Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

DEMOCRACY AND  DEMOCRACIES.                   133
took the initiatory steps, just as the archon and other magis-
trate would have done, and thus saved him, if the case ever
came before him, from a new examination of the case.
The dikasts, being  a portion  of the  people,  carried  the
Evils of judicial political  feelings of the less  wealthy members
system.               of £iie community into  the tribunals.    Among
the public suits or ypacfral were many which might have a
political bearing, such as those for various kinds of military
offences, for embezzling public money, for taking or offering
bribes, for false claims of citizenship, for treason, tyranny,
and putting down the democracy. Others were not only
political but implied the existence of political parties, Such
were the suits for misconduct on an embassy and for illegal
doings (<ypa<f>ri Trapavopcov). The last suit afforded a good
opportunity for a political leader or demagogue not only of
putting a stop for the time to an objectionable law or resolu-
tion, but also, of measuring swords before the courts with po-
litical adversaries. Aristophon of Azenia, a party leader of
no small importance, just after the Pcloponncsian war,
boasted, according to ^Eschines (c. Ctes. 440 Reiske) that he
had been a defendant in seventy-five suits of illegality. Such
suits must have been intensely interesting, as the charm of
personal contest was combined with party zeal, and before
one or two thousand judges they afforded the highest field
for eloquence. It ought to be taken into consideration, also,
that many of the parties were well-known to the judges, so
that the verdict could seldom be unbiassed.
To this are to be added accusations brought before the
people or the senate which called for some special vote
against an obnoxious citizen with which, as prima facie evi-
dence of guilt against him, his foe could appear before the
tribunal of justice.
A  very  considerable number  of days  in the  year were
Pay in courts and devoted to the holding  of courts, so that the
theecciesm.          large detachments of the people, to whom the
duty of judging was given by lot, were kept busy,    Before
Pericles was prime minister of Athens, the judges  served