University of Michigan
Department of Classical Studies
Classical Civilization 120, Section 001
First Year Seminar
The "Smell of Litigation" in Classical Athens
Semester: Winter 2002
Class time and location: MWF 12-1, 3409 MH
Instructor: Prof. Arthur Verhoogt
Office: 2124 Angell Hall
Tel.: 936 6101
Office hours: Monday 1-3 and by appointment
C. Carey, Trials from Classical Athens (Routledge 1997: ISBN 041510751X [Paperback])
Steven Johnstone, Disputes and Democracy. The consequences of Litigation in Ancient Athens (University of Texas Press, 1999).
Additional readings will be provided periodically.
Classical Athens has often been called a litigious society. Every citizen could litigate another citizen and argue his case before a court of fellow citizens. A number of speeches arguing for or against a case have survived. Most of them were written by ancient speech writers who could be hired to argue a case for you. Among the most important of these are Lysias, Demosthenes and Isocrates. As a rule, these speeches give only one side of the proceedings; the actual litigation or defense having been lost in the course of the centuries.
During this course, students will be introduced to the litigation procedures in the Athens of the fifth and fourth centuries BC. With the help of texts in translation actual speeches will be read. As a rule, these texts give only one side of the picture. We either have the person litigating, or the person defending himself against litigation.
Attendance and grading policy
Each participant is required to read the scheduled readings in advance of the class. On the first day of a case, s/he should submit a one page (and no more) summary of the ancient text, detailing what exactly the ancient text is arguing and how.
In addition, two students will form a team and prepare a contra argumentation to the reading. They should submit a written copy of their text to the group on the first session of the week. They will illustrate their case during the second session, at which time questions may be asked and critique may be given. The remainder of the group should prepare a verdict on the basis of the ancient and the modern text and provide arguments (one page maximum). The verdicts will be discussed during the Friday sessions.
Grading is based upon class participation (30%), the weekly assignments (15% each) and the argument (40%).
Schedule of weekly topics and readings
Week 1 Ending Jan. 11
Classical Athens: an introduction
S. Hornblower, The Greek World 479-323 BC. Revised Edition (Routledge 1991), Chapters 3 (Athens imposes her will); 11 (Athens); 12 (The Peloponnesian War); and 13 (The Effects of the Peloponnesian War).
Week 2 Ending Jan. 18
The litigation process in classical Athens
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 1-25.
Steven Johnstone, Disputes and Democracy. The consequences of Litigation in Ancient Athens (1999).
Week 3 Ending Jan. 25
Case I: On the killing of Eratosthenes (Lysias 1)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 26-36.
Ruth Scodel, Meditations on Lysias 1 and Athenian Adultery EL (1998).
Week 4 Ending Feb. 1
Case II: On the killing of Herodes (Antiphon 5)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 42-62.
Week 5 Ending Feb. 8
Case III: Against Konon for battery (Demosthenes 54)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 84-97.
Week 6 Ending Feb. 15
Case IV: On the estate of Pyrrhos (Isaios 3)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 109-127.
Week 7 Ending Feb. 22
Case V: Reply to Lakritos' special plea (Demosthenes 35)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 150-163.
Spring break (Feb. 23 March 3)
Week 8 Ending Mar. 8
Case VI: Against Neaira (Demosthenes 59)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp.180-212.
Lin Foxhall, 'The Law and the Lady: Women and Legal Proceedings in Classical Athens', in: Greek Law in its Political Setting: Justifications not Justice, pp.133-152.
Week 9 Ending Mar. 15
Case VII: Against Pantainetos (Demosthenes 37)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 163-180.
Week 10 Ending Mar. 22
Case VIII: Against Theomnestos (Lysias 10)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 233-240.
Week 11 Ending Mar. 29
Case IX: Against the Stepmother (Antiphon 1)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 36-42.
Week 12 Ending April 5
Case X: Reply to Simon (Lysias 3)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 75-84.
W.V. Harris, 'Lysias III and Athenian beliefs about revenge', Classical Quarterly NS 47 (1997), 363-366.
Week 13 Ending April 12
Case XI: Reply to Euboulides (Demosthenes 57)
Trials from Classical Athens, pp. 212-232.
Week 14 Ending April 17
All assignments are due on the last day of class: WEDNESDAY APRIL 17.