Univ.Ass. (prae-doc) Kyriaco Nikias, BEc LLB (Hons)

I’m an Australian legal historian working at the University of Vienna as a doctoral researcher and University Assistant. My key research interests are property relations in historical perspective, forms of power in legal documents and official archives, and the link between power, property, and social structure. My work is particularly interested in these themes in peripheral historical contexts and working with fragmentary evidence.

My doctoral project examines the relationship between land, power, and written order in a period before the emergence of formal law. I focus on the evidence for property relations in the earliest Greek written records, the Linear B tablets (1450-1200BC), specifically the land records of Late-Bronze-Age Pylos. My project examines the applicability of legal historical methodology to this early evidence, and questions how it complicates our theories of the development of formal legal order in the ancient world. My doctoral project is supervised by Univ.Prof. Dr. Philipp Scheibelreiter and Prof. John Bennet (University of Sheffield).

I also have a strong interest in the legal history of post-Byzantine Greece under Latin rule, specifically on the experience of government, colonial lawmaking, and proprietary relations in the Venetian maritime empire. I work on a project focussing on these themes in an understudied colonial context, the island of Ithaca under Venetian rule (1500–1797).

T: 43 1 4277 34433

E-mail: kyriaco.nikias[at]univie.ac.at 

Sprechstunde: nach Vereinbarung


Available online: https://univie.academia.edu/KyriacoNikias


Articles and book chapters

‘Private legal practice and public authority in early Venetian Ithaca: thirteen new notarial documents (1575–1599)’, Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis - Revue d’histoire du droit - The Legal History Review (2024, forthcoming)

‘The Venetian public palace at Ithaca’, Mediterranean Studies (2024, forthcoming)

‘The archive of the Venetian administration at Ithaca’, Mediterranean Historical Review (2024), vol 39 (forthcoming)

‘The governors of Venetian Ithaca’, Annual of the British School at Athens (2023), vol 118, pp. 399-416

‘The concept of property in Marx’ (commissioned chapter) in Chris Bevan (ed.), Property Law and Theory (Edward Elgar Handbook) (forthcoming)

‘Class and society in Ithaca under Tocco and early Venetian rule (1357–ca 1600)’, in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies (2023) vol 47(1), pp 54-70

‘The Voice of the People in Homer’, in Pólemos: Journal of Law, Literature and Culture (2019) vol 14(2), pp. 349–77


Book reviews 

Review of S. Almog, The Origins of the Law in Homer (De Gruyter, 2023), Law, Culture and the Humanities (2024, forthcoming)

‘Legal sources from the Venetian East’ = Review of N.E. Karapidakis, Διατάξεις Λειτουργίας του Συμβουλίου της Πολιτείας της Κέρκυρας, 1422-1797 – Libro d’ordini del Consiglio della magnifica Città di Corfù, 1422-1797 (Εθνικό Τυπογραφείο, 2021), in Rechtsgeschichte – Legal History (Rg) vol. 31, pp 237–9

Review of P Vlachos, Εκκρεμείς λογαριασμοί της Ιθάκης με την μεσαιωνική & ενετική Ιστορία (της) [Unsettled accounts between Ithaca and (its) mediaeval & Venetian history], (2021), in Mediterranean Historical Review.

Review of P M Steele, Writing and Society in Ancient Cyprus (Cambridge, 2019), in Classical Review (2019) vol 70(1), pp. 149–51          

Review of P Perlman (ed), Ancient Greek Law in the 21st Century (U Texas Press, 2018), in Alternative Law Journal (2019) vol 44(2), p. 170

Review of C Carey et al, Use and Abuse of Law in the Athenian Courts (Brill, 2018), in Classical Review (2019) vol 69(2), pp. 391–3

Review of E Jones, The Barbarians Arrive Today (Carcanet, 2020) [translation of poems of C.P. Cavafy], in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies (2021), vol 46(1), pp. 147–9

Review of R Clogg, Greek to Me: A Memoir of Academic Life (I B Tauris, 2018), in Scandinavian Journal of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies (2018) vol 4, pp. 197–201


Contemporary legal issues

‘The Problem of Foreign Law and Section 44(i)’, in Bond Law Review (2019) vol 31(1)

‘Dual Citizens in the Federal Parliament: Re Canavan (2017) 349 ALR 534’, in Adelaide Law Review (2018) vol 39(2), pp. 479–91

‘Legislators, judges, and the content of property’, [Co-authored with Prof P Babie], in  Australian Property Law Journal (2020) vol 28, pp 195–216

‘The Renewal of the Old: Lionel Murphy’s Progressive-Relational Conception of Property’, [Co-authored with Prof P Babie], in University of New South Wales Law Journal (2019) vol 42(3), pp. 1–35

‘Federalism Fails Water: A Tale of Two Nations, Two States, and Two Rivers’, [Co-authored with Prof P Babie and P Leadbeter], in Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation (2020) vol 35, pp. 1–86

‘Property, Unbundled Water Entitlements, and Anticommons Tragedies’, [Co-authored with P Babie and P Leadbeter], in Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law (2020) vol 9, pp. 107–44


Selected other publications

‘The Many Lives of Constantine Cavafy’ [critical essay on C.P. Cavafy], in Sydney Review of Books (20 Nov 2019, online)


Conference presentations

‘The Mycenaean evidence and Greek legal history’, Ancient Law: Outside the Norms, University of Edinburgh Centre for Legal History, 7-8 July 2023

‘The possibility of an early Greek legal history beyond philology: on material approaches to the Mycenaean tablets’, Materiality and immateriality of ancient law (76e session de la Société Internationale Fernand De Visscher pour l’Histoire des Droits de l’Antiquité), 22-26 August, Helsinki, Finland

‘The archive as a site of colonial power: the case of the archive of the Venetian administration of Ithaca’, 7th European Congress of Modern Greek Studies, Vienna, 11-14 September 2023.

‘The archive of the Venetian administration of Ithaca (1638—1797)’, IB’ International Panionian Conference [ΙΒ' Διεθνές Πανιόνιο Συνέδριο], Zakynthos, 18-21 October 2023


Other public speaking

‘The archive of the Venetian administration’, presentation at ‘The Archive of Ithaca’, seminar hosted by the Ithacan Historical Society in collaboration with the Centre of Maritime History of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies, and the General State Archives – Ithaca.


‘The Ithacan libro d’oro of 1803 and class structures in Ionian society after the end of Venetian rule’. Lecture given 11 October 2021 for the Ithacan Historical Society.