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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

DEMOCRACY AND  DEMOCRACIES.                     135
to punish him for his wrong deqds " (v. 240). And so also
the suspicion of conspiracies to bring about a tyranny is
most exquisitely ridiculed in vv. 488, 499- And the worthy
old dikasts are charged with being slaves to the political
managers who take all the brib.es while they are content with
their pittance of pay. (666 et seq.) There is reason to be-
lieve that this opinion entertained by conservative persons
like Aristophanes and Plato was not a distorted one. The
courts were felt to be the watchmen of the state, but being
under the demagogues and bringing every prejudice with
them and every suspicion, they could not but be partial and
often unjust. Hence, and because of their ignorance of law,
they were open to all pleas ad misericordiam, to all claims
for deserving well of the people, and considerations had
weight, even where the trial was not a political one, which a
modern advocate would not be allowed to use. In fact, from
a general knowledge of the parties in suits the dikasts must
have been prepossessed for one or the other; and few tri-
bunals of one or two hundred men could have contained a
majority of unbiassed triers of a case. And yet the spirit
prevailing in the Athenian courts must have been far fairer
and milder than that which oligarchical state-systems cher-
ished. When the Thirty governed Athens, they abolished
the popular tribunals and the Areopagus ; and the council of
the four hundred, established a little before, was entrusted
with the judicial power in criminal cases, but was required to
give open votes in the presence of the tyrants.*
The judicial system was in a manner necessary, if we con-
,. . sider the previous history of Athens, and the
Liturgiae.                                        *                                        J
usages of Greek states; but another emanation
of the democratical spirit had no such apology. We refer to
the burdens laid on the rich by the state for the pleasure of
the people. These burdens were grouped together under the
name liturgies, or public services, and included the offices of
the leader of a chorus, of the director in sacred games, such
*Comp. E. Curtius, trans., iv., 22, Amer. ed.