Accuracy of justice systems

Mar 2019
5
usa
#1
I'm sure the data is incomplete and uncertain, but it's still worth asking. We're constantly told how unjust and unfair punishments were and are, but--how often did the accused really do the deed?

Examples:

In the Spartacus rebellion, 30,000 slaves were murdered. First of all, how do we know the number? (I'm not defending the Romans at all for this.)
How many were innocent bystanders or slaveowners who got in the way?

We're constantly told about blacks being lynched in the Old South. How often did the mob just choose somebody at random to lynch?
I've also read that many whites were also being lynched.

Yes, things were really awful at times and places in the US, Britain, Australia...but I haven't seen anything about whether things were equally bad in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, British India, etc.
 
Jan 2015
2,883
MD, USA
#2
I'm a little curious as to how slave revolts and lynchings have anything to do with a justice system?

For Spartacus' revolt, slaves in revolt by definition can't be "murdered", they were executed. Or even just "disposed of" since they were property. Obviously today we don't believe in slavery, and do what we can to eliminate it, but for the Romans it was a normal and legal state of affairs so we can't apply our justice system to it. All we have for numbers are the historical accounts, so you can accept them or deny them as you see fit. I'm also not sure how an army of rebellious slaves could have included many innocent bystanders--this was a major battlefield action, not a door-to-door police sweep.

I suspect you can find "awful" things most anywhere there are humans.

Matthew
 
Mar 2019
5
usa
#3
I'm a little curious as to how slave revolts and lynchings have anything to do with a justice system?

For Spartacus' revolt, slaves in revolt by definition can't be "murdered", they were executed. Or even just "disposed of" since they were property. Obviously today we don't believe in slavery, and do what we can to eliminate it, but for the Romans it was a normal and legal state of affairs so we can't apply our justice system to it. All we have for numbers are the historical accounts, so you can accept them or deny them as you see fit. I'm also not sure how an army of rebellious slaves could have included many innocent bystanders--this was a major battlefield action, not a door-to-door police sweep.

I suspect you can find "awful" things most anywhere there are humans.

Matthew

I have a feeling the Romann soldiers weren't careful and diligent about who was an innocent bystander. And, I didn't know if the whole thing happened on a battlefield.

Lynchings are extralegal, but seem to have been tolerated. And even when there were trials--how often was the defendant somebody they grabbed more or less at random?

We hear about Apartheid in South Africa. How did that compare to how awful things were in the rest of the countries colonized by Europeans?
 
Jan 2015
2,883
MD, USA
#4
I have a feeling the Romann soldiers weren't careful and diligent about who was an innocent bystander. And, I didn't know if the whole thing happened on a battlefield.
Yeah, as far as I know, once the army was called in, it was more like war than police work. I'm sure towns and settle areas were involved, but the details of the revolt are not something I've studied. It does seem pretty clear that there was not much concept of "innocent bystander" back then, you were either "ally" or "target". Non-combatants on the enemy side counted as "targets". I'm sure they broke a few eggs to make their omelets, that's just how things were.

Matthew
 

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