Homicide Trials in Classical Athens

Posted: 24 Sep 2008

Date Written: September 23, 2008

Abstract

Homicide trials in Classical Athens had an interesting and unique feature. After the initial arguments and evidence was presented to the judges the defendant was given the option to go into a self-imposed exile for life losing all protections, political rights, and wealth. If the defendant did not go into exile, then the trial continued with additional arguments and evidence presented by both parties. If the judges voted to convict the defendant, then the sanction of death was imposed. Given the limited set of feasible sanctions available to the Athenians it is argued that this institution is rather effective as it separates some of the guilty from the innocent. Consequently, fewer innocent are convicted and more guilty are punished.

Keywords: Classical Athens, exile, homicide, jury decisionmaking, sanction

JEL Classification: K4, K12

Suggested Citation

McCannon, Bryan C., Homicide Trials in Classical Athens (September 23, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1272642

Bryan C. McCannon (Contact Author)

Illinois Wesleyan University ( email )

P.O. Box 2900
Bloomington, IL 61702-2900
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/bryancmccannon

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