Crime and Punishment in the Ancient World

John Bauschatz
Wednesdays 10AM - 12PM
January 24, 31, February 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2024
Watch the video to learn more about this course

Crime and Punishment in the Ancient World

Spring 2024
In Session
10AM - 12PM
January 24, 31, February 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2024

Course Format: 



Main Campus



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 will also cover Pharaonic Egypt and the Ancient Near East. We shall move chronologically, geographically, and topically, treating a broad range of literary and archaeological evidence. Law codes from Mesopotamia, tomb robbery in the Egyptian New Kingdom, the trial and execution of Socrates, police in the provinces of Rome, execution by gladiator, spiritual and allegorical punishment: the course encompasses it all!

Required Reading: 

• Athenian courtroom speeches (Plato's Apology, selected orations of Lysias and Antiphon)
• Part of an ancient Roman novel (the Metamorphoses of Apuleius)
• Greek tragedy (Sophocles' Oedipus the King) and comedy (Aristophanes’ Clouds and Wasps)
• Epic poetry (Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey; Hesiod's Works and Days; Virgil’s Aeneid)
• Letters between a provincial governor and an emperor (Pliny's Letters, book 10) 

Meet Your Professor

Associate Professor
Department of History

JOHN BAUSCHATZ is Associate Professor of History and Classics at the UA. His academic interests include Greek papyrology, Hellenistic Egypt and law enforcement in the ancient world. He has taught a wide variety of Greek, Latin, Classics and History courses during his time in Tucson (15+ years now).


  • All classes will be delivered on-campus and online via live video streaming. Students will enroll in their preferred format during registration.
  • On-Campus classes will be held in the Rubel Room at the University of Arizona's Poetry Center (1508 E Helen St, Tucson, AZ 85721). Enrollment for in-person classes is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. All students enrolled to attend in person also have complete online access and may choose to attend one or all class sessions remotely if desired.
  • Online students may attend all classes via live video streaming and will be able to participate in all course Q&A sessions with the professor in real-time. A high-speed internet connection and a device capable of running Zoom are required to connect. Online access will be password protected and only available to enrolled students.
  • Class Recordings - All HSP classes are recorded and available for every enrolled student to watch for the duration of the course and one month after the last class session. This option is offered to aid students who cannot attend the live class times but desire to enroll and participate asynchronously. We hope this option also aids students who are traveling or have a necessary appointment that conflicts with a class session to stay connected and engaged with the course material.


Poetry Center
Dorothy Rubel Room
1508 E Helen
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
Located on the SE corner of Helen Street and Vine Avenue, one block north of Speedway and three blocks west of Campbell Ave.

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