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Grammateis (secretaries) and legal procedure in ancient Athens

Grammateis (secretaries) and legal procedure in ancient Athens AbstractThe advent of writing in the Greek polis administration resulted in the appointment of officials responsible for document management. These were known as grammateis (secretaries). The need for records connected to judicial proceedings led to the involvement of secretaries in the polis legal procedure. Although there remains little evidence of this, in Athens secretarial support was certainly connected with almost every use of writing in a judicial context. Secretaries appear to have received suits, published notifications of trials and recorded fines, but their most well-attested duty is that of the reading of documents brought as evidence in the courtroom. The study of references to secretaries in a judicial context demonstrates that their duties were essential to the persons involved in the administration of justice. By keeping track of judicial documents secretaries helped the officials to keep accurate records for the sake of accountability, while the reading of legal texts enabled the Athenian citizen-judges to get to know verbatim the texts of the state laws and avoid manipulation by litigants who produced their own interpretations of a law. The purpose of this article is to present all the relevant cases of secretarial support in the justice system of Athens and to discuss the contribution made by the secretaries to the Athenian legal procedure. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Ancient History de Gruyter

Grammateis (secretaries) and legal procedure in ancient Athens

Journal of Ancient History , Volume 8 (2): 21 – Nov 27, 2020

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
2324-8114
eISSN
2324-8114
DOI
10.1515/jah-2020-0003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThe advent of writing in the Greek polis administration resulted in the appointment of officials responsible for document management. These were known as grammateis (secretaries). The need for records connected to judicial proceedings led to the involvement of secretaries in the polis legal procedure. Although there remains little evidence of this, in Athens secretarial support was certainly connected with almost every use of writing in a judicial context. Secretaries appear to have received suits, published notifications of trials and recorded fines, but their most well-attested duty is that of the reading of documents brought as evidence in the courtroom. The study of references to secretaries in a judicial context demonstrates that their duties were essential to the persons involved in the administration of justice. By keeping track of judicial documents secretaries helped the officials to keep accurate records for the sake of accountability, while the reading of legal texts enabled the Athenian citizen-judges to get to know verbatim the texts of the state laws and avoid manipulation by litigants who produced their own interpretations of a law. The purpose of this article is to present all the relevant cases of secretarial support in the justice system of Athens and to discuss the contribution made by the secretaries to the Athenian legal procedure.

Journal

Journal of Ancient Historyde Gruyter

Published: Nov 27, 2020

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