The Greek City and its Institutions

The Greek City and its Institutions

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delinquencies to fall within the range of the ancient law against sacrilege and treason, and in consequence to render them liable to capital punishment. But, on the other hand, it allowed traditional pains and penalties to be mitigated in accordance with new ideas and more civilized customs. Armed with an arbitrary power the people, the sovereign justiciary, admitted of no restriction either upon its severity or upon its mercy; but it placed its omnipotence more often at the service of its

report to present.90 But that formality was superfluous when the business of the day was known in advance. In that case the gerontes did not wait to be consulted. Custom demanded that the eldest should speak first: it was the privilege of Nestor in the council of the Achæans, and of Echeneus in that of the Phæacians; Diomedes excused himself for coming forward, though the youngest present, and thought it advisable to justify his intervention on the score of his birth and his wealth.91 The

all was the Council of the thirty gerontes, itself controlled by the five ephors, which actually exercised sovereignty. In the same way at the time when Athens had for its masters the Four Hundred, Thasos was in the hands of the Three Hundred and Sixty.67 After the fashion of Sparta, Croton, according to the constitution of Pythagoras, had its Assembly and its Gerousia, in addition to its Syncletos of the Thousand.68 The last form of oligarchy (the first for Aristotle) was characterized by a

including the king, were together masters of the sacred edifice which owed to them its name. They formed the Council. Usually the Council was divided into sections each of which in turn exercised the prytany, and the same practice was to hold even in cities where oligarchic institutions were destroyed by democracy. But it also frequently happened that the whole power of the aristocracy was concentrated in the hands of a single prytanis, who was not only the president of the Council, but the

qualification.69 In fact, in Athenian history, the monopoly of the principal offices of state, assigned to the richest by the Eupatridæ, was retained with the system of census classes by Solon and Cleisthenes,70 and for this reason the names of the two reformers, commonly considered as the founders of democracy, were nevertheless on occasion claimed by the parties of reaction.71 In exceptional cases the magistrates were chosen from the leaders of the army. Among the Malians they were required to

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