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Thea Potter

Published On


Page Range

pp. 79-116

Print Length

37 pages

3. Breaking the Law

  • Thea Potter (author)
Chapter Three (‘Breaking the Law’) considers the legal implications of the horos, taking the meaning ‘bounds, boundaries.’ The regions that are thus separated are given definition by the boundary and exist as different spaces on account of the boundary but also share something in common: the boundary itself. I return to earlier examples of the boundary-stone in the Hebraic and Greek Biblical tradition, where variations of the horos appear repeatedly and ask the question as to why boundary-stones in the Old Testament required the double enforcement both as stone placed upon the land and as prohibition in the written text. The problem of legality is raised and followed into the work of Plato’s Laws, where the first law is given as the prohibition against the removal of the boundary-stone. In these textual traditions, the prohibition that is to follow upon the horos implies that something has been lost from the base materiality, the bare presence of the stone, and this loss is exactly what supports the force of law. The final knife-twist in the letter of the law is described by a leap into the ephebic military service performed upon the boundaries of Attica, where failure to swear allegiance to the horoi meant exile from the Athenian city and its institutions.


Thea Potter