Rhetoric and the Law of Draco

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Trials for murder and manslaughter in ancient Athens are preserved in a singularly full and revealing record. The earliest surviving speeches were written for such proceedings, and the laws governing such trials - laws that tradition ascribes to Draco himself - also survive in large part. These documents bear witness to the birth of the jury trial and of democratic rhetoric. This book, the first study of its kind, offers a systematic interpretation of Draco's law and the legal reasoning that grew out of it. The author outlines the historical development (7th to 4th centuries BCE), and then analyses the surviving speeches to unravel the underlying issues and practical consequences.