How the Roman Empire can explain the dramatic rise in state violence

The more you study ancient Roman history, the more you realize how similar to us the Romans were. The economy, money, commerce, travel, bureaucracy, laws — so many things in our world find a parallel in the Roman world, even though often in a much less sophisticated form. So, if you were to use a time machine to be transported to ancient Rome, you would find yourself in a familiar world in almost all respects. Except for one thing: you would be startled by the violence you would encounter. Real, harsh, brutal violence; blood and death right in front of you, in the streets, in the arenas, in theaters. It was not the random kind of violence we call “crime,” it was violence codified, sanctioned, and enacted by the state.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at