Women and Law in Classical Greece

Women and Law in Classical Greece

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Based on a sophisticated reading of legal evidence, this book offers a balanced assessment of the status of women in classical Greece. Raphael Sealey analyzes the rights of women in marriage, in the control of property, and in questions of inheritance. He advances the theory that the legal disabilities of Greek women occurred because they were prohibited from bearing arms. Sealey demonstrates that, with some local differences, there was a general uniformity in the legal treatment of women in the Greek cities. For Athens, the law of the family has been preserved in some detail in the scrupulous records of speeches delivered in lawsuits. These records show that Athenian women could testify, own property, and be tried for crime, but a male guardian had to administer their property and represent them at law. Gortyn allowed relatively more independence to the female than did Athens, and in Sparta, although women were allowed to have more than one husband, the laws were similar to those of Athens. Sealey's subsequent comparison of the law of these cities with Roman law throws into relief the common concepts and aims of Greek law of the family. Originally published in 1990. A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 216 pages
  • 149.6 x 228.9 x 16.5mm | 317.52g
  • The University of North Carolina Press
  • Chapel Hill, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • 1st New edition
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0807842621
  • 9780807842621
  • 2,001,581

Review quote

"Raphael Sealey understands that it is necessary to read between the lines for the unstated assumptions that explain why women were treated at times like children, but at other times as responsible adults. His methodology should provide a model for further studies of ancient Greek law. His conclusion, though perhaps surprising, is surely valid: that although never the equal of men, women were protected by law, and cared for. Sealey's book should become a standard reference work on the subject."--Mary R. Lefkowitz, Wellesley Collegeshow more

About Raphael Sealey

Raphael Sealey is professor of history at the University of California at Berkeley. His books include The Athenian Republic: Democracy or the Rule of Law?.show more