Petitions, Litigation, and Social Control in Roman Egypt

Hardcover | October 28, 2011

byBenjamin Kelly

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This book examines the contribution that petitioning and litigation made to the maintenance of the social order in Roman Egypt between 30 BC and AD 284. Through the analysis of the many hundreds of documents surviving on papyrus, especially petitions, reports of court proceedings, and letters,Kelly focuses on how the legal system achieved its formal goals (that is, the resolution of disputes through judgments), and discusses in detail the contribution made by the litigation process to informal methods of social control. With particular emphasis on the roles that this process played in the transmission of political ideologies, in the maintenance of family solidarity, and in the fostering of 'private' mechanisms of dispute resolution, the book argues that although the legal system was less than successful when judgedby its formal aims, it did have a real social impact by indirectly contributing to some of the informal mechanisms that ensured order in this province of the Roman Empire. However, arguing that, on occasion, one can also see petitioning and litigation being abused for the pursuit of feud andvengeance, Kelly also recognizes that the social impacts of petitioning and litigation were multifaceted, and in some senses even contradictory.

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This book examines the contribution that petitioning and litigation made to the maintenance of the social order in Roman Egypt between 30 BC and AD 284. Through the analysis of the many hundreds of documents surviving on papyrus, especially petitions, reports of court proceedings, and letters,Kelly focuses on how the legal system achie...

Benjamin Kelly is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at York University, Toronto. He was previously a lecturer in the History Program of the Australian National University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:448 pagesPublished:October 28, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199599610

ISBN - 13:9780199599615

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsNotes for ReadersGlossaryMaps1. Introduction2. Petitions and Social History3. Legal Control in Roman Egypt4. Who used the justice system?5. Political Ideologies in the Legal Realm6. Hierarchy and Group Solidarity7. Private Dispute Resolution and the Shadow of the Law8. Vexatious and Vexing Litigation9. ConclusionAppendix I: Petitions Involving DisputesAppendix II: Petitions without DisputesAppendix III: Reports of ProceedingsBibliographyIndex