AN EVOLUTION OF LEGAL SYSTEMS: A COMPARISON OF 5TH CENTURY BCE ATHENS AND MEDIEVAL BRITAIN POST 1066

Open Access
Author:
Everley, Corey Lynn
Area of Honors:
History
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Benjamin Hudson, Thesis Supervisor
  • Kathryn Salzer, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Classical Athens
  • Medieval England
  • Athens
  • England
  • Normans
  • legal systems
Abstract:
This thesis aims to identify similarities and differences between societies that established new legal systems with the founding of a new form of government. In 5th century BCE, the Greek city-state of Athens had just defeated the Persian Empire and was thriving in a time of peace. With the creation of democracy and the new government that was controlling Athens, a new legal system was implemented that allowed for greater amounts of public participation. Looking forward to the 11th century CE, William of Normandy in 1066 conquered England, resulting in a new government with a new king. This change in rule required the Normand regime, therefore, had to establish a new legal system to aid them in controlling their new domain. Though societies dealt with new governments that established new legal systems, the influences on the societies differed. While Athens defeated outside invaders and the people of Athens established the government, the English lost to invaders and an outside force, the Normans, established the government. By comparing two societies that implemented legal change during times of stress and governmental changes, one can develop a better understanding of how legal systems were established.