4000bce - 399
400 - 1399
1400 - 1499
1500 - 1599
1600 - 1699
1700 - 1799
1800 - 1899
1900 - 1999
|Section 51||Section 52||Section 53||Section 54||Section 55|
|Section 56||Section 57||Section 58||Section 59||Section 60|
|Return to Athenian Constitution : Contents|
Market Commissioners (Agoranomi) are elected by lot, five for Piraeus, five for the city. Their statutory duty is to see that all articles offered for sale in the market are pure and unadulterated.
Commissioners of Weights and Measures (Metronomi) are elected by lot, five for the city, and five for Piraeus. They see that sellers use fair weights and measures.
Formerly there were ten Corn Commissioners (Sitophylaces), elected by lot, five for Piraeus, and five for the city; but now there are twenty for the city and fifteen for Piraeus. Their duties are, first, to see that the unprepared corn in the market is offered for sale at reasonable prices, and secondly, to see that the millers sell barley meal at a price proportionate to that of barley, and that the bakers sell their loaves at a price proportionate to that of wheat, and of such weight as the Commissioners may appoint; for the law requires them to fix the standard weight.
There are ten Superintendents of the Mart, elected by lot, whose duty is to superintend
the Mart, and to compel merchants to bring up into the city two-thirds of the corn which is
brought by sea to the Corn Mart.
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The Eleven also are appointed by lot to take care of the prisoners in the state gaol. Thieves, kidnappers, and pickpockets are brought to them, and if they plead guilty they are executed, but if they deny the charge the Eleven bring the case before the law-courts; if the prisoners are acquitted, they release them, but if not, they then execute them. They also bring up before the law-courts the list of farms and houses claimed as state- property; and if it is decided that they are so, they deliver them to the Commissioners for Public Contracts. The Eleven also bring up informations laid against magistrates alleged to be disqualified; this function comes within their province, but some such cases are brought up by the Thesmothetae.
There are also five Introducers of Cases (Eisagogeis), elected by lot, one for each pair
of tribes, who bring up the 'monthly' cases to the law-courts. 'Monthly' cases are these:
refusal to pay up a dowry where a party is bound to do so, refusal to pay interest on
money borrowed at 12 per cent., or where a man desirous of setting up business in the
market has borrowed from another man capital to start with; also cases of slander, cases
arising out of friendly loans or partnerships, and cases concerned with slaves, cattle,
and the office of trierarch, or with banks. These are brought up as 'monthly' cases and
are introduced by these officers; but the Receivers-General perform the same function in
cases for or against the farmers of taxes. Those in which the sum concerned is not more
than ten drachmas they can decide summarily, but all above that amount they bring into
the law-courts as 'monthly' cases.
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The Forty are also elected by lot, four from each tribe, before whom suitors bring all other cases. Formerly they were thirty in number, and they went on circuit through the demes to hear causes; but after the oligarchy of the Thirty they were increased to forty. They have full powers to decide cases in which the amount at issue does not exceed ten drachmas, but anything beyond that value they hand over to the Arbitrators. The Arbitrators take up the case, and, if they cannot bring the parties to an agreement, they give a decision. If their decision satisfies both parties, and they abide by it, the case is at an end; but if either of the parties appeals to the law-courts, the Arbitrators enclose the evidence, the pleadings, and the laws quoted in the case in two urns, those of the plaintiff in the one, and those of the defendant in the other. These they seal up and, having attached to them the decision of the arbitrator, written out on a tablet, place them in the custody of the four justices whose function it is to introduce cases on behalf of the tribe of the defendant. These officers take them and bring up the case before the law- court, to a jury of two hundred and one members in cases up to the value of a thousand drachmas, or to one of four hundred and one in cases above that value. No laws or pleadings or evidence may be used except those which were adduced before the Arbitrator, and have been enclosed in the urns.
The Arbitrators are persons in the sixtieth year of their age; this appears from the
schedule of the Archons and the Eponymi. There are two classes of Eponymi, the ten
who give their names to the tribes, and the forty-two of the years of service. The youths,
on being enrolled among the citizens, were formerly registered upon whitened tablets,
and the names were appended of the Archon in whose year they were enrolled, and of
the Eponymus who had been in course in the preceding year; at the present day they are
written on a bronze pillar, which stands in front of the Council-chamber, near the
Eponymi of the tribes. Then the Forty take the last of the Eponymi of the years of service,
and assign the arbitrations to the persons belonging to that year, casting lots to
determine which arbitrations each shall undertake; and every one is compelled to carry
through the arbitrations which the lot assigns to him. The law enacts that any one who
does not serve as Arbitrator when he has arrived at the necessary age shall lose his
civil rights, unless he happens to be holding some other office during that year, or to be
out of the country. These are the only persons who escape the duty. Any one who suffers
injustice at the hands of the Arbitrator may appeal to the whole board of Arbitrators, and if
they find the magistrate guilty, the law enacts that he shall lose his civil rights. The
persons thus condemned have, however, in their turn an appeal. The Eponymi are also
used in reference to military expeditions; when the men of military age are despatched
on service, a notice is put up stating that the men from such-and such an Archon and
Eponymus to such-and such another Archon and Eponymus are to go on the expedition.
