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The Laws of Solon: A New Edition with…

The Laws of Solon: A New Edition with Introduction, Translation and…

by Delfim F. Leão, P.J. Rhodes

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This book is cause for celebration. Notwithstanding the complexity of his many source traditions, Solon is our best attested historical figure from archaic Greece, as sophos, poet, statesman, lawgiver, and the subject of a biography by Plutarch. Before Leão and Rhodes, those interested in Solon the lawgiver necessarily used E. Ruschenbusch’s two collections of Solon’s laws. Solonos Nomoi (Wiesbaden 1966), Ruschenbusch’s doctoral dissertation, was limited to Greek texts without translation or commentary, and banished to the end as doubtful or fictional many of Solon’s attested constitutional or other laws (for example on inheritance or burial) that many scholars think genuine. Ruschenbusch died in 2007 before finishing revisions, including German translations and commentaries, to his 1966 volume. His colleague at Frankfurt, the Roman historian Klaus Bringmann saw Solon: Das Gesetzeswerk — Fragmente through to publication (Wiesbaden 2010; see Leão’s review in AAHG 67 [2014] 110-12), although many texts that Ruschenbusch still judged “false, doubtful, or unusable” were not printed, and his commentaries take no account of much recent work on Solon and Greek law. Leão & Rhodes include thirty-seven fragments not in either edition of Ruschenbusch (who also did not quote certain numbered fragments that he thought unimportant). In addition, they consider genuine twenty-two texts that Ruschenbusch condemned, and condemn three (or four: fr. 23d) texts that Ruschenbusch thought genuine. They translate each fragment into English, and follow each fragment with excellent commentaries, including up-to-date bibliographies, commendably including important Portuguese and Italian contributions. This book is a major addition to Solonian studies.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Leão, Delfim F.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rhodes, P.J.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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