This book offers the first attempt at understanding interpersonal
violence in ancient Athens. While the archaic desire for revenge
persisted into the classical period, it was channeled by the civil
discourse of the democracy. Performances such as the staging of
trials and comedies ritually defined the meaning of violence and
its appropriate application. Speeches and curse tablets not only
spoke about violence, but also exacted it, deriving its legitimate
use from a democratic principle, the communal decision of the human
jurors in the first case and the underworld gods in the second.
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