Classics 160D3: Crime and Punishment in the Ancient World (Spring 2020)

Jacques-Louis David, "The Death of Socrates," 1787


John Bauschatz



Contact Info:

Office: Cesar Chavez 410
Phone: (520) 621-7422 (office)


This course explores the history of criminal justice systems in the ancient Mediterranean through close examination of select primary sources. Its primary focus is Greece and Rome, but it also covers the ancient Near East and Pharaonic Egypt. We move chronologically, geographically, and topically, treating a broad range of literary and archaeological evidence. Of central importance to the course is the issue of boundaries: between right and wrong, imprisonment and freedom, individual and state. Law codes from Mesopotamia, tomb robbery in the Egyptian New Kingdom, the trial and execution of Socrates, police in the streets of Rome, execution by gladiator, bandits in the Roman Empire, spiritual and allegorical punishment: the course encompasses it all!


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Describe the ancient Mediterranean conception(s) of right, wrong, law, justice, crime and punishment.
  • Explain how attitudes towards these same conceptions changed over time and across cultures.
  • List a number of ancient authors whose works touch on the issues of crime and punishment and discuss their works.
  • Compare and contrast law codes from a variety of ancient Mediterranean civilizations.
  • Highlight how religious beliefs and personal values impacted law and order in the ancient world.


There are no prerequisites.


The readings for this course will include selections from a number of texts which concern crime and punishment in the ancient world in one way or another: among these inscriptions from ancient Mesopotamia (Hammurabi's Code) and Egypt (papyri detailing a harem conspiracy and tomb robberies); classics of Greco-Roman literature, both prose (Plato's Apology, the speeches of Lysias and Demosthenes, etc.) and poetry (Sophocles' Oedipus the King; Hesiod's Works and Days, et al.); Roman law codes (the Theodosian Code); the autobiography of an emperor (the Res Gestae of Augustus) as well as letters written to one (Pliny's Letters, book 10); and even accounts of trips to hell (Virgil's Aeneid; Dante's Inferno). The full list of readings appears below (see the Course Schedule).

There is one required text for this course:

  • John Bauschatz, ed. Crime and Punishment in the Ancient World. Second edition. Cognella, 2017.

This is a sourcebook of primary readings for CLAS 160D3 available from Cognella/University Readers. Students can buy the book at the UA Bookstore or order it directly from the publisher at the following url: (NOTE: The course textbook may be listed under my name as the course text for BOTH CLAS 160D3 ["Critical Concepts in Culture"] AND HIST 203 ["The Ancient Mediterranean: Power and Identity"] on the Cognella website. This is the correct book for both/either of these classes!) I will have a copy of the textbook available for student use in my office during office hours.

Any additional reading assignments for the course will be hyperlinked to this page (see below) or posted on the course D2L site. Many (most?) of the readings will be in .pdf format. To view/download them, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download available here).


Grading for the course will be based on the following breakdown:

  • Worksheets (20%): There are 15 brief comprehension worksheets to complete, one for each assignment. These can be found on D2L (see the "Worksheets" section of the course D2L page). Complete these—with responses of 75 words per question minimum—and submit them electronically on D2L for grading (using the "Dropbox" feature). I suggest that you use them as study guides for quizzes and as notes for your short papers. Your lowest five worksheet grades will be dropped.

  • Quizzes (20%): There is a brief (15 minute) D2L quiz to complete for each reading assignment = a total of 15 in all. If you do the readings—and complete/review the comprehension worksheets in advance—you should have no trouble doing well on the quizzes. Your lowest five quiz grades will be dropped.

  • Discussions (20%): The quality and quantity of your participation in (online) class discussions. There will be an online discussion forum for each assignment featuring one critical thinking question for you to answer. *In your discussion group, you will need to first start your own thread to respond to the question in a paragraph of 250 or more words. Next, you should read each of the other threads in your group, and respond to two other people (either another student or me, or both) with responses of your own of 125 or more words each.* 50% of a given assignment's discussion grade will come from your initial response and 25% from each of your replies. Your lowest five discussion grades will be dropped.

  • Short Papers (40% [20% each]): Three papers of between 750 and 1000 words in length based on course readings will be assigned. These are meant to be exercises in analytical thinking and should not require any additional research or reading (though you are certainly welcome to do additional work, if you like!). The topics for each paper are posted on D2L (in the "Content" section, in the "Short Paper Topics" folder) and are to be submitted on D2L. ***You are welcome to submit drafts of your papers on D2L for some initial feedback. These are due no later than one week in advance of the due date of each paper. You will also have the option to revise either the first or the second paper for a better grade if you choose. If you would like to do this, please email and we will discuss ways in which you can improve it. Paper revision due dates are noted on the course schedule (below). Your lowest paper grade will be dropped.

