Presentation on theme: "Athenian Homicide Law. The Laws of the Greek Cities Until the time of Alexander (336 BC), the Greek world was fragmented into city states. Each of them."— Presentation transcript:
The Laws of the Greek Cities Until the time of Alexander (336 BC), the Greek world was fragmented into city states. Each of them was independent, and had its own government, political institutions and legal system. The legal systems of the Greek city-states could be quite different (although sometimes they did have things in common). The legal system of Gortyn (Crete) is preserved in an inscription, while the legal system of Athens is fairly well known to us from a large number of sources, including inscriptions, the Attic Orators, the Aristotelian Athenian Constitution and other literary sources.
Homicide Laws Homicide laws differ from mainstream legislation in that they are linked to a religious dis a crime against the gods, as much as it is a secular offence. The religious dimension sets apart homicide laws and law-courts, and is responsible for several striking peculiarities in Athenian imension. Homicide legal procedure Homicide cases were not tried in regular courts by regular jurors, but are tried in special courts. There were five different homicide courts. Link to A. Boegehold: The Law Courts of Athens http://www.scribd.com/doc/51660963/Lawcourts-of-Athenian- Sites
The Areopagos Council The most ancient and venerable court in Athens, according to myth established by Athena during the trial of Orestes for the murder of his mother Clytaimestra (Aeschylus, Eumenides ). In reality, this was the old Council of Athens, in early times an aristocratic body with extensive responsibilities in public life. Most of its authority was transferred to more democratic bodies after 462, but it kept is responsibility as a homicide court. It consisted of former magistrates (archons), after their year in office came to an end, who served in the Council for life\ It tried cases of deliberate homicide and only imposed the death penalty upon the guilty. As a court it had a formidable reputation for fairness and justice.
Other courts The Palladium (51 ephetai) tried accidental homicide cases, or murders of aliens and slaves. It could impose exile or a fine as a penalty The Delphinium (51 ephetai) tried cases of justified homicide, and could impose the death penalty, if the defendant was found guilty Phreatto (51 ephetai) tried cases by the seaside for individuals accused of murder who wanted to return to Attica Prytaneion (four tribal kings): tried inanimate objects who killed someone, and cast them out of Attica to avoid religious pollution.
Peculiarities of Athenian Homicide procedures Religious dimension included oaths and curses Litigants were asked to stay close to the point (but this has been recently disputed by A. Wolpert). Each side delivered two speeches. The defendant could walk away into exile after the first set of speeches. The process began with 3 proclamations by the king-archon (basileus), asking the suspected killer to refrain from public places and temples, so that he would not pollute those who shared the same roof with him. Homicide courts tried cases in the open air. Dropping a homicide case after an out-of-court settlement between the two parties involved, ended the religious pollution too.