The classical Athenian 'state' had almost no formal coercive apparatus to ensure order or compliance with law: there was no professional police force or public prosecutor, and nearly every step in the legal process depended on private initiative. And yet Athens was a remarkably peaceful and well-ordered society by both ancient and contemporary standards. Why? Law and Order in Ancient Athens draws on contemporary legal scholarship to explore how order was maintained in Athens. Lanni argues that law and formal legal institutions played a greater role in maintaining order than is generally acknowledged. The legal system did encourage compliance with law, but not through the familiar deterrence mechanism of imposing sanctions for violating statutes. Lanni shows how formal institutions facilitated the operation of informal social control in a society that was too large and diverse to be characterized as a 'face-to-face community' or 'close-knit group'.
This book examines the legal regulation of violence and the role of litigation in Athenian society. Using comparative anthropological and historical perspectives, David Cohen challenges traditional evolutionary and functionalist accounts of the development of legal process. Examining Athenian theories of social conflict and the rule of law, as well as actual litigation involving the regulation of violence, the book emphasizes the way in which the judicial process operates in an agonistic society.
This volume brings together essays on Athenian law by Edward M. Harris, who challenges much of the recent scholarship on this topic. Presenting a balanced analysis of the legal system in ancient Athens, Harris stresses the importance of substantive issues and their contribution to our understanding of different types of legal procedures. He combines careful philological analysis with close attention to the political and social contexts of individual statutes. Collectively, the essays in this volume demonstrate the relationship between law and politics, the nature of the economy, the position of women, and the role of the legal system in Athenian society. They also show that the Athenians were more sophisticated in their approach to legal issues than has been assumed in the modern scholarship on this topic.
This book argues that ancient democracy did not stop at the door of economic democracy, and that ancient Athens has much to tell us about the relationship between political equality and economic equality. Athenian democracy rested on a foundation of general economic equality, which enabled citizens to challenge their exclusion from politics.
The relationship between law and literature is rich and complex. In the past three and half decades, the topic has received much attention from literary critics and legal scholars studying modern literature. Despite the prominence of law and justice in Ancient Greek literature, there has been little interest among Classical scholars in the connections between law and drama. This is the first collection of essays to approach Greek tragedy and comedy from a legal perspective. The volume does not claim to provide an exhaustive treatment of law and literature in ancient Greece. Rather it provides a sample of different approaches to the topic. Some essays show how knowledge of Athenian law enhances our understanding of individual passages in Attic drama and the mimes of Herodas and enriches our appreciation of dramatic techniques. Other essays examine the information provided about legal procedure found in Aristophanes' comedies or the views about the role of law in society expressed in Attic drama. The collection reveals reveal how the study of law and legal procedure can enhance our understanding of ancient drama and bring new insights to the interpretation of individual plays.
Ancient Greek literature, Athenian civic ideology, and modern classical scholarship have all worked together to reinforce the idea that there were three neatly defined status groups in classical Athens--citizens, slaves, and resident foreigners. But this book--the first comprehensive account of status in ancient democratic Athens--clearly lays out the evidence for a much broader and more complex spectrum of statuses, one that has important implications for understanding Greek social and cultural history. By revealing a social and legal reality otherwise masked by Athenian ideology, Deborah Kamen illuminates the complexity of Athenian social structure, uncovers tensions between democratic ideology and practice, and contributes to larger questions about the relationship between citizenship and democracy. Each chapter is devoted to one of ten distinct status groups in classical Athens (451/0-323 BCE): chattel slaves, privileged chattel slaves, conditionally freed slaves, resident foreigners (metics), privileged metics, bastards, disenfranchised citizens, naturalized citizens, female citizens, and male citizens. Examining a wide range of literary, epigraphic, and legal evidence, as well as factors not generally considered together, such as property ownership, corporal inviolability, and religious rights, the book demonstrates the important legal and social distinctions that were drawn between various groups of individuals in Athens. At the same time, it reveals that the boundaries between these groups were less fixed and more permeable than Athenians themselves acknowledged. The book concludes by trying to explain why ancient Greek literature maintains the fiction of three status groups despite a far more complex reality.
The Attic orators, whose works are an invaluable source on the social and political history of Classical Athens, often filled their speeches with charges of conspiracy involving almost every facet of Athenian life. There are allegations of plots against men's lives, property, careers, and reputations as well as charges of conspiracy against the public interest, the government, the management of foreign affairs, and more. Until now, however, this obsession with conspiracy has received little scholarly attention. In order to develop the first full picture of this important feature of Athenian discourse, Joseph Roisman examines the range and nature of the conspiracy charges. He asks why they were so popular, and considers their rhetorical, cultural, and psychological significance. He also investigates the historical likelihood of the scenarios advanced for these plots, and asks what their prevalence suggests about the Athenians and their worldview. He concludes by comparing ancient and modern conspiracy theories. In addition to shedding new light on Athenian history and culture, his study provides an invaluable perspective on the use of conspiracy as a rhetorical ploy.
This is a book about the social and economic history of ancient Greece and has as its core a detailed study of credit relations in Athens during the fourth century BC. It looks at ancient economy and society in their own terms and demonstrates that the very different system of credit in Athens had its own complexity and sophistication.