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Download Twelve Tables of Roman Law
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The Twelve Tables of Roman Law Ancient Romans wrote a group of laws called the Twelve Tables. They engraved these laws on metal tablets and displayed them in the Roman Forum. The Twelve Tables have helped us learn a lot about the lives of ancient Romans. They are a good example of how politics and society worked in Rome. Some of Rome’s laws are pretty different from what we use today. For example, the penalty for lying as a witness was to be thrown off a cliff. It was also illegal for plebeians to marry patricians. Plebeians were ordinary citizens, while patricians were the rich and powerful. These laws sound harsh, but Romans also wrote the “Good and Fair” laws. These laws said it was better to leave a crime unpunished than to punish an innocent person. They also said that people who were accused of a crime had the right to face their accusers. We base many of our laws on ancient Roman laws. One important Roman law was: No ex post facto. This law stated that a person couldn’t be punished for doing something wrong before a law against it was passed. For example, say your parent drove their car down the highway at 65 mph yesterday. Tomorrow, a law goes into effect that states the highway speed limit is now 55. Your parent can’t get a ticket for driving 65 yesterday, because it wasn’t against the law when they did it. “No ... ex post facto law shall be passed” is part of the U.S. Constitution.