I have been thinking a lot recently about how to justify spending money on conferences… (there have been some family related things recently which mean we are being cautious about cash!)
And it occurred to me that what would make it better is if my partner and I could go together.
She is a law lecturer and – though her specialisms are a long way from mine- some of the most glorious moments of our courtship involved arguments about the meaning and relevance of Sophocles’ Antigone to social reform and protest movements and the place of Roman inheritance law in modern society.
Over the last few years we have seem the decline in interest in the classics within law degrees as increasingly not only have they dropped Latin terms but also they focus on practical skills over ‘history of the legal system’, ‘comparative law’ and ‘law and culture’. There can be little doubt that there is lots for students to get to grips with and ancient legal systems are hardly a priority but it is also difficult to believe that acknowledging the processes of development doesn’t help prepare future lawyers for work in a multi-cultural jurisdiction and that by applying skills learnt in Reception they are better equipped to deal with juror bias…
It would be nice to just present a paper on the importance of classics to the study of law, it would even be nice to consider the role of law the development of heritage management and translations but what about how the study of law itself offers something to classicists?
Is there something in the way that we analyse the impact of media etc on contemporary law-makers that is of relevance to considering how it might have affected ancient ones? Similarly, we are increasingly looking at the role of economic pressures on writing and interpreting laws – how has that crossed over into classics? Have we compared how The Eumenides & Antigone are taught by classicsts and how they are taught by lawyers?
I don’t know enough about research into ancient law to know how much impact legal anthropology and sociology have had on it but now I’m curious…