clytemnestra. Orestes claims the matricide was justified, as Clytemnestra killed Orestes’ father, Agamemnon. This is an important story concerning homicide and ritual pollution, because Orestes insists on seeking a fair and proper resolution by appealing first to Apollo, and later to Athene. Although the jury, and Athene, votes to acquit Orestes, the Erinyes threaten to disrupt and poison the polis. This persisted until Athene offered the Erinyes a new role in which they would become protectors of justice and the city, which they accept (Aeschylus 1984).

    Pollution was not much of a concern outside of the Greek city, or polis. According to Aristotle, "Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god" (Aristotle 1981). This means that life outside of the city is primeval and not subject to the laws of man.

    In his study on sacrifice in classical Greece, Endsjø notes that the Greeks considered this land uncultivated, or improperly cultivated. Therefore, homicide outside of the polis did not have an impact on the citizens inside the city (Endsjø 2003). This only became problematic if the person who committed the act attempted to enter the city, or if parts of the deceased’s body somehow make their way into the city. The latter was a huge issue of contention in Antigone, the play by Sophocles. Creon, the newly crowned ruler of Thebes, leaves the body of his former adversary, Polyneices, unburied outside of city walls. Birds and wild dogs begin picking at the corpse and bringing pieces of the body into the city, which pollutes everything within the polis. The pollution stemming from this event disrupts the necessary rituals and prevents their performance, which leaves the city outside of the Gods’ favor. This eventually leads to the ruin of the entire royal family – aside from Creon himself – and leaves Thebes on the brink of obliteration (Sophocles 2012).

    Inside of the city, all killing – whether it is human or animal – had to be within the context of a specific ritual. Sacrifice was an integral part of Greek society, and without it, many of the rituals considered necessary to receive gifts from the Gods were not possible. Ritual sacrifice was the only time that killing was allowed inside the polis. Ritual law forbade Greeks from consuming meat belonging to animals killed improperly (Endsjø 2003).

    Various rituals kept contamination at bay whenever a person died, regardless whether or not they were murdered. Ritual law forbade, or heavily regulated, contact with any member of the deceased’s household because of the impurities associated with the home after death occurs. The threat of pollution lasted for three days, until the family carried the body of the deceased outside of the city walls for burial in a funeral rites ceremony, calledekphora. By removing the body from the polis, the family restored the sanctity of the city and eradicated the threat of pollution (Endsjø 2003).

    Chantois argued in his study on ritual purity that Greece in the 8th-6th centuries BCE featured a large number of homicides. Political conflicts, wars, feuds within families, and other instances were extremely common during this time. One such homicide in a familial dispute could possibly spark a chain reaction where revenge killings occurred in a retaliatory fashion. These incidents threatened to subvert Greek cities and communities, and thus necessitated the first sets of legal divisions for homicide (Chaniotis 2012). In the seventh century BCE, the introduction of Draco’s homicide laws separated homicides by appropriate levels of guilt, with distinctions for premeditated murder, revenge, accidental killings, and so on (MacDowell 1999). Later, Athenian law further attempted to differentiate between tolerable and improper types of homicide, especially when it came to whether pollution was a factor (Chaniotis 2012).

    Not all homicides committed within the walls of the polis contributed to ritual pollution some exemptions did exist. According to Chaniotis, “homicide committed in defense of a community and its legal order did not cause ritual impurity” (Chaniotis 2012). Laws from the fourth century BCE provided similar distinctions for tyrannicide, or killing a person who unjustly establishes a tyrannical or oligarchical order (Harris 2013). In some of these cases, however, it was still necessary to determine whether there was adequate reason to believe justification existed, by using the court system.

    Unlike in most contemporary societies, life was relatively nonviolent in classical Greek city-states like Athens by the sixth century BCE. Outside of war – which, on the other hand, was a common occurrence – it was relatively unlikely that an Athenian would face the prospect of bodily harm at the hand of another. However, there were still homicides and assaults that occurred on occasion. Thus, they had an elaborate court and jury system to handle such incidences. There were three main courts for homicide in Athens. The Areopagus focused on acts of intentional or premeditated homicides the Palladium focused on accidental homicides and the Delphinium’s main purpose was justifiable homicide. Evidence suggests that instances of homicides were relatively few during this period of Athenian history, although a few speeches and manuscripts do survive (Gagarin 2003).

