By Michael Gagarin

This better half offers a finished assessment of the main topics and themes pertinent to historical Greek legislation. a few of the 22 essays, written through a global crew of specialists, hide procedural and great legislation in classical Athens, yet major realization can be paid to criminal perform within the archaic and Hellenistic eras. The essays supply big proof of criminal perform in Crete and Egypt, in addition to the intersection of legislation with faith, philosophy, political thought, rhetoric, and drama.

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Xml CB840/Gagarin 0 521 81840 0 June 8, 2005 18:18 Introduction can we construct a methodology adequate to understanding what law can tell us about tragic drama and tragedy can tell us about law: Tragedy becomes useful for studying Athenian law only after scholars have already taken the time to work out not merely the procedures of Athenian law but also its conceptual foundation and implications. The tragedians responded profoundly and robustly to the content of their contemporaries’ political, legal, and ethical aspirations, that is, to their ideas, regardless of what they thought about current events.

Significantly, the innovations were not the work of jurists but rather the product of the efforts of practitioners in adapting legal forms to the needs of commercial and economic life. As mentioned, this field of Greco-Egyptian law is largely separated from the concerns of those scholars who work on other areas of Greek, and particularly Athenian, law. One of the great unanswered methodological questions of our discipline is in what way the study of this astonishingly rich evidence for the “life of the law” in the Egyptian context can help us to understand the legal culture of other times and places in the Greek world and elsewhere.

But inscriptions also provide abundant evidence of concern for procedure (Gagarin 1986: esp. 72–7), and for oral argument and debate, which characterize procedure at Gortyn and Athens. ). The formalism that is well known from Roman or early English law seems never to have had a significant place in Greek legal procedure. Several other features of Greek legal procedure can best be understood if we begin with an aspect noted by Sealey and others, namely the presence of gaps in legislation. 15 Greek legislation is unusual, however, not because gaps are present, but because the Greeks explicitly recognize gaps and are willing to tolerate them.

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