Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-7d684dbfc8-jcwnr Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-09-28T02:20:52.597Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Chapter 1 - Law before Writing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Michael Gagarin
Affiliation:
University of Texas, Austin
Get access

Summary

The earliest period of Greek law for which we have evidence, albeit indirect, is the era portrayed in the poems of Homer and Hesiod, which we may loosely refer to as the period of “Homeric society.” Although the events in Homer take place at the end of the Bronze Age (ca. 1200–1150), the institutions portrayed almost certainly represent those of a later period, most likely the eighth century, shortly before these poems were put in writing, probably around 700. Moreover, the works of both Homer and Hesiod contain episodes and allusions pertaining to judicial matters on the basis of which we can sketch a picture of a more or less formal process for judging or settling disputes between members of the community. Certain details of this process may vary, but there is enough consistency among the different episodes to conclude that early Greek legal procedure was a recognizable institution with well-established parameters within which there was room for variation in detail. Like the rest of the Homeric/Hesiodic world, the legal process shows no knowledge of writing, even though writing was probably introduced to the Greek world a century or so before these poems were written down. Thus, we are justified in assuming that legal procedures such as those portrayed in the poems existed in Greece in the eighth or ninth centuries and probably continued with little change (and without the use of writing) until the mid seventh century, when laws first began to be written.

Type
Chapter
Information
Writing Greek Law , pp. 13 - 38
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Law before Writing
  • Michael Gagarin, University of Texas, Austin
  • Book: Writing Greek Law
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511482779.003
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Law before Writing
  • Michael Gagarin, University of Texas, Austin
  • Book: Writing Greek Law
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511482779.003
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Law before Writing
  • Michael Gagarin, University of Texas, Austin
  • Book: Writing Greek Law
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511482779.003
Available formats
×