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HorkosThe Oath in Greek Society$
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Alan Sommerstein and Judith Fletcher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781904675679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781904675679.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction

Alan H. Sommerstein

Liverpool University Press

This book explores the importance of oaths in almost all aspects of the life in ancient Greece, from politics to business and commerce, international relations, athletics, and literature. It discusses the role of oaths in interstate peace treaties and alliances, and examines the oaths that were required of magistrates and councillors in discharging their responsibilities within the polis. Part I of the book considers the nature of oaths and the functions they performed in society in the political, diplomatic, judicial/forensic, professional, and agonistic fields. Part II looks at a range of particular texts and occasions on which oaths and their breach come to the centre of attention, including the crucial thematic role of oaths in Aeschylus's Oresteia. Part III analyses the connections between Greek oath phenomena and those of other cultures such as the Near East and ancient Rome.

Keywords:   oaths, ancient Greece, politics, international relations, peace treaties, alliances, Aeschylus, Oresteia, Near East, ancient Rome

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