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On the individual and social levels, the distinction between free and unfree is as old as slavery, and individual or collective freedom from dues, taxes, and other obligations as old as communities with centralized government. These concepts are attested in Egyptian and Mesopotamian documents and the Hebrew Bible. Nevertheless to these civilizations—as to ancient China—the concepts of free citizens or of political freedom were unknown. Typically, near-eastern societies were characterized by a plurality of statuses ‘between slavery and freedom’ (Pollux) and ruled by autocratic and divinely sanctioned monarchs or an absolute divine law. Obedience and integration into a given order were the prime virtues; the rise and fall of empires and cities, protection from foreign enemies, or, individually, status change or protection from domestic exploitation were seen as results of divine will. Such conditions were not conducive to recognizing freedom as a political value. Despite their charter myth of liberation from Egyptian slavery, even the Hebrews (see jews) began to use freedom politically only under Hellenistic influence.


Dominic W. Rathbone

In the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, centred as they were on the Mediterranean, maritime transport was far more practical than land transport for long- and even medium-distance trade. Most ships seem to have been of medium size (around 70 tonnes burden) and to have been owned and run by a shipper who both carried goods as freight and traded on his own account. There were also many individual merchants who hired shipping as needed for their ventures. Then as now, the major expense in trading was the investment in purchasing goods; roughly, one cargo of wheat was worth as much as the ship. Hence a merchant, whether or not also a shipowner, often needed third-party finance, for which, because of the peculiar risks involved, a special type of loan was used. This was the maritime loan—nautikon daneion in Greek, nauticum faenus or mutua pecunia nautica in Latin.The maritime loan is first attested in 4th-century bce Athens, in four speeches attributed to Demosthenes, of which the most informative is the prosecution of the brother of a pair of merchants for fraudulent default on a loan (Dem.


Simon Hornblower

Neutrality, a word with no single Greek or Latin equivalent. In Greek, the idea is expressed by terms meaning e.g. ‘keeping quiet’, ‘helping neither side’. Individuals may be neutral between parties, and states between states. The first, domestic, sort of neutrality was allegedly prohibited by *Solon (Ath. pol. 8), and though possibly fiction this is not actually absurd because *Pericles (1), according to *Thucydides (2) (2. 40. 2), later expresses high Athenian expectations about civic involvement. In his analysis of faction (see stasis) at *Corcyra (3. 82. 8) Thucydides says that ‘middle people’ fell victim to both parties; this carries the idea ‘moderate’ as well as ‘neutral’. Neutrality in wars between Greek states, and even in wars between Greeks and ‘*barbarians’, was possible: Archaic *Miletus formalized its neutral status with Lydia then Persia; Argive neutrality in the *Persian Wars (see argos(1)) amounted in Herodotus' view (8.



Tim Cornell

In any discussion of police it is necessary to distinguish between the function of policing, that is, maintaining public order and enforcing the law, and the existence of a specialized agency of repression, i.e. a police force, to carry out these tasks on behalf of the state. Police forces as such, though taken for granted as a necessity, or at least a necessary evil, in modern societies, did not exist in the ancient world. They are a creation of the 18th and 19th cents., and reflect the growth of state power in the increasingly complex and bureaucratic societies of the modern industrialized world, and the extent to which mechanisms of social control have been centralized and monopolized by the state.On the other hand, ancient city-states recognized the need for publicly appointed officials to carry out functions of social regulation. For example, in Classical Athens annual boards of magistrates (*astynomoi, *agoranomoi, *sitophylakes, etc.


According to *Cicero (Ad Brut. 23. 3), it was a dictum of *Solon's that a community was held together by rewards and penalties, and the ascription seems plausible, in so far as Archaic Greek law-codes already show the city asserting its authority in laying down penalties both for universally recognized crimes and for failure to perform the duties imposed by its statutes. Cicero himself argued that the instinct to take vengeance (vindicatio) is nature's gift to man to ensure his own and his family's survival (Inv. 2. 65). Both in Greece and Rome criminal law emerged as an attempt to circumscribe and replace private revenge. Accordingly, just as prosecution in many cases fell to injured persons or their relatives, so the treatment of the convicted man was often closely related to his victims, for example in early homicide law and in matters of physical injury and *theft.



Sharon James

Only the rape of citizens was taken seriously by law. Sexual assaults on non-citizens were lesser matters. Rape of enslaved persons, a daily reality, was a crime only if committed by someone other than their owner. Rape of citizen males damaged their reputations; rape of citizen females could render them ineligible for marriage. Ancient myth features almost countless stories of rape, usually of human females by divine males. These tales were common subjects in ancient art and literature. Overwhelmingly, the victims are unmarried girls, who may suffer brutal treatment afterward and frequently bear miraculous offspring, some of whom establish cities (e.g., Romulus and Remus). Rape by human men is rarer in myth; rape of a wife causes massive militarized response (e.g., Helen of Troy, Lucretia). War-rape and post-war rape were standard practice around the Mediterranean.

Rape in antiquity was a matter of social and civic class. As a crime, it was understood as happening only to citizens: sexual assault of non-citizens was not a concern of law. The law took rape of citizens very seriously. Rape of citizen girls and women was a violation against the men who were responsible for them—father, husband, brother, guardian—but female victims would have experienced it as a personal violation first, rather than damage to their guardian’s ownership of their sexuality.


Jakob Aall Ottesen Larsen and Simon Hornblower

These, like much other international law (see law, international), depended on custom and showed a constant conflict between the higher standards of optimistic theory and the harsher measures permitted by actual usage, while passion and expediency frequently caused the most fundamental rules to be violated. Thus, the temptation to profit from a surprise at times led to the opening of hostilities without a declaration of war. Probably the law most generally observed was that of the sanctity of *heralds, for heralds were essential to communications between belligerents. Nor did Greeks frequently refuse a defeated army a truce for burying its dead, for the request of such a truce meant an admission of defeat and was usually followed by retreat. Beyond this there were few restraints except humanitarian considerations and the universal condemnation of excessive harshness: Thucydides’ indignation at the massacre at Boeotian Mycalessus seems partly prompted by the victims’ status as (Greek) non-combatants: 7. 29–30. Plundering and the destruction of crops and property were legitimate, and were carried on both by regular armies and fleets, and by informal raiding-parties and privateers, and even the sanctity of temples was not always respected. Prisoners, if not protected by special terms of surrender, were at the mercy of their captors, who could execute them or sell them into *slavery (see booty).