Early Greek Legal Thought

  • Michael Gagarin
  • Paul Woodruff


To write about early Greek legal thought requires, first, some consideration of what this expression might have meant at the time. “Legal philosophy” in the modern sense did not exist before Plato, but “legal thought,” in the sense of thinking about law, undoubtedly did. We find various reflections on law explicitly or implicitly in the writings of many who are now classified separately as poets, philosophers, sophists, or historians, but whom the Greeks would have grouped together under the term sophoi—“wise men.” In thinking about law, however, the Greeks differed considerably from us in their basic construction of the subject.


Legal System Legal Process Fourth Century Social Contract Theory Seventh Century 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Gagarin
    • 1
  • Paul Woodruff
    • 1
  1. 1.Social Philosophy and Policy FoundationBowling GreenUSA

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