Public Records and Archives in Classical Athens

Public Records and Archives in Classical Athens

by James P. Sickinger


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In this book, James Sickinger explores the use and preservation of public records in the ancient Athenian democracy of the archaic and classical periods.
Athenian public records are most familiar from the survival of inscribed stelai, slabs of marble on which were published decrees, treaties, financial accounts, and other state documents. Working largely from evidence supplied by such inscriptions, Sickinger demonstrates that their texts actually represented only a small part of Athenian record keeping. More numerous and more widely used, he says, were archival texts written on wooden tablets or papyri that were made, and often kept for extended periods of time, by Athenian officials.
Beginning with the legislation of Drakon in the seventh century B.C., Sickinger traces the growing use of written records by the Athenian state over the next three centuries, concluding with an examination of the Metroon, the state archive of Athens, during the fourth century. Challenging assumptions about ancient Athenian literacy, democracy, and society, Sickinger argues that the practical use and preservation of laws, decrees, and other state documents were hallmarks of Athenian public life from the earliest times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807858516
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 02/15/2007
Series: Studies in the History of Greece and Rome
Edition description: 1
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

James Sickinger is assistant professor of classics at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Table of Contents


Preface Introduction Chapter 1. Thesmothetai, Drakon, and Solon I. Thesmothetai II. Drakon III. Solon IV. Conclusion Chapter 2. Documents and Records in the Sixth Century I. Sixth-Century Secretaries II. Didascalic Records and Long-Term Preservation III. The Archon List IV. Written Records and Kleisthenes' Reforms V. Conclusion Chapter 3. Records and Archives in the Fifth Century I. Inscriptions and Archives II. The Archives of the Boule III. Organization and Dating of Fifth-Century Decrees IV. Conclusion Chapter 4. The Athenian Law Code and the Foundation of the Metroon I. The Revision of the Athenian Law Code II. The Foundation of the Metroon Chapter 5. The Archives in the Metroon I. Laws, Decrees, and the Records of the Boule and Ekklesia II. Financial Records and Accounts III. Pōlētai Documents IV. Other Documents V. Conclusion Chapter 6. Personnel and Organization I. Personnel II. Organization III. Conclusion Chapter 7. Consultation I. Archival Documents and the Lawcourts II. Archival Documents and Legislation III. Archives and Historians IV. Conclusion Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This important study offers a major challenge to prevailing assumptions about ancient bureaucracy and literacy. . . . An illuminating and much needed analysis. . . . The insights it offers contribute to many current discussions of Athenian society and politics. Although primarily for scholars, the study is accessible to serious students.—Religious Studies Review

An excellent work of scholarship on a very timely subject written from a completely original point of view. The author succeeds strikingly in introducing into the ongoing and fairly one-sided debate about classical Athens as a literate or an oral culture a great deal of ancient evidence which has remained almost completely overlooked by his predecessors. Moreover, he subjects all of the more familiar and oft-discussed data to a more searching and rigorous analysis than they have hitherto received.—Ronald S. Stroud, American School of Classical Studies

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Public Records and Archives in Classical Athens 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Manirul More than 1 year ago
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