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DEMOCRACY AND  DEMOCRACIES.                    131
court system was perfected, it consisted first of six thousand
citizens drawn by lot to be judges, of whom five thousand
were assigned in ten equal squads to ten places of justice.
These were the dikasts or judges, who, according to the
importance of the case, sat together in numbers varying from
one to five hundred, and sometimes even several courts were
united together. The business brought before the courts
passed first through the hands of preparing magistrates,
whose principal name, " presidents of courts," shows that
after preparation of a case they presided in the dikasteries,
produced the written evidence in the case, kept order, had
the votes of the judges counted, and announced the decision.
These presidents of courts were very numerous ; it was a
principle that each public officer could be a president of a
court within his own especial sphere, as the generals, the
boards of control and the like ; and, in fact, it was made the
definition of a magistrate (an apxtf) that he had to do with
public affairs for more than thirty days, and could preside
over a court. This wonderful splitting up of judicial duty
among so many magistrates, was due to the development of
the democratic spirit since Solon. But the nine archons still
retained most of the important jurisdiction in their hands,
and several of the departments of law were assigned to one
or another of them. Thus the archon, properly so called,
had jurisdiction in cases pertaining to the family relations;
the archon king in cases touching religion ; the archon pole-
march, in those where foreigners were concerned, being a sort
sipr&torperegrimts; while the six remaining ones, called by
the general name of thesmothetce, had the dokimasizc in
their hands, and most private suits relative to property and
obligations ex contractu. These, and other magistrates who
presided in courts, had it for their especial duty to see to the
summonses of the parties, and the proper bringing of the suit;
to make the preparatory examinations ; to have the evidence
reduced to writing and fix on the time and place for the trial;
to keep the evidence in a sealed vessel ready for use in
court; to preside there—an office which included every step