Soon after he became archon basileus – the chief leader – of Athens in 594 BCE, Solon famously made hybris a crime that attracts the severest penalty. The readings we did in this module confirm that hybris, like tyranny, was considered to be the opposite of the lawful character and incompatible with life in common under laws. But a close analysis of these same readings also reveals something else: the punishment of hybris may also be hybristic. That is, a close reading of the texts suggests that though it is fair to say that hybris is the opposite of lawfulness, it may also be fair to say that hybris is the only law.
Drawing on the readings of this module, write an essay on the relationship between hybris and law in classical Athens. What does it mean to defend the law against hybris?
You are asked to give roughly equal weight in your essay to each of the three reading assignments in this module:
Speeches from Athenian law (at least one speech: ON THE DEATH
OF ERATOSTHENES, AGAINST
CONON or AGAINST LOCHITES)
Aeschylus I (at least one of the plays: Agamemnon or The Libation Bearers)
Aeschylus II (The Furies).
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