Crime and punishment have concerned humanity since the beginning of social life. Their manifestations in ancient Rome remains a fascinating topic, as the law of most European countries today is derived from ancient Roman law. Richard A. Bauman tells the history of punishment from the Roman Republic to the late Empire, shedding light on some decisive aspects of Roman history. He assesses punishment according to its innate humanity and cruelty, traces the changes in Roman attitudes, laws and practices during this era. Trials for treason, sedition and corruption illuminate political history; common law crimes like murder, and forgery that sharpen our perception of social history; discussions of freedom of speech increase our understanding of intellectual history; and religious persecutions fill out the picture of religious history. In its scope and focus, this is an unprecedented study, painting a vivid picture of the theory and practice of punishment in ancient Rome.