Analysisof Law and Government (The Roman Republic and Mongol Empire)
Thecity of Rome was founded in 753 B.C.E by Romulus and Remus, and thecity was first controlled by kings. Power was given to the Senate andother elected officials. With the expansion of its territories in thenorthern and western parts, emperors combined power while limitingthe control enjoyed by the senators. The priests and the patricianswere the only classes of people mandated with interpreting the law.The Roman laws protected the people from bad debts, rights toproperty ownership, and punished those caught stealing or destroyingothers property. On the other hand, the Mongol Empire placed absolutepower over Chingiz Khan who had total control over the people. TheChingiz Khan had control over everything even the families of thesubjects. Contrary to the Roman Empire, the laws in the Mongol Empirewere mostly interpreted by the emperor. This essay analyzes law andgovernment between the Roman Republic and the Mongol Empire byexamining the difference in the relationship between the state andits subjects and how different laws are implemented in the twoempires.
TheRoman laws gave power to the state and elected officials such assenators who controlled the common people in different ways such asensuring they followed the laws and regulations of the Kingdom. Thelaws provided the submission of all the state subjects failure towhich would result in punishment. For example, the state did notallow anyone to hold meetings at any time of the night around thecity as stated in Table VIII, 26 (UnderstandingWorld Societies,page 119). The above illustrates that the state had absolute powerover the subjects and no common person who could question the stateauthority. Additionally, the superiority of the state over thesubjects was also illustrated in those caught committing treason. Forinstance, in Table IX, “Treason: he who shall have roused up apublic enemy or handed over a citizen to a public enemy must suffercapital punishment” (UnderstandingWorld Societies,page 120). Table X illustrates that the state does not allow anyoneto burn or bury corpses in any part of the city of Rome.
Inthe Mongol Empire, the state laws had power over family, for example,the penalty for committing adultery was death irrespective of whetherone was married or not (Yasa,number 1). Also, the states prohibited individuals from urinatinginto the ashes or water and anyone caught committing such crime wassubjected to death (Yasa,number 4). During the reign of Chingiz Khan laws were introduced thatallowed distinguished individuals such as lawyers, religiousdevotees, fakirs, scholars, physicians, and muezzins not to pay anytax or excise duties, unlike the subjects who had part with heftytaxes (Yasa,number 10). The state laws required the people to respect allreligions, and no religion was more important than the other, andthus every citizen had the freedom to worship whichever gods theybelieved in. To the state, all religions were the same, and no churchwas allowed more privileges than the other (Yasa,number 11). The individual in the city of Rome had equal rights tofollow their religious beliefs without restriction from others or thestate laws. In the Mongol Empire, the death penalty was common as apunishment for various crimes including committing adultery.
Theruler of the state of the Mongol Empire had power over everyone inthe city and power to whatever they wanted with the people. Forinstance, Chingiz Khan ordered warriors returning from war to presenttheir daughters so that the emperor could choose for his children andothers for himself (Yasa,number 21). The above is an indication of the powers the state hadover the subjects, and the common people could not ask any questionwhen the king demanded or ordered them to do something. It wasironical in that adultery was punished with death, but Chingiz Khanand his children had the right to commit adultery. “He ordered themto present all their daughters to the Khan at the beginning of eachyear that he might choose some of them for himself and his children”(Yasa,number 21). The above is an illustration of the powers enjoyed by therulers and their families and who were not subject to any law of theland. Everyone was answerable to the emperor and had to do as theking demanded otherwise they were to face the penalty of death. Thestate had absolute power over the people and those who heldleadership position were allowed special privileges by the law. Somecould even commit crimes and not be punished as they were consideredsuperior and above the law. For the Roman Empire, any controlexercised by the state officials was directed towards the subjectswhile some leaders had the power that prevented them from beingprosecuted by the law.
Insummary, the state and its subjects in the Roman Republic and theMongol Empire had major differences that distinguished the twokingdoms. The Mongol Empire allowed for the existence of differentreligious faiths, but the penalty of death was very common asprovided by the law. The emperor in the Mongol Empire had the powerto order and interpret laws while in the Roman Empire the priests andpatricians were allowed to interpret the law. The most importantdifference between the two kingdoms was that in the Mongol Empire theking had absolute power over everyone else while in the Roman Empireother personalities such as priests exercised power over the people.The way laws were excised between the two kingdoms by the state overthe subjects defined the most important difference between the RomanEmpire and the Mongol Empire.
Anexcerpt from the TwelveTables,a legal code used in the Roman Republic.
TheYasa,or “Laws of Chingiz Khan,” a legal code used in the Mongol Empirein the late
12thand early 13thcenturies. (In the Course Readings folder in Moodle)