Greek law

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The fundamental aim of this class is to make the students reflect on the elements of continuity and discontinuity between ancient and modern law and legal structure. For this purpose, a good number of lessons are dedicated to laws, institutions and cases (e.g. relationship between revenge and justice; means and function of punishment) that allow such a comparison.
Expected learning outcomes
By attending the lessons in Greek law, the students will:
- Learn the main institutes of Greek law (and in particular of Athenian law) and of the historical, political and economic reasons of their evolution
- understand the historical relevance of legal principles which were developed in ancient Greece and are still in force
- interpret the sources and provide arguments for their interpretation
- communicate their knowledge with technical terms, and use the available evidence to reinforce their arguments
- compare ancient and modern legal institutions
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Lessons will take place on Microsoft Teams, will be recorded and available both on Teams and on the specific website on Ariel. Informations about how to attend the lessons on Teams (together with other news about the class) will be uploaded on Ariel, so it is recommended to check it out regularly.
There is a chance, in case the sanitary conditions allow it, to have lessons in presence (with the possibility for those who do not attend to have them recorded). Also in this case, students will be alerted on Ariel
Recorded lessons will be available too.
As usual, students who attend the lessons will prepare their exam on the material provided by the professor during the lessons themselves. Students who do not attend the lessons will study the whole book indicated in the bibliography.
Course syllabus
The aim of the course is the analysis of the most significant features of ancient Greek law, and in particular Athenian law. This analysis will also profit from a comparison with the institutions of other ancient lawcodes, first of all the Roman one, and, whenever possible, with contemporary rules.
In the first lessons we will focus on the sources of Greek law and on some of the main issues connected with their interpretation; in fact, the lack of a category of legal experts in ancient Greece has led some scholars, especially in the past, to erroneously think that, since there was no official interpretation of the laws, the Greek (and most specifically the Athenian) trial could not guarantee justice.
After this introduction, we will read some Homeric passages in order to study the origins of the most ancient institutions of the Greeks.
We will then deal with the role of the law, also as a proof, in the Attic trial.
We will then analyze the status of citizens and the problems connected with the grant of citizenship on the strict basis of ius sanguinis.
Several lessons will be focused on laws concerning offenses and crimes: e.g., homicide, seduction (moicheia), battery, impiety (with particular reference to the trial of Socrates).
The students will be asked to actively participate in some of the lessons; further information will be given during the first lesson.
All the sources (translated in Italian) will be available online, together with a synopsis of each lesson. The course is open also to the students who cannot read ancient Greek.
Prerequisites for admission
None. Knowledge of Ancient Greek not required.
Teaching methods
frontal lessons and round-table debates
Teaching Resources
Students who attend the lessons will prepare the exam on the material published online and on their personal notes (of course, also the handbook can be useful).
Students who do not attend the lessons will prepare the exam on the handbook: L. Pepe, Atene a processo. Il diritto ateniese attraverso le orazioni giudiziarie, Zanichelli, Bologna, 2019
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students who attend the course should prepare their exam both on the slides published online and on their personal notes; they can also take a written test at the end of the course (further information during the first lessons).
Students who do not attend the course will prepare the exam on the handbook (L. Pepe, Atene a processo. Il diritto ateniese attraverso le orazioni giudiziarie, Zanichelli, Bologna, 2019) and will take an oral exam. VERY IMPORTANT: it is mandatory for the student to bring the handbook at the exam, since the questions could involve some of the translated passages quoted in the handbook itself.
Ability to express ideas with lexical property and critical approach will concur to a higher grade.
IUS/18 - ROMAN AND ANCIENT LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Pepe Laura
office hours: Thursday 10-12. Please always write an email in advance in order to get an appointment:
Sezione di Diritto Romano