Claire (darknepenthe) wrote in little_details,

Crime and Punishment in Ancient Greece

I'm not the classical scholar that I should be, I'm afraid. I have a scenario, and I'd like to make it as reasonably realistic as possible, but I can find no specific information on a similar situation. I'm going to include a few details here, as I imagine they make some sort of a difference to the outcome.

Say you're a wealthy government official living in a Peninsular Greek city, sometime at the height of the era (it really doesn't matter specifically when). You have a big house, a bunch of slaves, an obedient wife, and some nice children. Life is good. One day your oldest son brings home a strange young woman he found on the beach, who says she's the daughter of the king of a neighboring polis. She was kidnapped during a raid of some sort but managed to escape somehow (vagaries are my friend). You send a messenger to said city, to see if everything's a-okay and if you can ship the girl back to her father, because you really don't want her -- but you're nice enough not to turn her out into the cold. It'll take a few days for the messenger to get there and back, so you give her a room. Everything's nice for a short while, until one morning you awake to find that she's inexplicably killed your youngest two sons. Oh my!
So ... what happens to her? She obviously did it. She doesn't deny doing it. As far as my research has let on, murder was generally penalized by death in ancient Greece (which is good -- I want her dead), but would the fact that she's a woman make a difference? How was capital punishment usually carried out back then? In ... the Odyssey, I recall Odysseus hanging all of his disloyal slaves, women and men alike, I think, but that was a slightly different situation. Would there be a trial? Would they wait for the messenger to return with word from the father, or would they just get down to business? Who would carry out the deed, the man whose children were murdered, or someone else?
As you can see, I'm clueless, and if anyone knows about the penal system and its attitude towards women in ancient Greece, I'd appreciate some help. I hope I was clear enough. :D

Thanks in advance!

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