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N/A Family, Vengeance, and Law in SONS OF SPARTA Barbara Leavy
Abstract 1

 As SONS OF SPARTA begins, a medical student in Athens is called home to the Mani, the southernmost part of mainland Greece, a remote area only recently known to tourists, a region that has held onto ancient traditions.. Confronted by his father, his sister, and her lover, the medical student learns his sister had disgraced the family by becoming pregnant out of wedlock, and he is instructed by his father to kill her and her boyfriend on the spot.  Events like this were not unusual in the Mani, where personal vendettas and ongoing blood feuds between families that lasted decades and even centuries were commonplace. .  A century later, Andreas Kaldis, and his right-hand investigqtor, Yianni Kouros find themselves in the Mani, where Kouros's family roots are.  When his uncle is murdered, Kouros is caught between two systems of justice.  As a policeman he must uphold the law and prevent the start of yet another blood feud; as a Maniot he must do so without breaking ties to his family. He and Andreas find themselves not only looking for the murderer but also for the reasons for the killing.  And they must investigate while dealing with the widespread corruption that has spread into every corner of Greek life, a subject throughout the Kaldis series.  Each of them must negotiate his way through the political realities of present-day Greece while understanding the particular form it has taken in the Mani.

Abstract 2

Throughout Greece, family is supremely important and this is especially true in the Mani where family loyalty is considered everything. It is therefore a paradox that when one member disgraces the family, it is permissible in the Mani that another family member kill the offender.  Personal vengeance trumps courts of law. Such revenge crimes and their conflict with legal systems of law and order can be traced back to ancient Greek tragedies.  Only a few have survived but the story of one family, the House of Atreus, dominates those that have. When he returned from the Trojan War, a triumphant Agamemnon is murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus.  In turn, they are slain by her son Orestes, who has been strongly encouraged to kill them by his sister Electra.  Orestes stands trial in Aeschylus's play the Eumenides (the Furies) in what is sometimes called the first courtroom drama in Western literature. He is acquitted, but what seemed most important to Aeschylus was the replacement of vendettas by legal systems of law and order, Courts of law to try the accused is considered one of Athens' major  contributions to Western civilization.  But in a later and far less popular play by Euripides entitled Orestes, the weaknesses of a trial system appear to be Euripides' challenge to Aeschylus. Justice might not prevail in court.  This would be especially true if the system were corrupt or dominated by personal beliefs or interests. Putting these plays togetheris to see how once again Siger has woven Greek culture, Greek history, and Greek mythology into his mysteries. Readers don't have to connect Sons of Sparta to this background to thoroughly enjoy an exciting book, but those who do will be encouraged by Siger's naming one of his major crooks Orestes.   Read More...
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