History of the Death Penalty

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(A) - Early Forms of the Death Penalty
Ancient China - First established death penalty laws
18th century BCE - Code of king Hammurabi of Babylon - Earliest form of unified system of justice. Death penalty for 25 crimes, including an “eye for an Eye” 16th century BCE - Egypt - first historically recorded death sentence (a man was accused of using magic) 14th century BCE - Hittite code - also prescribed the death penalty 621 BCE - Draconian code of Athens - ‘the death penalty applied for a particularly wide range of crimes”. 5th century BCE - Roman law of the twelve tables includes the death penalty 3rd century BCE - Jews recorded as using four death penalty methods including: Stoning, Hanging, Beheading, and burning. 30 BCE - Sanhedrin Jewish Courts effectively abolish capital punishment, saying that it is only fitting in finality for g-d 29 AD - crucifixion of jesus - most infamous execution in history 330 AD - Emperor Constantine I (Constantine the Great) abolishes crucifixion and other cruel death penalties in the Roman Empire 438 AD - Code of Theodosius - made more then 80 crimes punishable by death 747 AD - Emperor Taizong of Tang (China) - abolished the death penalty. Up till then there were nearly 40 executions a year. 818 AD - Emperor Saga of Japan abolishes the death penalty Common methods for the early death penalties included: stoning, hanging, beheading, crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, impalement, boiling, and quartering.

(B) - Middle ages and the renaissance times (Plus)
Around 900 AD - Ling Chi (Slow Slicing), or death by a thousand cuts, was implemented in china. It’s a method in which they would make small paper cut like incisions, until the patient would die due to a loss of blood. 10th century - Hanging becomes the most common method of killing in Britain. 11th century - William the conqueror - Banned hanging and executing for all offenses except during war 1165 - Capital punishment in Japan is reinstated

12th century - Sephardic legal scholar, Moses Maimonides - argued with the death penalty saying “it is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent man to death” “Most Barons of the time had a drowning pit as well as a gallows and they were used for major as well as minor crimes”. [“During the middle ages, capital punishment was accompanied by torture”] 1279 - two hundred Jews are hanged for supposedly clipping coins 1272-1307 - King Edward I of England - used the death penalty, such as for an “offense” of marrying a Jew (penalty was burning). Known punishments he used for various crimes included: Hanging and quartering. “Beheading was generally accepted for the upper class”. There was also a death punishment for those who would not confess to their crime. The executioner would place heavy weights on the victim’s chest, and feed him bread and water once daily, until he confessed, or died. 1395 - “The Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards” - a book published in England publicly stating opposition to the death penalty 14-15th centuries - During Medieval times, and modern Europe, the death penalty was used as a generalized form of punishment 1492 - The Spanish Inquisition - King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, ordered all Jews in Spain to be expelled. Other methods of torture used by Spain included a medieval practice known as breaking on the wheel, a punishment in which a felon has every major bone in his body broken, then his arms and legs woven into the spokes of a wagon wheel. The wheel is then mounted atop a pole, with the victim still alive, where he is left to die from exposure and the actions of hungry birds. The remaining Jews were burnt at the stake at ceremonies called ‘Auto de fe’, where a large crowd would gather in the square and have a party while the bodies were being burnt alive....
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