Greek & Roman Law

CLST 308

This course is an introduction to ancient Athenian law. We shall read court speeches from trials that were held more than 2000 years ago. Topics will range from homicide to commerce and banking, from citizenship to assault, from slavery to inheritance, from religion to sexuality, from political amnesty to judicial torture. We shall explore, through in-class discussion, the theory and practice of Athenian law, aspects of social, economic, political, and cultural history as visible from the surviving court speeches, the relationship between Athenian law and Athenian democracy. In all of this we shall also look for points of similarity or difference between ancient Athenians' experience and our own.

Explore the culture and customs of these countries: 
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Relevance to other majors: 
This course is crosslisted with History and Political Science. But whatever your major, if you are interested in law, policy, history, antiquity, or the intersection of any of these, this course will be fun. So also if you are drawn to study social or cultural practices, perhaps to learn a bit about yourself by studying a remote society that is at once comfortingly familiar and disturbingly different from your own. Or maybe you are interested in rhetoric and oratory, which were the backbone of the Athenian legal system. We'll read speeches from a wide range of lawsuits, so that there should be something on the menu for everyone!
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Modes of Inquiry: 
Film, Visual & Performing Arts?
Literature in Translation?