The Negotiation of Obligations
This chapter investigates the negotiation of obligations in the law-courts, assembly (ecclesia) and Athenian public writing and the records of this provided by Attic oratory and epigraphy of the 4th century. Prescriptive statutes (laws (nomoi) and (non-honorary) decrees (psephismata)) and the legal procedures of the Athenians provided the bases of some obligations (4.1.1). Additionally, there was a wide range of values used in the grounding of obligations: piety and adherence to oath, values related to sharing, reciprocity, consensual contribution and the emulation of mythological and historical precedent (4.1.3-8). Forms of argumentation based on ideas such as amplification, evocation of pity and imagery, and oratorical fiat were also extensively employed (4.1.9-11). The Athenians encouraged the competition in the fulfilment of obligations through publication of honorary decrees and lists (4.2-3). Finally, this chapter considers the Athenian dedicatory habit as a popular response to the city’s encouragement of obligations and euergetic behaviour (4.4).
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