Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Ancient Athenian Maritime Courts

Ancient Athenian Maritime Courts

Edward E. Cohen
Copyright Date: 1973
Pages: 246
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Ancient Athenian Maritime Courts
    Book Description:

    Athenian power and prosperity in the fourth century B.C. was based largely on commerce. The complex litigation arising from commercial activities was heard in special maritime courts,dikai emporikai, the subject of this monograph. Using both ancient and secondary sources, Edward E. Cohen has pieced together the evolution of these courts and has explored their procedure and jurisdiction. He successfully treats the much-discussed problem of why they were termed "monthly," and makes it clear that "supranationality" was a feature of all Hellenic maritime law. He shows conclusively that their jurisdiction was limitedratione rerum, notratione personarum, because a legally defined "commercial class" did not exist in Athens at this time.

    Classicists and lawyers alike will find this a fascinating study. It not only contributes to our understanding of the Athens of Plato, Aristotle, and Demosthenes, but also points out that certain principles of Athenian maritime law are still imbedded in the modern international law of maritime commerce.

    Originally published in 1973.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6781-3
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-2)
    (pp. 3-95)

    Greek law failed of fruition. It was Roman legal science that could judge “every national law, with the exception of our own, disordered and almost absurd.”¹ Influenced by Greek philosophy, responsive to the challenge of vast empire, the Roman jurists developed a unique law of objective and humane magnificence. When in the sixth century A.D. Greek-speaking lawyers at Constantinople codified their law, it was Roman law written in Latin that became the world-influencing Corpus Iuris Civilis.² The classical legal heritage revived by the Glossators and Commentators of medieval and renaissance Western Europe was Roman. The Byzantine law that took root...

    (pp. 96-157)

    The positive law of Athens is, for us, more or less probable uncertainty. Definition of terms, discussion of conditions, analysis of procedure, all must be attempted with too much doubt and perhaps insufficient hesitation to restore an Athenian legal situation that may never have existed.²

    Thus in the study of the scope of thedikai emporikai,there has been scholarly concern for the precise determinant of admissibility to these courts,ratione personarumorret,but too little attention to the extent to which the Athenians themselves made such legal differentiations. In a system where equity was integral, and the εύθεîα...

    (pp. 158-198)

    Our concern in the previous pages has been with the accurate description of the commercial maritime courts, how they functioned and in what areas they held juridical responsibility. The picture thus presented is in one important respect misleading: cumulatively it tends to appear static. In certain particulars, to be sure, as with theemmēnoi dikaiand theparagraphē,it has been necessary to pause and delineate chronological stages. Now it is time to consider the overall development of thedikai emporikai.

    Unfortunately the nature of the evidence for the commercial maritime courts tends to distort the chronological development. The evidence...

  8. Index Locorum
    (pp. 199-207)
  9. General Index
    (pp. 208-224)
  10. Greek Index
    (pp. 225-233)