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Writing Sacred Laws In Archaic And Classical Crete

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Chapter Summary

In this paper, the author takes a closer look at the writing of laws in the archaic period, and examines whether sacred laws were treated any differently from secular laws. Why sacred laws were written and displayed in certain public areas, who authorized them to be written down and publicly displayed, and who would have been the audience for them, are certain questions that are dealt with. Evidence is drawn primarily from the island of Crete, which wrote more laws than any other part of Greece in this period. Not only did sacred laws sometimes contain secular provisions but sacred matters were often treated within the context of secular laws. "Sacred law" is thus not a useless category for scholars of early Greek law, but it needs to be used with caution. No laws in archaic and classical Crete were entirely sacred.

Keywords: archaic period; Crete; Dreros; public; Sacred laws; sacrifices; temple



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