\ \ [18] Draconianexcessively harsh’ is a monument to the severe code of laws drawn up in 621 BC by the Athenian statesman Draco.
\ \ Its purpose was to banish inequities in the system which were leading at the time to rumblings and threats of rebellion among the common people, and to an extent it succeeded, but all it is now remembered for is its almost pathological harshness: the most trivial infraction was punished with death. When taxed with his laws’ severity, Draco is said to have replied ‘Small crimes deserve death, and for great crimes I know of no penalty severer’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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