Public Lecture on Ancient Greek Law April 10

There has been a long-running debate about the extent to which the ideal of the rule of law determined the decisions of the courts of democratic Athens.

On Monday, April 10, Professor Sara Forsdyke of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, will present “Rule of law vs. equity in the lawcourts of classical Athens.” She will attempt to resolve the debate by breaking down the concept of the rule of law into its central components and then demonstrating that the Athenians ascribed to some but not other components of this ideal.

Forsdyke says, most importantly, she will establish that the principle of legal certainty—a central component of most modern concepts of the rule of law—was significantly undermined by the value the Athenians placed on considerations of equity.

Forsdyke is the Classical Studies department chair at University of Michigan, where her areas of research include Greek historiography, Athenian democracy, Greek law, social and cultural history and ancient slavery.

In her 2012 book Slaves Tell Tales and Other Episodes in the Politics of Popular Culture in Ancient Greece, Forsdyke argues the informal social practices such as festival revelry, oral storytelling and popular forms of justice played a vital role in the regulation of the political order in ancient Greek city-states.

Forsdyke received her PhD from Princeton University in 1997.

The free, public lecture is sponsored by the Graduate Committee on the Arts and Humanities, Department of Classics, and the Center for Western Civilization, Thought and Policy.
(source: University of Colorado)