The ancient Greeks invented written law. Yet, in contrast to later societies in which law became a professional discipline, the Greeks treated laws as components of social and political history, reflecting the daily realities of managing society. To understand Greek law, then, requires looking into extant legal, forensic, and historical texts for evidence of the law in action. From such study has arisen the field of ancient Greek law as a scholarly discipline within classical studies, a field that has come into its own since the 1970s.
This edited volume charts new directions for the study of Greek law in the twenty-first century through contributions from eleven leading scholars. The essays in the book’s first section reassess some of the central debates in the field by looking at questions about the role of law in society, the notion of “contracts,” feuding and revenge in the court system, and legal protections for slaves engaged in commerce. The second section breaks new ground by redefining substantive areas of law such as administrative law and sacred law, as well as by examining sources such as Hellenistic inscriptions that have been comparatively neglected in recent scholarship. The third section evaluates the potential of methodological approaches to the study of Greek law, including comparative studies with other cultures and with modern legal theory. The volume ends with an essay that explores pedagogy and the relevance of teaching Greek law in the twenty-first century.
"As would be expected from contributors of this caliber, the scholarship in this volume is excellent. It makes a significant contribution to the field owing not only to the quality of the individual papers, but also to the topic they address: what is the future of the study of ancient Greek law? To my knowledge, there is nothing comparable on the market. Potential readerships, besides scholars of Greek law, include scholars and others interested in classics, ancient history, ancient law, pedagogy of law, and comparative law."
David D. Phillips, UCLA, author of The Law of Ancient Athens
"Leading international scholars provide seminal accounts of a broad range of research areas in ancient Greek law. I don’t know of a comparable work that takes stock of the range of scholarship in this way."
David Mirhady, Simon Fraser University, coeditor of NOMOI, a bibliographical website for the study of ancient Greek law
"As a whole, the volume provides a succinct and learned overview of modern thinking on issues that have been debated since the subject flourished in the 1970s, and includes some convincing and innovative readings...the volume will be a great resource for students, established scholars, and indeed teachers of Greek law. "
Bryn Mawr Classical Review