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The following magistrates also are elected by lot: Five Commissioners of Roads (Hodopoei), who, with an assigned body of public slaves, are required to keep the roads in order: and ten Auditors, with ten assistants, to whom all persons who have held any office must give in their accounts. These are the only officers who audit the accounts of those who are subject to examination, and who bring them up for examination before the law-courts. If they detect any magistrate in embezzlement, the jury condemn him for theft, and he is obliged to repay tenfold the sum he is declared to have misappropriated. If they charge a magistrate with accepting bribes and the jury convict him, they fine him for corruption, and this sum too is repaid tenfold. Or if they convict him of unfair dealing, he is fined on that charge, and the sum assessed is paid without increase, if payment is made before the ninth prytany, but otherwise it is doubled. A tenfold fine is not doubled.
The Clerk of the prytany, as he is called, is also elected by lot. He has the charge of all public documents, and keeps the resolutions which are passed by the Assembly, and checks the transcripts of all other official papers and attends at the sessions of the Council. Formerly he was elected by open vote, and the most distinguished and trustworthy persons were elected to the post, as is known from the fact that the name of this officer is appended on the pillars recording treaties of alliance and grants of consulship and citizenship. Now, however, he is elected by lot. There is, in addition, a Clerk of the Laws, elected by lot, who attends at the sessions of the Council; and he too checks the transcript of all the laws. The Assembly also elects by open vote a clerk to read documents to it and to the Council; but he has no other duty except that of reading aloud.
The Assembly also elects by lot the Commissioners of Public Worship (Hieropoei) known as the Commissioners for Sacrifices, who offer the sacrifices appointed by oracle, and, in conjunction with the seers, take the auspices whenever there is occasion. It also elects by lot ten others, known as Annual Commissioners, who offer certain sacrifices and administer all the quadrennial festivals except the Panathenaea. There are the following quadrennial festivals: first that of Delos (where there is also a sexennial festival), secondly the Brauronia, thirdly the Heracleia, fourthly the Eleusinia, and fifthly the Panathenaea; and no two of these are celebrated in the same place. To these the Hephaestia has now been added, in the archonship of Cephisophon.
An Archon is also elected by lot for Salamis, and a Demarch for Piraeus. These officers
celebrate the Dionysia in these two places, and appoint Choregi. In Salamis, moreover,
the name of the Archon is publicly recorded.
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All the foregoing magistrates are elected by lot, and their powers are those which have
been stated. To pass on to the nine Archons, as they are called, the manner of their
appointment from the earliest times has been described already. At the present day six
Thesmothetae are elected by lot, together with their clerk, and in addition to these an
Archon, a King, and a Polemarch. One is elected from each tribe. They are examined first
of all by the Council of Five Hundred, with the exception of the clerk. The latter is
examined only in the lawcourt, like other magistrates (for all magistrates, whether
elected by lot or by open vote, are examined before entering on their offices); but the
nine Archons are examined both in the Council and again in the law-court. Formerly no
one could hold the office if the Council rejected him, but now there is an appeal to the
law-court, which is the final authority in the matter of the examination. When they are
examined, they are asked, first, 'Who is your father, and of what deme? who is your
father's father? who is your mother? who is your mother's father, and of what deme?'
Then the candidate is asked whether he possesses an ancestral Apollo and a household
Zeus, and where their sanctuaries are; next if he possesses a family tomb, and where;
then if he treats his parents well, and pays his taxes, and has served on the required
military expeditions. When the examiner has put these questions, he proceeds, 'Call the
witnesses to these facts'; and when the candidate has produced his witnesses, he next
asks, 'Does any one wish to make any accusation against this man?' If an accuser
appears, he gives the parties an opportunity of making their accusation and defence, and
then puts it to the Council to pass the candidate or not, and to the law-court to give the
final vote. If no one wishes to make an accusation, he proceeds at once to the vote.
