in A History of Trust in Ancient Greece

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780226405094
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226405117 | DOI:

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This chapter examines legal decision making in ancient Greece. It considers how the active, judging role of the audience in Athenian courts and assemblies has been obscured by the reduction of rhetoric to persuasion and describes how elite and ordinary Athenians negotiated their class interests through ideology in rhetorical contexts. This chapter argues that a generalized trust in the system preceded and established trust in specific speakers and explains that rhetoric constituted relationships among citizens that were abstract, impersonal, and powerful.

Keywords: legal decision making; ancient Greece; audience; Athenian courts; class interests; rhetoric; trust

Chapter.  10112 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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