  • Course Content: Course readings will regularly contain brutally violent, sexually graphic and/or otherwise potentially offensive material. I assume that all students enrolled in CLAS 160D3 are mature enough to handle such material and suggest that anyone easily offended by such material not take the course.
  • Office Hours: I will be holding regular virtual (i.e., not in person) office hours during the spring term: Mondays and Thursdays, 1–2 p.m. I am easily reached via email (, office phone (520 621-7422) or Skype/FaceTime. email is best. I will do my best to respond to any concerns you have within a few hours, and certainly within a day.
  • Grader: Timmy Ombeh (, a student in the UA law school, will be assisting with grading for CLAS 160D3. He will be grading your reading worksheets, as well as a portion of your short papers. (We will let you know who is grading what paper(s) when the time comes.) Please reach out to him if you have a question about how a grade was determined!
  • Honors Contracts: Students wishing to earn Honors in CLAS 160D3 must select their own topics for their short papers and have these topics pre-approved by the instructor. If you want to do an honors contract, let me know ASAP!
  • D2L: As mentioned above, students in CLAS 160D3 will be expected to be familiar with D2L ("Desire2Learn"), the University's online course content management system. Our use of D2L in CLAS 160D3 will be extensive: we will use D2L not only as a repository for course documents (additional readings, course handouts, etc.) and as a place to post grades, but also for quizzes and discussions and for updates about the course. If you are unfamiliar with D2L, see the D2L help homepage.
  • Grades: Grades will be entered on D2L within two weeks of the assignment due date, save for quiz grades, which are generated imemdiately. ***It is your responsibility to keep track of your grades over the course of the semester. You have one week from the date of a posted grade to appeal it. After that, the assumption is that you have seen the grade and are OK with it.*** Grades for assignments turned in after posted due dates—and without documented excuses for the lateness—are only awarded at the discretion of the professor. At the very least, late assignments will lose one letter grade (= 10 points off of the overall grade for the assignment) for every day they are late. Assignments that are five or more days late will receive no grade.
  • Paper Grading: The following rubric will be used to compile your grades on papers in CLAS 160D3 (with thanks to Jennifer Kendall!):

    Category & Description Max Points

    1.) Paper Mechanics

    15 points: The essay adheres to all of the mechanical requirements (formatting, length, margins, proper citations and following any specific instructions for content in the paper assignment).

    10 points: The essay has one or two mechanical errors.

    5 points: The essay has numerous mechanical errors.

    0 points: The essay has numerous mechanical errors and/or is less than the required length.


    B.) Grammar/Spelling/Composition

    15 points: No / almost no spelling, grammar, punctuation or other compositional errors are present. The essay clearly appears to have been proofread and edited.

    10 points: There are a few grammar, spelling, punctuation or other compositional errors but the essay appears to have been proofread and edited.

    5 points: There are many grammar, spelling, punctuation or other compositional errors present.

    0 points: Numerous errors make the essay difficult to read and/or excessively long quotations or paraphrases are used.


    C.) Content

    70 points: The depth of analysis greatly exceeds expectations, details are many and organization is excellent.

    55 points: The depth of analysis is good, as are details and organization, and minimum expectations are exceeded.

    40 points: The essay is basic with an adequate analysis.

    25 points: The essay is poor all around, but there is at least an attempt to follow directions.

    10 points: The essay is poor all around, and there is little to no evidence that the author followed instructions. But at least he/she handed something in!

    Total Possible Points:
  • Final Grades: For the final grade, the following breakdown will be used:

    A+ = 98–100 A = 93–97 A- = 90–92
    B+ = 88–89 B = 83–87 B- = 80–82
    C+ = 78–79 C = 73–77 C- = 70–72
    D+ = 68–69 D = 63–67 D- = 60–62
    F+ = 58–59 F = 53–57 F- = 0–52

    Final grades ending in .5 or higher will be rounded up; those ending in .49 or lower will be rounded down.

  • If you would like help with your writing, the University’s Writing Skills Improvement Program ( may be a valuable resource. The Program offers professional individual tutoring in writing for students, as well as biweekly writing workshops. These are free and open to UA students, but you do need to register with the program. This semester, the workshops will be held on Mondays from 12 noon–12:50 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10–10:50 a.m. in the Geronimo Building, Room 216 (address information available on the WSIP website).
  • Cheating: Surprise! Cheating is not allowed. If you cheat, and I find out, you will receive a grade of 0 for the assignment and other bad things will happen. (See the U of A's Code of Academic Integrity, below.)


