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With that meaning we find in the ancient tragedies the idea of justice or of natural law.

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A very crucial example is Antigone by Sophokles, where Antigone claims that natural law is the one she obeys in and thus she has to disobey state law positive law , that is the order of Kreon not to bury her brother. The sophists have also made the distinction between positive and natural law and they often criticized positive law as not being consistent with the idea of justice.

Aristotle also mentions this distinction in the Ethica Nikomaheia. Mainly Cicero and Seneca also developed the idea of natural law in the Roman law. In Plato Apology , Socrates drinks the conium poison believing in obedience to the laws of the city, even though he is wrongly accused.


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He explicitly recognizes that in Kriton. Thus, Plato may be seen as supporting a positive law attitude. Stoics on the other hand, are seen as the first strong supporters of natural law with their advanced theory on nature.

Rule of law

The ancient Greeks also tried to develop the law but never went as far as to create a legal science. There are notions of the law and many ancient Greek texts mention the law, like:. All these works prove both a legal culture and a legal way of thinking. The contradiction between Athens and Sparta is well known. In essence it is a contradiction between democracy and aristocracy and it eventually led to the Peloponnesian war. Because of the variety of nations, there existed an analogous variety of legal systems that prevents the unity of law. A first form of Conflict of Laws was introduced at the time.

During the Hellenistic era, the structure of the city-state of the classic antiquity, uniting people around the city community, is progressively abandoned.

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Coexistence with other national groups is encouraged in the years of Alexander the Great. In any case, the Romans and not the Greeks are considered to be the ones who created the legal science. The history of the Roman Law starts at the time written laws were established.

They disciplined legal thought and were clearly oriented towards legal norms, and thus they created the legal science and also were considered to be the greater lawyers in the history of humanity. The history of the Roman law starts from the time law became written. Regarding Roman Law the following can be observed:. The legal science also continues in the Eastern Roman Empire Byzantium.

When the emperor Justinian came to the throne AC he thought that the entire legislation should be codified. Thus, for the first time in history one can see the process of codification. A committee with Trivonianus , renowned law expert of his time, was in charge of the project, which is known today as corpus juris civilis or the Ioustinianian Code. During the Middle Ages in Europe feudalism creates new forms of legal relationships and balances affected to a large extent by the competence of the Catholic Church.

The circumstances of political decentralization and the creation of small states reintroduce customary law, which was easier to implement due to circumstances. The last codification of the Byzantine Empire law took place in B. During and after the 15 th century with the inventions and the discovery of the new lands and the development of commerce, the Roman law is introduced once more, and the corpus juris civilis is studied again. The Ottoman Empire was a very diverse society. It was characterized by the coexistence of populations with different nationalities and religions.

The majority of Greek populations became part of the Empire after with the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed II, also known as the Conqueror. Overall, the Ottoman Empire was a theocratic state. It was governed by Muslims according to Islamic Law. But the Ottoman society consisted of both Muslim and non-Muslim populations, a structure similar to a mosaic pattern. The governance form within the Empire was based on the millet.

The millet system originally was used only to reference to Muslim populations, but then extended to non-Muslim ones.

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It allowed for a relatively peaceful coexistence of different nationalities and religious groups. The non-Muslim communities enjoyed a form of political autonomy. It was highly fragmented, and based on ecclesiastical hierarchy. The leaders of each religious group had a jurisdiction in deciding religious, educational and charitable issues for their own population.

At the same time, religious leaders decided matters of personal and family status, such as marriage, divorce, adoption and inheritance. They were also assigned with collecting taxes and delivering them to the Ottomans.

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In essence, the structure of the Ottoman Empire combined the nomadic way of life, Eastern Orthodox administration functions and the Islamic spirit. The Islam provided with a template of communal organization based on religious autonomy. This system was inherited from the successor-states of the Arab Caliphate. Thus, they were entitled to protection and tolerance, as well as the opportunity to administer their own affairs as long as they were obedient and paid taxes.

On a more practical level, this allowed the coexistence of numerous minorities without serious problems, but it also enabled the use of the skills of these minority populations and the effective collection of taxes. Mehmed II according to some sources proclaimed the favorable terms of the Greek millet very early, immediately after the conquest of Constantinople. Thus, ecclesiastical tribunals continued to work. The system lasted until the creation of the modern Greek State in Within time, the Ottoman Empire evolved to what was seen as an example of a pre-modern religious pluralism, and the millet system contributed to the maintenance of pluralism.

It allowed for the functioning of a patch-work-like sociopolitical order, where each major religious community enjoyed a certain form of legal and cultural autonomy. The family, rather than the territory was the fundamental unit of organization. Religion and nationality were difficult to separate. The Ottoman state was the super state, and the millets could have been a form of legal sub- states. It was assigned mainly a form of policing function, protecting its subject from internal conflicts and external enemies. The Eastern Orthodox Church continued to exist and function and was identified with the Roum nationality that is, the Byzantine Greek nationality that later developed to become the Greek nationality.

Greek was also the main language spoken among Greeks, since each millet had the legal right to use its own language.

Overall, they were able to maintain their identity. The head of the millet was the Orthodox Patriarch and was delegated political power from the Sublime Porte. His election required formal recognition from the Porte.

A grand council of the Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church was under his headship. It appeared that the laws of the Greek millet had their origins in older practices and customs, dating to the Byzantine era. The Greek community dealt with the problems of its members through the Council and its head and other subdivisions of administration within the millet.

In addition to the legal institutions, dealing with marriage, divorce, inheritance, and other personal civil affairs, they developed their own educational and cultural institutions.


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A very important aspect was that of the right to maintain independent courts for religious and personal matters. Judgments of these courts were enforced as forming part of the Ottoman administrative decisions. The head of the millet, through smaller subdivisions collected taxes and rendered them to the Sultan. An important source of information for records of transactions among Greek populations at the time were also Muslim religious courts sijillat or sicillat.