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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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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Could a Greek Oath Guarantee a Claim Right?

Could a Greek Oath Guarantee a Claim Right?

Oaths, Contracts and the Structure of Obligation in Classical Athens

(p.60) 5 Could a Greek Oath Guarantee a Claim Right?

David Carter

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines whether an oath in classical Athens, like a modern contract, guaranteed a ‘claim right’ – in other words, whether it imposed on the swearer a duty to act in a certain way towards another party. It considers how an oath could reinforce a claim right by making a breach of it an offence, not only against the other party but also against the gods, and begins by discussing claim-right arguments based on alleged breach of contract. The chapter cites examples in Greek literature where a contractual obligation has allegedly not been met, and also describes a procedure known as the dikē emporikē, which was connected with the practice of maritime loans, and its relation to Athenian law. Finally, it analyses the agon from Euripides's play Phoenissae.

Keywords:   oath, Athens, contract, claim right, breach of contract, dikē emporikē, law, agon, Euripides, contractual obligation

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