Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 5-10-2021


Epke, Sierra. Criminal Law and Parricide in a Reflection of Social Parameters from the Roman Monarchy into the Early Empire. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. May 2021.


Copyright Sierra Epke 2021.


This paper seeks to determine the role of Roman criminal law and its connection to the social responses and punishments relating to parricide. The research for this project was conducted through print materials pertaining to the subject and online resources including databases accessed through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Library system. As Roman society progressed, criminal law grew in range and scope providing different categories of homicide. One such category created was the crime of parricide in which a family member is killed by another member. Because of the power the heads of households, generally the father, possessed in Roman society, parricide became an alternative route to social independence and economic freedom for sons and other descendants. Because the head of the household was endowed with large amounts of power and authority over his family, the crime of parricide weakened traditional Roman familial power dynamics and, in response, received a heavy punishment. To illustrate the breakdown of this familial dynamic, this paper also includes an analysis of three cases of parricide that manifest the negative social reactions to parricide and its destructive social consequences.