• Ancient Rome
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

The term ''Proscription'', originated in Ancient Rome with the dictatorship of Sulla in 81 BC. It is taken to mean severe and harsh penalties levied against supposed ''Enemies of The State'' by a Government or Ruling Class. In Sulla's case, he used Proscription as a means of executing any usurpers to his imposed ''Authority''. Sulla maintained a List of Names of those Senators or Noblemen he saw as a threat. These ''Lists'' were posted in Forums and other Public Places. Proscription Lists were seen as an early form of ''Wanted'' or ''Warrant'' Posters. Even in so-called ''Democratic'' or ''Constitutional'' Law Nations, Proscription has been used to consolidate a Leader's power. By the time of The English Civil War of the mid-17th Century, Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell used Proscription widely against any Royalist Supporters or those wishing to re-establish The Monarchy. Often, these measures were vicious and cruel – with the ancient Hanging, Drawing and Quartering being used.


Again in the 18th Century during The French Revolution, Proscription was imposed by The Revolutionary Government against those who tried to circumvent their authority and maintain a Monarchy. Proscription led to the infamous ''Reign of Terror'' in which hundreds were executed on State Authority by The Guillotine. The Communist ''Stalinist'' Purges of the mid-20th Century, are another form. Great Britain (as well as other European Nations), still maintain a form of Proscription in their Laws. Great Britain invoked Proscription in World War II for any forms of Treason against it's Government. Since 1945 however, it has not invoked it's authority to kill a person for seditious acts – only Proscribing ''Life Imprisonment'' as punishment.