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Durham e-Theses
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Ancient Greek Law in a Near Eastern Context: Comparative Case Studies of Homicide Pollution and Adultery Law in Greece and the Near East

CLAPPERTON, BEN (2019) Ancient Greek Law in a Near Eastern Context: Comparative Case Studies of Homicide Pollution and Adultery Law in Greece and the Near East. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis comprises two case studies which each examine a point of Greek law in the context of the Near East. Significant work has been done in recognising that the Greeks were in a network of exchange with the Near East; but whilst progress has been made in areas such as literature, less work has been done in legal history. In part, this is because a similarity found in a law cannot point to influence in the way it can in other fields. A difference in constitutional law has also erected a barrier. In the case of private law, however, the issues facing the Greeks were the same as the ones facing their neighbours. The first case study focuses on Athenian homicide pollution; which has been influenced by studies such as that of Robert Parker who believed it to be a relic of an earlier period that had no place in Classical Athens. A comparative study with similar beliefs in the Hebrew Bible instead demonstrates that in each society it represented the concerns of the community, who could not otherwise be involved in what was legally a private offence. The second focuses on adultery law. The Greeks differed from their neighbours in subsuming adultery into the broader offence of moicheia, and a comparative study with Near Eastern adultery law demonstrates that this created
an important difference in how it was punished. In the Near East, adultery was an offence committed by the wife and her lover against the husband, who was required to mete out an equal level of punishment to each. In Athens and Gortyn, the offence was by the moichos, and no punishment was imposed on the woman. Collectively, these case studies help to demonstrate the value of studying Greek legal history in a wider regional context.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Classics and Ancient History, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:22 May 2019 10:45

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