Formerly a single individual gave the vote, but now all the members are obliged to vote
on the candidates, so that if any unprincipled candidate has managed to get rid of his
accusers, it may still be possible for him to be disqualified before the law-court. When
the examination has been thus completed, they proceed to the stone on which are the
pieces of the victims, and on which the Arbitrators take oath before declaring their
decisions, and witnesses swear to their testimony. On this stone the Archons stand, and
swear to execute their office uprightly and according to the laws, and not to receive
presents in respect of the performance of their duties, or, if they do, to dedicate a golden
statue. When they have taken this oath they proceed to the Acropolis, and there they
repeat it; after this they enter upon their office.
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The Archon, the King, and the Polemarch have each two assessors, nominated by themselves. These officers are examined in the lawcourt before they begin to act, and give in accounts on each occasion of their acting.
As soon as the Archon enters office, he begins by issuing a proclamation that whatever any one possessed before he entered into office, that he shall possess and hold until the end of his term. Next he assigns Choregi to the tragic poets, choosing three of the richest persons out of the whole body of Athenians. Formerly he used also to assign five Choregi to the comic poets, but now the tribes provide the Choregi for them. Then he receives the Choregi who have been appointed by the tribes for the men's and boys' choruses and the comic poets at the Dionysia, and for the men's and boys' choruses at the Thargelia (at the Dionysia there is a chorus for each tribe, but at the Thargelia one between two tribes, each tribe bearing its share in providing it); he transacts the exchanges of properties for them, and reports any excuses that are tendered, if any one says that he has already borne this burden, or that he is exempt because he has borne a similar burden and the period of his exemption has not yet expired, or that he is not of the required age; since the Choregus of a boys' chorus must be over forty years of age. He also appoints Choregi for the festival at Delos, and a chief of the mission for the thirty-oar boat which conveys the youths thither. He also superintends sacred processions, both that in honour of Asclepius, when the initiated keep house, and that of the great Dionysia-the latter in conjunction with the Superintendents of that festival. These officers, ten in number, were formerly elected by open vote in the Assembly, and used to provide for the expenses of the procession out of their private means; but now one is elected by lot from each tribe, and the state contributes a hundred minas for the expenses. The Archon also superintends the procession at the Thargelia, and that in honour of Zeus the Saviour. He also manages the contests at the Dionysia and the Thargelia.
These, then, are the festivals which he superintends. The suits and indictments which
come before him, and which he, after a preliminary inquiry, brings up before the
lawcourts, are as follows. Injury to parents (for bringing these actions the prosecutor
cannot suffer any penalty); injury to orphans (these actions lie against their guardians);
injury to a ward of state (these lie against their guardians or their husbands), injury to an
orphan's estate (these too lie against the guardians); mental derangement, where a party
charges another with destroying his own property through unsoundness of mind; for
appointment of liquidators, where a party refuses to divide property in which others have
a share; for constituting a wardship; for determining between rival claims to a wardship;
for granting inspection of property to which another party lays claim; for appointing
oneself as guardian; and for determining disputes as to inheritances and wards of state.
The Archon also has the care of orphans and wards of state, and of women who, on the
death of their husbands, declare themselves to be with child; and he has power to inflict
a fine on those who offend against the persons under his charge, or to bring the case
before the law-courts. He also leases the houses of orphans and wards of state until
they reach the age of fourteen, and takes mortgages on them; and if the guardians fail to
provide the necessary food for the children under their charge, he exacts it from them.
Such are the duties of the Archon.
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The King in the first place superintends the mysteries, in conjunction with the
Superintendents of Mysteries. The latter are elected in the Assembly by open vote, two
from the general body of Athenians, one from the Eumolpidae, and one from the Ceryces.
