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Diatheke

(1,504 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
(διαθήκη; diathḗkē). [German version] A. Meaning and essence The diatheke represents Greek law's central instrument for testate succession. The word is derived from διατίθεσθαι ( diatíthesthai): the ‘putting aside’ of items of personal possession by the testator for persons who did not belong to the family household (οἶκος, oîkos) and thus could not be legal heirs. Diatheke, somewhat fuzzily translated as ‘testament’, describes the act of disposal itself as well as the associated document. Its purpose was to order the proprietary and family affairs a…

Kakosis

(229 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (κάκωσις; kákōsis), literally ‘bad treatment’ of people requiring special assistance. In Athens there were three such groups: 1. parents, 2. orphans, 3. heiresses ( epikleros ), Aristot. Ath. Pol. 56,5. Since the persons affected were not able to defend themselves on their own, every citizen had the opportunity to call the offender to account through graphe , eisangelia or phasis without themselves risking a lawsuit. Whoever refused to support and to house their parents or grandparents (including adoptive parents), stru…

Aidesis

(89 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (αἴδεσις; aídesis). At the time of Draco (before 600 BC) a contract concluded between the dependants of an intentionally or unintentionally killed person and the person responsible for the death, probably affirmed by an oath, on ending the dispute by paying the wergild (IG I3 104.13; Demosth. 43,57), in the 4th cent. the ex parte pardon granted by the dependants of the person killed by unintentional homicide. Thür, Gerhard (Graz) Bibliography D. M. MacDowell, Athenian Homicide Law, 1963, 123 ff. A. R. W. Harrison, The Law of Athens II, 1971, 78.

Desmoterion

(438 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (δεσμωτήριον; desmōtḗrion). In Athens at the market (on location [1]) there was a prison (Dem. Or. 24,208f.) that owed its name to the fetters, δεσμά ( desmá) that were put on the prisoners usually in the form of chains and shackles. The places of detention were not safe from breakouts in other cities either. The supervisory authority, in Athens the Eleven, decided the nature of custody (in chains, permission for visits). Prisoners were always held with others and imprisonment was not imposed as punishment but to secure the accused, condemned and state debtors. The desmote…

Dikastes

(179 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (δικαστής; dikastḗs). In the Greek city states lay persons rather than professional judges were appointed to the   dikastḗrion . Dikastes is therefore best translated as ‘juror’. Any male citizen of more than 30 years of age and of blameless reputation could register in Athens as a dikastes. As an ‘identification’ he was given a small tablet that bore his name and each year he had to swear the ‘Heliastic oath’ that he would vote according to the law (Dem. Or. 24, 149-151). The dikastes was paid for the day that he was in court (  dikastikòs misthós ). Whoeve…

Enepiskepsis

(102 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (ἐνεπίσκηψις; Enepískēpsis). In Athens, when property was confiscated (  dḗmeusis ,   dēmióprata ) a third party was able to claim that a particular part of the assets belonged to him or was mortgaged to him. If he objected, by using the form of an enepiskepsis, there would be a   diadikasía between him and the person initiating the confiscation (  apographé ) in which it was determined if the state debtor ‘owed’ cession of the asset parts to the third party (Dem. Or. 49,45ff.; Hesperia 10, 1941, 14). Thür, Gerhard (Graz) Bibliography A. R. W. Harrison, The Law of Athens II…

Katachorizein

(114 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (καταχωρίζειν; katachōrízein). Generally ‘classify’, also military, in official Hellenistic language specifically ‘register, enter in a list’. Thus, for example, in the Greek motherland, simple popular decisions (esp. honours) were protected against repeal by ‘entering’ them formally among the laws. In Roman Egypt, katachorizein might describe any entry in a list, especially important being the incorporation of a copy of the document in the bibliothḗkē enktḗseōn ( Land register). Katachorizein could also signify a legal action against unknown offe…

Cheirographon

(108 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (χειρόγραφον; cheirógraphon), literally ‘handwriting’ (handwritten note). Along with the   syngraphe the most common form of private document in the Egyptian papyri. Entering the Roman world from the 3rd/2nd cents. BC onwards, the cheirographon tends towards the style of the private letter, and is not restricted to any particular type of transaction. Witnesses were a customary feature. The cheirographon would usually be in the hands of the person authorized by it. In the Roman period, the cheirographon could by δημοσίωσις ( dēmosíōsis: incorporation in an offi…

Katalysis

(183 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (κατάλυσις; katálysis). Literally the ‘dissolving’ of the constitution (τοῦ δήμου, toû dḗmou), meaning high treason, which could be persecuted by any citizen in Athens either through graphḗ or eisangelía . It is contested whether an eisangelía of this sort goes back to Solon (6th cent. BC) and was judged by the Areopagus (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 8,4). According to the council's oath transmitted in Dem. Or. 24,144, the boulḗ had the right to intervene in the katalysis. After the law on eisangelía was revoked in 411 BC (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 29,4), katalysis was regulated in det…

Prorrhesis

(120 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (πρόρρησις/ prórrhēsis, literally 'proclamation'). Prorrhesis is originally a means of blood feud against somebody accused of a bloody deed. If somebody is addressed publicly as a murderer (Homicide) by somebody who according to Draco's Law is justified in blood feud (IG I3 104,20-33; Dem. Or. 42,57), he has to stay away from the Agora and all sacred sites until the case ( phónos ). In all there were three occasions for prorrhesis: at the grave of the victim, in the Agora and by way of the basileus (C.) (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 57,2). Only the last had t…

