Writing Greek Law

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The use of writing in the development of Greek law was unique. In this comparative study Professor Gagarin shows the reader how Greek law developed and explains why it became so different from the legal systems with which most legal historians are familiar. While other early communities wrote codes of law for academic or propaganda purposes, the Greeks used writing extensively to make their laws available to a relatively large segment of the community. On the other hand, the Greeks made little use of writing in litigation whereas other cultures used it extensively in this area, often putting written documents at the heart of the judicial process. Greek law thereby avoided becoming excessively technical and never saw the development of a specialized legal profession. This book will be of interest to specialists in the history of law, as well as ancient historians.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...an engaging study that is brimming with original insights. ...Gagarin offers a valuable, thought-provoking and welcome contribution to the growing body of literature on Greek law." —BMCR

""...this is a stimulating and thought-provoking book. Gagarin concludes with the observation that future study of ancient Greek law will require both 'new ideas and new perspectives' to remain healthy'. In Writing Greek Law he has offered refreshing examples of both." —New England Classical Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521297288
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2011
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Gagarin is James R. Dougherty, Jr Centennial Professor of Classics at the University of Texas, and has published widely on Greek law. Previous publications include Antiphon the Athenian: Oratory, Law and Justice in the Age of the Sophists (2002) and The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Greek Law (co-edited with David Cohen, Cambridge, 2005).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations viii

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

List of Abbreviations xi

Introduction: Writing Greek Law 1

1 Law before Writing 13

2 Writing and Written Laws 39

3 Why the Greeks Wrote Laws 67

4 Why Darco Wrote his Homicide Law 93

5 Oral and Written in Archaic Greek Law 110

6 Writing Laws in Fifth-Century Gortyn 122

7 Writing the Gortyn Code 145

8 Writing Law in Classical Athens 176

9 Writing Athenian Law: a Comparative Perspective 206

10 Writing Law in Hellenistic Greece 225

Conclusion: Writing Greek Law 242

Appendices 248

Bibliography 262

Index Locorum 277

Subject Index 280

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