why are harsh laws

Draconian?

Draco, for those of us who don’t know was the first recorded Greek lawgiver. As you maybe aware, the Greeks had a number of lawgivers such as Solon whose laws replaced some of those instituted by Draco. Another lawgiver was Lycurgus among others.

Now back to Draco.

He was concerned with curbing the excesses of the ruling aristocracy, and firmly establish the rule of law over the will of powerful families.

For all his harsh laws, it is agreed that his laws recognized the sanctity of the family and family life. His homicide law stipulated that

No matter how powerful or influential a person was, he still did not have the right to enter someoneโ€™s house and seduce or force the women under this manโ€™s authority, for the law provided the most efficient deterrent: self-help. The wronged man would not need to seek justice elsewhere; he could avenge his injured honor there and then. So, it seems that from early times the Athenian state made a firm commitment to protect the family and all individuals in it.

I think laws under no-tress pass all derive from this law.

From wikipedia, Plutarch says of Drako

“It is said that Drakon himself, when asked why he had fixed the punishment of death for most offences, answered that he considered these lesser crimes to deserve it, and he had no greater punishment for more important ones”