chapter  2
22 Pages

Making law grip

Inequality, injustice, and legal remedy in Solonian Attica and ancient Israel *
ByDavid Lewis

This chapter explores how different was archaic Greece from its Eastern Mediterranean neighbours by analysing social problems and legal responses to these problems in two regions of the archaic Eastern Mediterranean: Attica and Israel. Debt and enslavement for debt was a notable problem in Solon’s Attica. In one law Solon established a limit on the amount of land a single person could acquire. One of the striking features of the history of Greek law and adjudication is its progress from corruptible, elite-dominated trials of the early archaic period to the popular courts of the classical period, which were elaborately organised to prevent bribery. Faced social ills, individuals in Greece and Israel conceived some strikingly similar legal solutions, including structural innovations to the machinery of justice that were designed to improve the chances of these laws gaining grip in real-life cases.