Next, he superintends the Lenaean Dionysia, which consists of a procession and a
contest. The procession is ordered by the King and the Superintendents in conjunction;
but the contest is managed by the King alone. He also manages all the contests of the
torch-race; and to speak broadly, he administers all the ancestral sacrifices. Indictments
for impiety come before him, or any disputes between parties concerning priestly rites;
and he also determines all controversies concerning sacred rites for the ancient families
and the priests. All actions for homicide come before him, and it is he that makes the
proclamation requiring polluted persons to keep away from sacred ceremonies. Actions
for homicide and wounding are heard, if the homicide or wounding be willful, in the
Areopagus; so also in cases of killing by poison, and of arson. These are the only cases
heard by that Council. Cases of unintentional homicide, or of intent to kill, or of killing a
slave or a resident alien or a foreigner, are heard by the court of Palladium. When the
homicide is acknowledged, but legal justification is pleaded, as when a man takes an
adulterer in the act, or kills another by mistake in battle, or in an athletic contest, the
prisoner is tried in the court of Delphinium. If a man who is in banishment for a homicide
which admits of reconcilliation incurs a further charge of killing or wounding, he is tried
in Phreatto, and he makes his defence from a boat moored near the shore. All these
cases, except those which are heard in the Areopagus, are tried by the Ephetae on whom
the lot falls. The King introduces them, and the hearing is held within sacred precincts
and in the open air. Whenever the King hears a case he takes off his crown. The person
who is charged with homicide is at all other times excluded from the temples, nor is it
even lawful for him to enter the market-place; but on the occasion of his trial he enters
the temple and makes his defence. If the actual offender is unknown, the writ runs
against 'the doer of the deed'. The King and the tribe-kings also hear the cases in which
the guilt rests on inanimate objects and the lower animal.
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The Polemarch performs the sacrifices to Artemis the huntress and to Enyalius, and
arranges the contest at the funeral of those who have fallen in war, and makes offerings
to the memory of Harmodius and Aristogeiton. Only private actions come before him,
namely those in which resident aliens, both ordinary and privileged, and agents of
foreign states are concerned. It is his duty to receive these cases and divide them into
ten groups, and assign to each tribe the group which comes to it by lot; after which the
magistrates who introduce cases for the tribe hand them over to the Arbitrators. The
Polemarch, however, brings up in person cases in which an alien is charged with
deserting his patron or neglecting to provide himself with one, and also of inheritances
and wards of state where aliens are concerned; and in fact, generally, whatever the
Archon does for citizens, the Polemarch does for aliens.
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The Thesmothetae in the first place have the power of prescribing on what days the
lawcourts are to sit, and next of assigning them to the several magistrates; for the latter
must follow the arrangement which the Thesmothetae assign. Moreover they introduce
impeachments before the Assembly, and bring up all votes for removal from office,
challenges of a magistrate's conduct before the Assembly, indictments for illegal
proposals, or for proposing a law which is contrary to the interests of the state,
complaints against Proedri or their president for their conduct in office, and the accounts
presented by the generals. All indictments also come before them in which a deposit has
to be made by the prosecutor, namely, indictments for concealment of foreign origin, for
corrupt evasion of foreign origin (when a man escapes the disqualification by bribery),
for blackmailing accusations, bribery, false entry of another as a state debtor, false
testimony to the service of a summons, conspiracy to enter a man as a state debtor,
corrupt removal from the list of debtors, and adultery. They also bring up the
examinations of all magistrates, and the rejections by the demes and the condemnations
by the Council. Moreover they bring up certain private suits in cases of merchandise and
mines, or where a slave has slandered a free man. It is they also who cast lots to assign
the courts to the various magistrates, whether for private or public cases. They ratify
commercial treaties, and bring up the cases which arise out of such treaties; and they
also bring up cases of perjury from the Areopagus. The casting of lots for the jurors is
conducted by all the nine Archons, with the clerk to the Thesmothetae as the tenth, each
performing the duty for his own tribe. Such are the duties of the nine Archons.
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There are also ten Commissioners of Games (Athlothetae), elected by lot, one from each tribe. These officers, after passing an examination, serve for four years; and they manage the Panathenaic procession, the contest in music and that in gymnastic, and the horse-race; they also provide the robe of Athena and, in conjunction with the Council, the vases, and they present the oil to the athletes. This oil is collected from the sacred olives. The Archon requisitions it from the owners of the farms on which the sacred olives grow, at the rate of three-quarters of a pint from each plant. Formerly the state used to sell the fruit itself, and if any one dug up or broke down one of the sacred olives, he was tried by the Council of Areopagus, and if he was condemned, the penalty was death. Since, however, the oil has been paid by the owner of the farm, the procedure has lapsed, though the law remains; and the oil is a state charge upon the property instead of being taken from the individual plants. When, then, the Archon has collected the oil for his year of office, he hands it over to the Treasurers to preserve in the Acropolis, and he may not take his seat in the Areopagus until he has paid over to the Treasurers the full amount. The Treasurers keep it in the Acropolis until the Panathenaea, when they measure it out to the Commissioners of Games, and they again to the victorious competitors. The prizes for the victors in the musical contest consist of silver and gold, for the victors in manly vigour, of shields, and for the victors in the gymnastic contest and the horse-race, of oil.