What Are Draconian Laws? (Listed & Explained!)

Draconian Laws

Draconian laws are absurd rules meted out on people when there could be softer alternatives. Such rules are usually harsh, and you will begin to feel bad for the victim when you witness such a situation.

Draconian laws can be traced to Athens, and it was created by Draco, an Aristocrat in the 7th century. He created it as a way of reducing feud between people. However, these laws became harsh and intolerable.

549BC saw the end of the Draconian law as it was termed oppressive, and people could no longer live with it. 

Since then, people have usually called it draconian law whenever a harsh punishment is imposed upon someone. 

In this article, we will be highlighting some situations that you can refer to as Draconian law. But first, below is a table with some original Draconian law excerpts.

“He who kills another Athenian, without a purpose or by accident, should be banished from Athens forever. However, if the killer apologizes to the family of the murdered man and the family accepts the apology, then the murderer may stay in Athens.”
“Political rights (in Athens) can only belong to those that carry weapons. Moreover, these rights are, especially for lower rank lords. In contrast, for someone to be elected as a general or head of cavalry (ίππαρχος, ipparxos), he should have a fortune of over 100 mnes and have a legitimate Athenian wife and children over 10 years old.”
“A relative of a murder victim can hunt and take into custody the murderer and thus hand him to the authorities where they will judge him. If a relative kills the murderer, he will not be allowed to enter the Athenian Forum («αγορά,» agora), or participate in competitions or set foot into sacred places…”

Draconian Law Situations 

Here are some situations that can happen, which you can call Draconian Law.

Expelling A Student For Being Late To School

Understandably, schools usually have their rules and regulations, and students must follow these rules. However, we can say that some drastic rules should not be in place in educational institutions.

For example, imagine if a school decides to expel a student for being late. Yes, students are not supposed to come late to school. However, they can serve other punishments like assisting in the library or gym. Or even do extra hours after school.

It would be harsh to expel the student for being late, especially if they have a clean record.

So, one can refer to such a situation as Draconian law. Back then, people were given extreme punishments for like case situations, and this is an example that can qualify.

Students can come late to school for many reasons. It could be that they were sick or there was a family emergency. So, it is only right for the school to find out the reason first before resorting to drastic measures.

But, when the school gives its students such harsh punishments, we can say that they are exhibiting Draconian law as it doesn’t make sense to get extreme when they can give light punishments.

Withholding 3 Months Salary Of An Employee Who Sleeps Off At The Office

 Salary Of An Employee Who Sleeps Off At The Office

Let us analyze the office as another place where Draconian laws can happen, especially a one-person business.

Again, allow us to state that we understand the need for rules and regulations. We know that offices usually have these rules and regulations to serve as a checking guide to the employees.

However, the rules should not be severe for light cases.

We doubt anyone can say they have never dozed off at work before. So, imagine if your office withholds your salary for three months because you slept off at work? Of course, it is almost unimaginable as that would be too harsh. Therefore, we can say that the office engages in Draconian law in such a scenario.

Understandably, the office may have laws against sleeping at work. After all, they are not paying you to sleep at the office. And, we can understand if there is a fine for sleeping at the office.

People can understand if the office decides to deduct a certain percentage from the month’s salary because you slept off. But to take an employee’s three months salary is extreme and can be considered wicked.

This act could only happen back when Draconian laws were still in place.

Killing Someone For Stealing $1

Some offenses are punishable by killing under the law. And, we are sure that you can think of some of these offenses if you are asked to list them.

However, it would be unimaginable to think that any law would punish someone for stealing $1. Yes, we can imagine the shock on your face to think of such a scenario happening. But when the Draconian laws were still in place, such situations happened.

Now, we are not saying that we support people who steal. After all, there are punishments applicable to such persons under the law, and these punishments do not equal death.

Thankfully, Draconian laws are no more existing; else, it would be painful to exist in such a world.

$1 would not mean much to many people. So, even if someone steals $1 from you, we know that you would not wish death upon them.

Thinking about it from another point of view, we can say that anyone who eats $1 is in dire need of it.

So, giving such a person a death sentence is extreme and harsh. Also, one can view it as oppression of the poor. 

We can look at such cases from many angles, but stealing should never equate to a death sentence.

Killing Someone For Not Wearing A Scarf In A Worship Place

Many cases of religious extremism exist globally, and we do not believe that it should happen. One of the fundamental human rights is the right to worship, so people can choose any religion they desire.

So, it won’t make sense when such religions impose laws that could kill people. And, we are sure that no religion wants to kill its believers. Therefore, it would be the religious leaders enforcing these dreadful laws. 

Imagine if a woman is given a death sentence because she did not wear a scarf in a place of worship. These are trivial issues that one can correct by talking. But going ahead to kill such a person is harsh and should not be happening.

Therefore, if any religion does this, we can say that they are indulging in Draconian law.

Again, allow us to state that draconian laws are harsh. And, if any religious body engages in such, it drives away people as they become scared. And, no one should be scared of worshiping.


Some frequently asked questions are:

What Is Meant By Draconian Rules?

Draconian rules are laws that are considered harsh and intolerable.

What Is An Example Of Draconian Law?

We have highlighted various examples of Draconian laws above. One example is when a school expels a student for coming late.

How Did Draco Die?

Draco died from suffocation in a theater. People who were displeased by the laws threw hats and cloaks over him, suffocating him.


Draconian laws are harsh laws that existed way back. Thankfully, it is no more in existence as it made life unbearable.