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Civic Obligation and Individual Liberty in Ancient Athens$
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Peter Liddel

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199226580

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226580.001.0001

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The Negotiation of Obligations

The Negotiation of Obligations

(p.109) 4 The Negotiation of Obligations
Civic Obligation and Individual Liberty in Ancient Athens

Peter Liddel (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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).

Keywords:   law-courts, assembly (ecclesia), laws (nomoi), decrees (psephismata), negotiation, reciprocity, emulation, honorary decrees, lists, dedication

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