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Title: Contracts in Classical Athens
Author: Brown, Jennifer Lesley Brown
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 8889
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2008
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This dissertation looks at the nature, role, use and evolution of contracts in classical Athens, the legal provisions relating to their use and the remedies, both formal and informal in the case of non-compliance. It begins by examining and evaluating the evidence available to support the study. Chapter 2 then establishes that the concept of contractual agreements was known to the Athenians and used in a variety of fields. Via a comparison with other legal systems and the use of oratory it identifies the key criteria that define an Athenian view of a contract. In Chapter 3, the laws relating to contracts and their operation are drawn together: we note the absence of caveats and prescription, and the special procedures for maritime contracts. An examination of the language and structure of contracts (Chapter 4) reveals a lack of technical language and a high degree of convergence between contracts for differing purposes, concluding that contracts were normal in every day life. Chapter 5 looks at the capacity of individuals to enter contracts, the differences between theory and practice and whether the modem concept of agency operated in practice in such circumstances, even if not defined as such by the Athenians themselves. The evolution of written contracts and the reasons for using written or unwritten contracts are examined in Chapter 6, Chapter 7 discussing the security and storage needs of written documents. The final chapter (8) examines sanctions for breach of contract. These encompass the standard legal methods and informal sanctions which require no recourse to law: the latter act as forces for compliance, drawing on the bonds that bind together 'closed' societies whose trading existence depends on a high degree of trust and integrity. The thesis concludes by drawing together the findings and suggesting areas for further study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available