Evidence in Athenian Courts.Robert J. Bonner

Clarke B. Whittier
1905 American Journal of Sociology  
School to which he belongs. Iin the chapter on the "History of Sociology" it would have added to the clearness of the origin of sociology if the ideas of St. Simon and Turgot had been presented which Comte borrowed and used as the framework of his great philosophy. Upon the whole, Professor Blackmar has the correct idea of a textbook, and the work which he offers to the public is likely to cause sociology to be introduced into many institutions, and to bring the study into more general favor
more » ... re general favor among students. The style of the book is easy, and free from any ambitious flights or phrasing, but clear and agreeable. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, I905. PP. 98. Generally speaking, the separation of court from jury, of the declarers of the law from the triers of the fact, has been a prerequisite to the growth of a law of evidence. Where the court passes upon the facts in issue, as is generally the case in the countries of continental Europe, and elsewhere where the law is based upon Roman law, no systems of evidence have been developed. There the court receives all the evidence offered, trusting its own power to avoid giving undue weight to matter of slight value, and to avoid being prejudiced by evidence likely to appeal to the emotions. Englist courts, however, early began to fear the discretion of the jury, and to exclude much evidence from its consideration per doubt del lay gents. This fear is largely responsible for our law of evidence. It would be surprising, therefore, to find that the Atheniains had any detailed law of evidence. In their popular courts there was no separation of judge and jury. The court, composed of a great number of citizens, passed upon the entire case. It was more like a town-meeting than like either judge or jury. Mr. Bonner's monograph astonishes one more by the comparatively large amount of law on evidence that he seems to discover than by its paucity. In reading it the feeling that he has given at least full, and possibly too full, credit to his meager materials is constantly present. The facts adduced to show that there was a rule against irrelevant evidence (p. I4) may be taken as typical. Such a fundamental rule should leave plain traces. Of course, the most common application This content downloaded from 189.121.015.
doi:10.1086/211411 fatcat:qo6qd2tt5zec3hrmr7ltgpdl6y