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A topic fundamental to understanding the ancient world

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The Law of Ancient Athens contains the principal literary and epigraphical sources, in English, for Athenian law in the Archaic and Classical periods, from the first known historical trial (late seventh century) to the fall of the democracy in 322 BCE.

This accessible and important volume is designed for teachers, students, and general readers interested in the ancient Greek world, the history of law, and the history of democracy, an Athenian invention during this period. Offering a comprehensive treatment of Athenian law, it assumes no prior knowledge of the subject and is organized in user-friendly fashion, progressing from the person to the family to property and obligations to the gods and to the state. David D. Phillips has translated all sources into English, and he has added significant introductory and explanatory material.

Topics covered in the book include homicide and wounding; theft; marriage, children, and inheritance; citizenship; contracts and commerce; impiety; treason and other offenses against the state; and sexual offenses including rape and prostitution. The volume’s unique feature is its presentation of the actual primary sources for Athenian laws, with many key or disputed terms rendered in transliterated Greek. The translated sources, together with the topical introductions, notes, and references, will facilitate both research in the field and the teaching of increasingly popular courses on Athenian law and law in the ancient world.

David D. Phillips is Professor of History, University of California, Los Angeles. His previous books include Athenian Political Oratory: 16 Key Speeches and Avengers of Blood: Homicide in Athenian Law and Custom from Draco to Demosthenes.

"Alert and intelligent."
The Times Literary Supplement


"This book is designed to fill a specific gap in the available literature by making Athenian law available, in English, in one resource. The author has added a great deal of value to the original sources by collecting them, editing them, and carefully citing and annotating each text. This book was clearly drafted with other academics in mind. It would be a valuable resource in an academic law library or general academic library."
--Law Library Journal

- Charles D. Wilson

¨Phillips has brought together an excellent collection of Athenian law sources. The introductions to each unit are informative, clear, and helpful for the uninitiated reader, while specialists might find it practically useful to have all the primary sources neatly organized in one place. This is a useful volume put together with careful attention to the detail, balanced judgment and clarity.¨
--Polis, The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought

- Polis

“Phillips accomplishes his goal of making available in one work a very large number of original sources relevant to the study of Athenian law. I personally am very glad to have it and will use it as a reference work where I can quickly find all the relevant passages for a particular matter gathered together under one cover.”
 --Journal of Hellenic Studies

- Journal of Hellenic Studies