Disputes and Democracy: The Consequences of Litigation in Ancient Athens (Google eBook)

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University of Texas Press, Jul 5, 2010 - History - 223 pages
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Athenians performed democracy daily in their law courts. Without lawyers or judges, private citizens, acting as accusers and defendants, argued their own cases directly to juries composed typically of 201 to 501 jurors, who voted on a verdict without deliberation. This legal system strengthened and perpetuated democracy as Athenians understood it, for it emphasized the ideological equality of all (male) citizens and the hierarchy that placed them above women, children, and slaves.

This study uses Athenian court speeches to trace the consequences for both disputants and society of individuals' decisions to turn their quarrels into legal cases. Steven Johnstone describes the rhetorical strategies that prosecutors and defendants used to persuade juries and shows how these strategies reveal both the problems and the possibilities of language in the Athenian courts. He argues that Athenian "law" had no objective existence outside the courts and was, therefore, itself inherently rhetorical. This daring new interpretation advances an understanding of Athenian democracy that is not narrowly political, but rather links power to the practices of a particular institution.

  

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
AUTHORITATIVE READINGS
21
LAW AND NARRATIVE
46
DARE OR TRUTH
70
CONJURING CHARACTER
93
CERTAIN RITUALS
109
LITIGATION AND ATHENIAN CULTURE
126
THE USE OF STATISTICS
134
NOTES
138
BIBLIOGRAPHY
179
INDEX
189
INDEX OF PASSAGES CITED
196
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Steven Johnstone " is associate professor of history at the University of Arizona. He is the author of "Disputes and Democracy: The Consequences of Litigation in Ancient Athens.

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