Timetos agon

(222 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (τιμητὸς ἀγών/ timētòs agṓn, 'legal action with assessment'). In Athens every case to be decided by a dikastḗrion was either 'non-assessable' or 'assessable'. In the first case ( atímētos agṓn ), by statute a particular sanction, whether the death penalty, banishment or a fixed fine, was linked to the verdict; in the second case ( timētaì díkai ) after deciding the verdict, if it was ìaffirmed the jury had to agree again, i.e. on the extent of the punishment or on the amount of the sum adjudicated. In their 'assessment' (τίμησις/ tímēsis) the jury could only side with o…

Antigraphe, -eus

(319 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
(ἀντιγραφή, -εύς; antigraphḗ, -eús) The expression, like all litigation terms in Greek law not formulated by jurists, is imprecise [1]. It can mean: [German version] 1. Counterplea a) in the sense of a defendant's written counterplea, submitted by the defendant to the authorities responsible for the preliminary examination. He had to swear to the accuracy of the allegations contained in it right at the beginning of the ἀνάκρισις ( Anakrisis) (Poll. 8,58; Demosth. 45,46; 45,87, therefore the expression ἀντωμοσία ( Antomosi…

Menysis

(199 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (μήνυσις; mḗnysis). A ‘charge’ or ‘application’ in certain criminal proceedings The Greek polis functioned on initiatives of private citizens. In criminal law, too, the principle for accusations was considered to be 'no plaintiff, no judge'. In cases of high treason and blasphemy, which endangered the state, the Athenians nevertheless found ways of compensating for the lack of an official public prosecutor. Thus, in special cases state investigative commissioners (ζητηταί, zētētaí) were appointed and in others a reward was offered to encourage the lodging of a men…

Daneion

(318 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (δάνειον; dáneion). The  loan, limited assignment of fungible goods (in kind or money) was an everyday way of doing business throughout the regions inhabited by the Greeks. It took place between private individuals as well as in public life. The lenders were often banks or temples and the borrowers often states, which often also owed debts to private individuals (e.g. IG VII 3172: Orchomenus is indebted to Nicareta). This practise was generally known as daneion, but sometimes   chrḗsis was used; the   eranos loan is a special type. The daneion was set up with a fixed r…

Chrematistai

(100 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (Χρηματισταί; Chrēmatistaí). In the Egypt of the Ptolemies, judges delegated by the king to try fiscal and civil cases for all sectors of the population. They were probably introduced in the 2nd cent. BC. The courts had jurisdiction over an individual nome, or several in combination. In the provinces the chrematistai courts lapsed during the early part of the Roman Empire; in Alexandria they are attested into the 3rd cent. AD, with a somewhat modified range of functions. Thür, Gerhard (Graz) Bibliography H. J. Wolff, Das Justizwesen der Ptolemäer, 21970 H. A. Rupprech…

Diomosia

(281 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (Διωμοσία; Diōmosía). At least from the time of Dracon (before 600 BC) Athenians of both parties and their helpers (witnesses) were obliged to swear a solemn oath, the diomosia, to the archon basileus during the official preliminary hearings ( prodikasíai) for murder trials. The prosecutor swore (while calling upon the goddesses of revenge and other deities) to his right of prosecution at the risk of his own person, lineage, and house, and to the fact that the defendant really had committed the crime (Antiph. 6,16; Dem…

Adikema

(68 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (ἀδίκημα; adíkēma). Non-technical term for an illegal act committed intentionally on a private person (Aristot. Eth. Nic. 1135 b 20 f.; Rhet. 1374 b 8); if adikema was associated with damage to property, it led to a   blabes dike . Sometimes the unlawfully gained property is also referred to as adikema (Pl. Leg. 906d). In the papyri: marital misconduct, violent affront, peculation. Thür, Gerhard (Graz)

Arrha, Arrhabon

(468 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] A security, especially in relation to purchases. On the model of ancient oriental laws (cf. Gn 38,17), the Greek ἀρραβών ( arrhabṓn) represents a requirement to establish liability. The usual token of personal liability was a ring. Its symbolic meaning was soon accompanied by a financial function: breach of contract on the part of the giver of the arrha/arrhabon resulted in the latter's being retained by the recipient (the security functions as a forfeit); breach of contract on the part of the recipient rendered him liable to return the arrha/arrhabon or usually a mul…

Apokeryxis

(144 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (ἀποκήρυξις; apokḗryxis). In Athens legal right of inheritance of the legitimate sons was compulsory. Disinheritance was not possible. The father could, though, renounce a son during his lifetime by apokeryxis and in this way exclude him from the inheritance (Demosth. 39,39; Aristot. eth. Nic. 1163b; see also Pl. Leg. 928d-929d). A similar provision is found in the law code of Gortyn IC IV 72 col. XI 10-17. Parallel manifestations in ancient oriental legal sources (Cod. Hammurabi 168 f.; 191) cannot be taken as models. Diocletian forbids apokeryxis (Cod. Iust. 8,4…

Pharmakeia

(166 words)

Author(s): Thür, Gerhard (Graz)
[German version] (φαρμακεία; pharmakeía). The giving of a medical drug, magic potion or poison ( phármakon). In Athens, if someone personally administrated it and this resulted in a citizen's death, a δίκη φόνου ( díkē phónou, 'murder charge'; phónos ) could be brought , which was decided by the Áreios págos (Dem. Or. 23; or. 24; Aristot. Ath. Pol. 57,3). In the case of premeditated killing, the punishment was death, otherwise exile. Plato differentiates between the pharmakeia of doctors and sorcerers on the one hand and that of laymen on the other (Pl. Leg. 932e-933e).…
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