    The Areopagus consisted of former archons that had previous experience within the government. These archons had previously been a part of the court system, and thus had experience with the law. This court dealt with the most serious cases, and consequently the most serious punishments. Common judgments handed down by the archons following trials included exile, confiscation of property, death, or some facsimile thereof(Rhodes 2014). The Palladium (or Palladion) featured cases that were much less serious, but still dealt with a person’s death. If the defendant could prove that the death in question was accidental, they usually received no punishment. However, there was still the possibility of exile if the court wished to exercise that option(Rhodes 2014). The Delphinium (or Delphinion) was a court that did not require oaths, because the defendant already admitted to the murder. However, their intention is to sway the court into ruling that the homicide was justifiable under Athenian law. For example, it was lawful for a husband to murder a man whom he caught burglarizing his home. It also was lawful for a husband to murder an adulterer if he caught him in the act (Rhodes 2014).

    It was the responsibility of the family of the deceased to bring about indictments, as there was no formal state prosecutorial element. Greek customs dictated that the family needed to restore order in the community. This meant that someone had to be responsible for the crime, even if no one knew the identity of the killer. If a falling object or an animal killed the family member, the trial would condemn whatever the family – or community – thought was responsible. Another court, the Prytaneion, would hear cases such as these.(Rhodes 2014).

    The evidence we have from these court cases comes from speeches. Some Athenian writers and debaters made their living writing speeches for court cases. The more notable of the speechwriters (logographers) included Antiphon (480-411 BCE), Demosthenes (384-322 BCE), and Lysias (445-c. 380 BCE). Although they each had their different writing and arguing styles, these three logographers all used rhetoric and wordplay to either engross or confuse the jury pool. This is not unlike the approach used by modern attorneys, though the writing by the classical Greeks was arguably much more eloquent.

    Topics frequently discussed in these speeches considered aspects of pollution. Arguments for convictions or acquittals appealed to Athenian superstition and sentimentality. It is not clear whether these appeals to reverence were persuasive, considering that in the majority of cases, the speeches survive but not the outcomes of the trials. In some cases, only one side of the case survives and readers are not privy to the rebuttal or the accompanying witness testimony. However, what does survive is the notion that apparently these logographers felt pollution was an important enough fear in Athenian life. Otherwise, it would not be present in as many speeches as it was.

    The concept of ritual pollution, especially when it deals with homicide, carried over to the Roman Empire (Lennon 2013). Much of the Roman mythology finds its roots in tales borrowed from Greece – although it takes from other sources as well. Many of the practices also carried over, and the importance of adhering to rituals in order to appease the Gods, stands out the most. Most democratic societies base their legal systems around the classical Greek method, especially in the United States where Greece is a model for democracy and philosophy. In a way, the notion of restoring order and justice that enamored the Greeks has found a way to do the same throughout the Western world. Societies continue to feel uneasy and unable to cope with crimes and misdeeds until they reach a resolution, or a sense of justice.Religion may no longer be the root cause in the twenty-first century, but it is still a driving force behind our legal and penal systems.

    Aeschylus. The Oresteia: Agamemnon The Libation Bearers The Eumenides. London: Penguin Classics, 1984.

    Aristotle. Politics. London: Penguin Classics, 1981.

    Armstrong, Karen. The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions. New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2007.

    Chaniotis, Angelos. "Greek Ritual Purity: from Automatisms to Moral Distinctions." In How Purity is Made, by Petra Rösch and Udo Simon, 123-139. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2012.

    Endsjø, D.Ø. "To control death: sacrifice and space in classical Greece." Religion, 2003: 323-340.

    Gagarin, Michael. Athenian Homicide Law: Case Studies. March 27, 2003. http://www.stoa.org/projects/demos/article_homicide?page=all&greekEncoding= (accessed April 19, 2014).

    Harris, Edward M. Law and Drama in Ancient Greece. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.

    Lennon, Jack J. Pollution and Religion in Ancient Rome. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    MacDowell, Douglas Maurice. Athenian Homicide Law in the Age of the Orators . Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1999.

    Rhodes, Henry A. "The Athenian Court and the American Court System." Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. 2014. http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1984/2/84.02.08.x.html (accessed April 20, 2014).

    Rigsby, Kent. Asylia: Territorial Inviolability in the Hellenistic World. Oakland: University of California Press, 1997.

    Sophocles. Antigone. New York: HarperCollins, 2012.

    Von Rösch, Petra. How Purity is Made. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz-Verlag, 2012.


  1. Myron

    I recommend.

  2. Baltasar

    Wonderful, very valuable message

  3. Crevan

    I can search

  4. Shaheen

    Totally agree with her. I think it is a good idea. I agree with you.

  5. Gaderian

    Completely I share your opinion. It seems to me it is good idea. I agree with you.

  6. Cormac

    Here and so it is too :)

Write a message