The public charge for hubris against slaves: The honour of the victim and the honour of the hubristēs

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This article discusses the rationale and the implications of the inclusion of slaves as victims of punishable hubris in the law about the graphē hubreōs. It argues that hubris against slaves was a punishable offence in Athens not because slaves had institutionally and legally recognized rights or a modicum of honour, but rather because it was hubris, as a disposition to overstep and overestimate one's claims to honour (although manifested in concrete acts), that was deemed unacceptable. The article also investigates the implications of the law for our understanding of the connectedness of ‘legal’ and allegedly ‘extra-legal’ spaces, as well as advocating an understanding of honour that is not necessarily competitive and zero-sum, but also cooperative and aimed at securing smooth social interaction in all spheres of social life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-126
JournalJournal of Hellenic Studies
Early online date28 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • hubris
  • honour
  • slavery
  • Athenian law


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