Ancient civilizations law and order

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Through the laws of Draco, those in debt could be made slaves – but only if they were members of the lower class. This means members of a genos (the gennetai) could not be sold as slaves, yet their hangers-on (orgeones) could.

Another result of the codification of laws by Draco – and the only part that remained part of the legal code – was the introduction of the concept of “intention to murder.” Murder could be manslaughter (either justifiable or accidental) or intentional homicide. With the new law code, Athens, as a city-state, would intervene in what were formerly family matters of blood-feuds.


  1. If anyone summons a man before the magistrate, he must go. If the man summoned does not go, let the one summoning him call the bystanders to witness and then take him by force.

  2. If he shirks or runs away, let the summoner lay hands on him.

  3. If illness or old age is the hindrance, let the summoner provide a team. He need not provide a covered carriage with a pallet unless he chooses.

  4. Let the protector of a landholder be a landholder; for one of the proletariat, let anyone that cares, be protector.

6-9. When the litigants settle their case by compromise, let the magistrates announce it. If they do not compromise, let them state each his own side of the case, in the comitium of the forum before noon. Afterwards let them talk it out together, while both are present. After noon, in case either party has failed to appear, let the magistrate pronounce judgment in favor of the one who is present. If both are present the trial may last until sunset but no later.

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