Athenian Law and Society  book cover
1st Edition

Athenian Law and Society

ISBN 9780367664954
Published September 30, 2020 by Routledge
368 Pages

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Book Description

Athenian Law and Society focuses upon the intersection of law and society in classical Athens, in relation to topics like politics, class, ability, masculinity, femininity, gender studies, economics, citizenship, slavery, crime, and violence. The book explores the circumstances and broader context which led to the establishment of the laws of Athens, and how these laws influenced the lives and action of Athenian citizens, by examining a wide range of sources from classical and late antique history and literature. Kapparis also explores later literature on Athenian law from the Renaissance up to the 20th and 21st centuries, examining the long-lasting impact of the world’s first democracy.

Athenian Law and Society is a study of the intersection between law and society in classical Athens that has a wide range of applications to study of the Athenian polis, as well as law, democracy, and politics in both classical and more modern settings.

Table of Contents

Foreword; Abbreviations; Introduction; The development of Athenian law; Sources of Athenian law; Scholarship on Athenian law and society; Chapter 1. The administration of justice in the Polis; 1.1  Sources; 1.2 The division of powers in the Athenian Democracy; 1.3 The question on the rule of law in the Athenian Democracy; 1.4 Accountability of officials and individuals before the law; 1.5 Protections of core human rights in Athenian Law; 1.6 Open Government in the Athenian Democracy; 1.7 Dispute resolution: processes and types of lawsuits; 1.8 Blocking an improperly introduced lawsuit; 1.9 The "amateurism" of Athenian Law?; 1.10 Rules of Evidence and the Rule of Law; 1.11 Executive officers of the Athenian State; Chapter 2. Citizens, Metics and Slaves in Athenian Law; 2.1. Sources; 2.2. Citizenship in the Greek Polis; 2.3. Introduction into the Citizen Body; 2.4. The rights, privileges and duties of Athenian citizen men; 2.5. Metics; 2.6. Slaves; 2.7. Legal procedures for status disputes; Chapter 3. The Athenian oikos; 3.1. Sources; 3.2. The oikos and the polis; 3.3. The oikos and its members; Chapter 4. The formation and purpose of marriage: wives and concubines; 4.1. Sources; 4.2. The ever-shifting definition of marriage; 4.3. Lawful marriage: types and purpose; 4.4. Alternative unions and concubines; 4.5. Conclusions; Chapter 5. The continuation of the oikos: inheritance and succession; 5.1. Sources; 5.2. Succession by natural legitimate sons; 5.3. Legitimate daughters and dowry; 5.4. Epikleros; 5.5. Illegitimate children; 5.6. Wills and succession by adopted children; Chapter 6. The oikos in peril: Divorce, adultery, prostitution; 6.1. Sources; 6.2. Divorce; 6.3. Adultery; 6.4. Prostitution; Chapter 7. Criminal Justice: Violence and Property Crimes; 7.1 Sources; 7.2. Assault and slander: violence in Athenian Law and life; 7.3. Hybris; 7.4. Non-violent conflict resolution: arbitration; 7.5. Sexual violence; 7.6. Property crimes and disputes; Chapter 8. Religion, the state and the law; 8.1. Sources; 8.2. The intersection of religion and the law; 8.3. State Religion, festivals and the law; 8.4. Prosecutions on religious grounds; 8.5. Homicide; Chapter 9. The safety net: Protecting those in need; 9.1. Sources; 9.2. Protecting legal minors and the elderly from abuse; 9.3. Providing for Disabled Citizens; 9.4. Caring for the elderly; 9.5. Income support for the poor and the needy; 9.6. The Athenian healthcare system: Medical care and the law; 9.7. Conclusions; Epilogue: Athenian law as the voice of the Democracy; Bibliography; Index

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Konstantinos A. Kapparis is UF Research Foundation Professor and Director of the Center for Greek Studies at the University of Florida, USA. He studied with D.M. MacDowell at the University of Glasgow. His research interests include the Attic Orators, Athenian Law, Greek and Roman Medical Authors, Women’s History and Gender Studies, and the Social History of the Graeco-Roman World. He has published a commentary on Apollodoros Against Neaira (and also an expanded Modern Greek commentary of the same speech), a monograph on Abortion in the Ancient World, a large volume on Prostitution in the Ancient Greek World, a co-authored volume entitled Legal Speeches of Democratic Athens, and he has co-edited a collection of the articles of D.M. MacDowell. He has also published a number of articles on topics such as prostitution, citizenship and immigration, gender studies, history of medicine and science, and textual criticism.


"Kapparis’ new book builds on the author’s numerous studies on Athenian society, oratory and legal history, and provides an investigation of Athenian law within the social context of classical democracy... The result is an accessible and clearly structured account dealing with several aspects of Athenian law against its social and cultural background, which will especially interest undergraduate students... Kapparis provides a helpful introduction to the legal background of classical Athenian society for students of Ancient History and Classics." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review