  • Accessibility and Accommodations: My goal in this classroom is that learning experiences be as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience physical or academic barriers based on disability, please let me know immediately so that we can discuss options. You are also welcome to contact the Disability Resource Center (520-621-3268) to establish reasonable accommodations. For additional information on the Disability Resource Center and reasonable accommodations, please visit

  • Code of Academic Integrity: Students are encouraged to share intellectual views and discuss freely the principles and applications of course materials. However, graded work/ exercises must be the product of independent effort unless otherwise instructed. Students are expected to adhere to the UA Code of Academic Integrity as described in the UA General Catalog:

  • Subject to Change Statement: Information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policy, may be subject to change with advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.


There are fifteen assigments in CLAS 160D3. Each assignment consists of readings to do, PowerPoints to view (and listen to! there is audio), a reading worksheet to complete, a quiz to take and a discussion to participate in. As noted above, in addition to these fifteen basic assignments there are three short papers to complete. You will be able to complete each of the papers after completing a set number of basic assignments (specific details on what you will be able to do when can be found in the table below).

Since this is an online course, it is in large part self-paced, but not completely. Whereas you are welcome to work as far ahead as you like, and finish the course super-early, there are also non-negotiable due dates for every assignment in the course, so you can't, say, wait until the last couple of weeks of the semester and do everything then.

Here's an outline of what is due when:

  • Thursday, 1/23, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 1; first discussion thread by Wednesday, 1/22 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 1/30, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 2; first discussion thread by Wednesday, 1/29 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 2/6, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 3; first discussion thread by Wednesday, 2/5 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 2/13, 11:59 p.m: Assignment 4; Short Paper #1 drafts (not required); first discussion thread by Wednesday, 2/12 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 2/20, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 5; Short Paper #1; first discussion thread by Wednesday, 2/19 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 2/27, 11:59 p.m: Assignment 6; first discussion thread by Wednesday, 2/26 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 3/5, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 7; first discussion thread by Wednesday, 3/4 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 3/19, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 8; Short Paper #1 revisions (not required); first discussion thread by Wednesday, 3/18 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 3/26, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 9; Short Paper #2 drafts (not required); first discussion thread by Wednesday, 3/25 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 4/2, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 10; Short Paper #2; first discussion thread by Wednesday, 4/1 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 4/9, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 11; first discussion thread by Wednesday, 4/8 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 4/16, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 12; first discussion thread by Wednesday, 4/15 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 4/23, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 13; first discussion thread by Wednesday, 4/22 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 4/30, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 14; Short Paper #2 revisions (not required); first discussion thread by Wednesday, 4/29 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 5/7, 11:59 p.m.: Assignment 15; Short Paper #3 drafts (not required); first discussion thread by Wednesday, 5/6 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Thursday, 5/14, 11:59 p.m.: Short Paper #3

There are a couple of things worth pointing out in the schedule above. You will note that all assignments for this course are due on Thursdays at 11:59 p.m. with the exception of initial discussion posts. These are always due on Wednesdays at 11:59 p.m. to give everyone in each discussion section ample time to read and respond to other students' posts.

What follows is a list of assignments for CLAS 160D3 during the spring semester. Check this page often, as readings and assignments are subject to change. I will also (of course!) give you all a heads-up over email or on the course D2L page if a major shake-up is imminent.

Assignment Topic

Mesopotamia (1): Life and Law in the Ancient Near East

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Mediterranean Geography and Ancient Babylon

READ (D2L): Samuel Greengus, "Legal and Social Institutions of Ancient Mesopotamia" (pp469–484 of J.M. Sasson, ed., Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, vol. 1 [New York, 1995]); Introduction, Hammurabi's Laws; (Bauschatz): Hammurabi's Laws (pp1–28)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #1, D2L Quiz #1, Discussion #1


Egypt (1): Law, Society and Officials

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Ancient Egypt and the Pharaoh and Vizier

READ (D2L): David Lorton, "Legal and Social Institutions of Pharaonic Egypt" (pp345–362 of J.M. Sasson, ed., Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, vol. 1 [New York, 1995]); (Bauschatz): the Instruction Addressed to King Merikare (pp29–44); information on the vizier Rekhmire(Bauschatz): the Regulation Laid Upon the Vizier Rekhmire (pp45–55)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #2, D2L Quiz #2, Discussion #2


Egypt (2): Crime and Punishment (Mostly Punishment)

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Papyrology and Greek History

READ: info on the Judicial Turin Papyrus and P.Leopold II-Amherst; (Bauschatz): the Judicial Turin Papyrus (pp57–69); P.Leopold II-Amherst (pp71–74); basic info on The Eloquent Peasant; (Bauschatz): The Eloquent Peasant (pp75–92)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #3, D2L Quiz #3, Discussion #3


