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Writing Greek Law


  • Page extent: 296 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.61 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521886611)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published June 2008

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$103.00 (C)

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 specialised legal profession. This book will be of interest to those with an interest in the history of law, as well as ancient historians.


Introduction: writing Greek law; 1. Law before writing; 2. Writing and written laws; 3. Why the Greeks wrote laws; 4. Why Draco wrote his homicide law; 5. Oral and written in archaic Greek law; 6. Writing laws in fifth-century Gortyn; 7. Writing the Gortyn code; 8. Writing law in classical Athens; 9. Writing Athenian law: a comparative perspective; 10. Writing law in Hellenistic Greece; Conclusion: writing Greek law.


" 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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