Peter Garnsey is Director of Research in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge, having previously been Professor of Ancient History. His recent books include Ideas of Slavery from Aristotle to Augustine (1996), Food and Society in Classical Antiquity (1999), (with Caroline Humfress) The Evolution of the Late Antique World (2001) and (with Anthony Bowen) a translation of LactantiusDivine Institutes (2003).
Modern philosophers and legal historians have tended to overlook the fact that Plato was the most prolific legislator in ancient Greece. In the pages of his Republic and Laws, he drafted more than 700 statutes. This is more legal material than can be credited to the archetypal Greek legislators—Lycurgus, Draco, and Solon.
The status of Plato’s laws is unique, since he composed them for purely hypothetical cities. And remarkably, he introduced this new genre by writing hard-hitting critiques of the Greek ideal of the sovereignty of law.
Writing in the milieu in which immutable divine law vied for the first time with volatile democratic law, Plato rejected both sources of law, and sought to derive his laws from what he called ‘political technique’ (politikê technê). At the core of this technique is the question of how the idea of justice relates to legal and institutional change.
Filled with sharp observations and bold claims, Platonic Legislations shows that it is possible to see Plato—and our own legal culture—in a new light
“In this provocative, intelligent, and elegant work D. L. Dusenbury has posed crucial questions not only as regards Plato’s thought in the making, but also as regards our contemporaneity.”—Giorgio Camassa, University of Udine
“There is a tension in Greek law, and in Greek legal thinking, between an understanding of law as unchangeable and authoritative, and a recognition that formal rules are often insufficient for the interpretation of reality, and need to be constantly revised to match it. Dusenbury’s book illuminates the sophistication of Plato’s legal thought in its engagement with this tension, and explores the potential of Plato’s reflection for modern legal theory.”—Mirko Canevaro, The University of Edinburgh
A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?
Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.