Ancient Greece (1): History, Law and Society

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Sparta and Athens

READ (D2L): Douglas MacDowell, "Greek Law" (pp589–606 of M. Grant and R. Kitzinger, eds., Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece and Rome, vol. 1 [New York, 1988]); (Bauschatz): Xenophon, Constitution of the Spartans (pp93–107)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #4, D2L Quiz #4, Discussion #4


Ancient Greece (2): Poetic Justice

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Greek Religion and Epic Poetry

READ: basic info on Hesiod; (Bauschatz): Hesiod, Theogony (pp109–152); (Bauschatz): Hesiod, Works and Days (pp153–183)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #5, D2L Quiz #5, Discussion #5


Ancient Greece (3): Murder, etc., in Athens

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Crime and Punishment in Ancient Greece and Ancient Oratory

READ (Bauschatz): Lysias 1, On the Murder of Eratosthenes (pp185–192); (Bauschatz): Antiphon 1, Accusation of Poisoning against the Stepmother (pp193–198); (Bauschatz): Demosthenes 54, Against Conon for Battery (pp199–209)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #6, D2L Quiz #6, Discussion #6


Ancient Greece (4): Plato, Socrates and the Great Defense

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Greek Philosophy and the Persian Wars

READ: basic info on Plato and Socrates; (Bauschatz): Plato, Apology of Socrates (pp211–240); (Bauschatz): Plato, Crito (pp241–253)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #7, D2L Quiz #7, Discussion #7

  Spring Break

Ancient Greece (5): Divine Punishment

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Greek Tragedy and the Peloponnesian Wars

READ: basic info on Sophocles and ancient Thebes; (Bauschatz): Sophocles, Oedipus the King (pp255–326)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #8, D2L Quiz #8, Discussion #8


Ancient Greece (6): Busting and Booking in Ptolemaic Egypt

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on the Hellenistic Period and Early Roman History

READ: basic info on the Ptolemies; (Bauschatz): Ptolemaic papyri on policing (pp327–354)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #9, D2L Quiz #9, Discussion #9


Ancient Rome (1): Law and Society

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on the "Roman Revolution" and the Late Roman Republic

READ (D2L): Alan Watson, "Roman Law" (pp607–629 of M. Grant and R. Kitzinger, eds., Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece and Rome, vol. 1 [New York, 1988]);(Bauschatz): the Twelve Tables (pp355–363)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #10, D2L Quiz #10, Discussion #10


Ancient Rome (2): Rulers and Ruled

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Augustus and Roman Provinces

READ (Bauschatz): The Deeds of the Divine Augustus (pp365–373); info on Pliny the Younger and the emperor Trajan; (Bauschatz): Pliny, Epistles, book 10 (X) (pp375–404): Letters 19–20, 29–34, 56–60, 65–66, 78, 96–97

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #11, D2L Quiz #11, Discussion #11


Ancient Rome (3): the Spectacle of Punishment

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Roman Entertainment and First Century Emperors

READ: info on Roman gladiators; (D2L): Chapters 1–3 (pp1–15) of E. Clark, "Capital Punishment in Ancient Rome" (Honors Thesis, Classics, Xavier University, 2005); info on Tertullian; (Bauschatz): Tertullian, On the Spectacles (pp405–430)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #12, D2L Quiz #12, Discussion #12


Ancient Rome (4): Robbers and Frauds

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on Sexond Century Emperors and Mystery Religions

READ: biography of Apuleius; Apuleius, The Golden Ass, summary and analysis of books 1–3; (Bauschatz): The Golden Ass 4.1–27, 6.25–32 and 7.1–13 (pp431–452); biography of Lucian; (Bauschatz): Lucian, Alexander the Quack Prophet (pp453–472); more information on Glykon

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #13, D2L Quiz #13, Discussion #13


Ancient Rome (5): Late Antique Law

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoints on the Crisis of the Third Century and Magic

READ: basic info on late antiquity and the Theodosian Code; (Bauschatz): Theodosian Code, Book 9, Titles 2–17 (pp473–499)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #14, D2L Quiz #14, Discussion #14


Ancient Rome (6): Hell

VIEW (D2L): PowerPoint on the Fall of the Roman Empire and the Afterlife in the Ancient World

READ: basic info on Virgil; summary of the Aeneid, books 1–5; (Bauschatz): Virgil, Aeneid, book 6 (pp501–533); Dante, short biography; Inferno: summary; (Bauschatz): Inferno, Cantos i–v (pp535–562)

COMPLETE (D2L): Reading Worksheet #15, D2L Quiz #15, Discussion #15

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