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Death on a Road (Dem. 23.53)

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Scholarly consensus holds that a law quoted in Demosthenes (23.53) permitted one to kill a highway robber who had lain in ambush and attacked one on a road. But the relevant phrase (εν οδω καελων) says nothing explicit about ambush. Modern interpretation derives from Harpocration and other ancient authorities. It is argued here that they were mistaken and that the phrase 'εν οδω καελων' referred to those who inadvertently killed a fellow traveler while 'overtaking on a road.' The new interpretation may offer another way to think about the encounter between Oedipus and Laius.
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Keywords: ATHENS; HARPOCRATION; HOMICIDE; LAW; ROAD; ROBBER

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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  • Historia, first published in 1952 by Karl Friedrich Stroheker and Gerold Walser is an international, peer-reviewed journal on Greek and Roman antiquity. Articles are in English, German, French and Italian. It features original articles on Greek history, the Roman Republic and Empire as well as late antiquity. It covers all aspects of political, economic, religious and social life and deals with legal, archaeological, numismatic and epigraphical questions.
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