Romans did not have very complicated laws but when they were broken there was very heavy punishment. Roman laws influenced most of the laws we have now and most of the laws of other countries. America’s court system was modeled around the Roman court system. They had upper courts and lower courts and that was what built our strong court system now. One thing that we did not take from the Romans is the right to be a Citizen.
In Rome there were very strict class systems and they were classified greatly by clothes, shelter, and seating at the games. The word citizen for them meant that you had to be free and lived in Rome. The class system was always followed no matter what. You could move up from your rank in society but then you would have to work really hard and it was not easy because people would still look at you as a low class. The class systems from highest to lowest were the senators, councilmen and their families. Then came the regular middle class citizens, next were the Plebeians who were very poor but not slaves and last was the slaves who owned nothing at all not even the clothes on their back because it all belonged to their master.
Therefore, if slaves were caught running away they were brought upon charges of theft for stealing themselves and their masters clothing. Stealing held a very heavy punishment and that punishment was always upheld. The punishment was capital punishment and all of this was done to teach them a lesson. Some say the Romans had a very strange way of doing things but, the way their country was setup most of their laws were necessary for them.
All of this got started with the Twelve Tables of Rome. Which were much like the Ten Commandments except man made them up. They were engraved into Bronze tablets and made up by ten Roman Magistrates around early 450 BC. The laws were really made to please the Plebeians because they complained that they didn’t get any rights because the laws were never written down and were often changed. After this the Plebeians could no longer be fooled because the Twelve Tables covered all aspects of the law briefly stating the crime and then the punishment.
This was where the court system came in because the courts were the ones that had to follow by the Twelve Tables and there was no way to cheat the Plebeians because the laws were in the main Forum hanging up for those purposes. Since our court system was modeled around theirs then it was basically like it is now. They had upper courts and lower courts and the right to an appeal was very well granted but only with good reasoning. The only thing about their court system that we did not take on in a big way is capital punishment. I say this because the Romans loved to kill any one who broke any of their laws but we do not kill unless you have killed first.
Another aspect of Roman law is crucifixion, which was what was done to Jesus Christ. The Romans show very little mercy on anyone who comes across them. They show even less mercy to strangers that try to change them because nobody likes change but the Roman officials despised it because it would no longer make them rich and powerful to the people. Family laws were less harsh than state laws.
Family law was much different especially for higher classed people. The children of that time were beat on occasion when they did something wrong but it was never on a regular basis. They had hearts when it came to family. The girls still had very little freedom to choose husbands and to plan their own life and they were married off very early. To parents it was a relief to finally marry off their girl child but to marry of a boy child meant more wealth to their family.
In Conclusion the Romans had a very uncomplicated legal system and since everything was so easy to comprehend if you broke one of their laws sixty percent of the time you were sentenced to death with out thinking but other times you were just banished. Our laws came straight from out of Rome because the law system worked very well for them. Only certain aspects of their laws were not adopted by us because they were thought to be too cruel. But, what could you say except for “when your in the Romans house do as they do” or you could get capital punishment for doing what you thing is right.