By Alan H. Sommerstein, Isabelle C. Torrance
The oath used to be an establishment of primary significance throughout a variety of social interactions in the course of the old Greek international, creating a an important contribution to social balance and concord; but there was no complete, devoted scholarly learn of the topic for over a century. This quantity of a two-volume research explores the character of oaths as Greeks perceived it, the ways that they have been used (and occasionally abused) in Greek existence and literature, and their inherent binding power.
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Additional resources for Oaths and Swearing in Ancient Greece (Beitrage Zur Altertumskunde)
For the role of Zeus Horkios cf. Eur. Hipp. 1025 and Soph. Phil. 1324. g. ἀδμήτα (Artemis: Soph. El. 1239‒42; Athena: Ar. Knights 767‒8), σεμνὴ ... Διὸς κόρη (Artemis: Eur. Hipp. 86), or φίλη (Demeter: Antiphanes fr. 26). Yet, Euripides’ plays reveal a marked preference for more “vengeful” aspects of the gods, and this influences the perception of divine punishment upon the oath-taker. The “archer goddess” (τοξόδαμνος) Artemis is called upon by Hippolytus to witness that he is acquitting his father of his murder (Eur.
Therefore, although the explicit self-curse is not as frequently raised as the other parts of the dicasts’ oath, it is still employed by the speaker as a “secure” means of applying pressure upon the judges. 2 Litigants’ explicit self-cursing In contrast to the dicasts’ explicit self-curse, which is found only in ordinary trials, self-cursing by litigants is attested exclusively in homicide trials (see S&B 113‒15). Its special position in the oath-taking by both litigants before the proceedings (diōmosia) and, further, by the winner at the end of the trial,125 has attracted attention especially because of its combination with an elaborate ritual.
Knights 832‒5, Clouds 1255, Lys. 530‒1; Eur. Or. 1146‒7), and three times θάνοιμι (Ar. Eccl. 977; Eur. Alc. 1096, IA 1006‒7). 3 The explicit self-curse in Greek drama 31 Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, first Creon uses this form of cursing as he attempts to rebuff Oedipus’ charge of political conspiracy (OT 644‒5): May I not prosper but may I die accursed, if I have done to you any of the things you accuse me! 95 When in turn they find themselves accused of planning the king’s exile and death (658‒9), they reply with a much more emphatic self-curse than that used by Creon (OT 662‒4): No, by the foremost of the gods, the Sun!