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.