CLS 150-01


  • large juries of 201 to 2500; no judges, no lawyers (speechwriters)
  • we know of a number of different courts but not sure where they met or if they had specific structures/places
  • references to courts meeting in stoas
  • some cases required open-air location (to avoid ritual pollution)
  • juries selected by lot; once selected kept apart to avoid bribery
  • ID tags for jurymen, ballots, selection machines, water clocks, sealable containers for documents all found in Agora
  • courts held outside Agora: Areopagus, near Peiraeus, S. of Acropolis bu the Illissos
  • Athens: status, role and rights of women

  • Athens male-oriented, dominated
  • sources:literary all by males; legal speeches, drama, vase-paintings, sculpture
  • Range of classes: rich, poor, citizen, slave, metic (resident alien)
  • chief duty for citizen woman: produce legitimate male heir)s_) for oikos = family/household; plural = oikoi = citizenry of state; interests of family and state coincide – had to be legitimately born to be citizen, so keep oikoi going
  • citizen women ideally kept in seclusion to avoid adultery: legitimate descent key
  • non-citizen: prostitution legal, from harbor brothel to high-class geisha-like courtesans
  • we have courtesans for pleasure, concubines to perform domestic chores, wives to bear legitimate children and be faithful guardians of our homes.” 4th century court speech

  • (various vase paintings)
  • Peisistratus – fountain houses
  • Marriage: dowries

  • citizen woman always legal ward of male relative, never had independent status
  • father had to provide dowry for every (decent looking) daughter which had to stay intact (wife supported on interest, 18% per annum) and be returned if divorced; no dowry, no legal marriage
  • family w/o male heir: daughter attached to property (epikleros) and would go to her husband, then to her sons — keeping property in family; or nearest male relative had to marry her, first to brothers of deceased, then to sons of brothers: goal always was keep property in family
  • competition for wealthy heiresses: some men ditched wives (providing dowries) to remarry heiress. widow w/o son returned to original guardian
  • Marriage ceremony; divorce

  • ideal age for girl: c. 14 and c. 30 for man (life expectancy short: 36w/45m)
  • most serious vow was between male guardian & groom
  • ceremony NOT focused on couple
  • illegal for full siblings to marry; those w/same father but different mother could marry; epikleros rules encouraged inbreeding
  • female seen as less important in producint children: merely field which received the all-important seed of the male
  • 451BC law: to be citizen both parents must be citizens; aristocratic v. democratic
  • divorce simple: by mutual consent or by either spouse; husband sent wife back to her family or wife got male relative to bring case before archon. No stigma attached. Kids stayed with father.
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