Draco, Athenian politician and law codifier

Draco drāˈkŏn [key], fl. 621 b.c., Athenian politician and law codifier. Of his codification of Athenian customary law only the section dealing with involuntary homicide is preserved. From this and from later accounts in the writings of Aristotle and Plutarch it appears that in Athens the penalty of death was prescribed for the most trivial offense. The code adopted the principle that murder must be punished by the state and not by vendetta. Though the code was considerably ameliorated by Solon, its name became a synonym for harsh legislation.

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