Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VIII.: Solon's constitution. - Constitution of Athens
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CHAP. VIII.: Solon’s constitution. - Aristotle, Constitution of Athens [320 BC]
Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, trans. Thomas J. Dymes (London: Seeley and Co., 1891).
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He caused the officers of state to be appointed by lot from candidates whom each of the tribes selected. For each selected ten for the nine archons; hence it is that it is still the practice of the tribes for each to appoint ten by lot, and then to appoint by lot from them. And evidence that they caused qualified persons to be appointed by lot is afforded by the law regarding the treasurers, which law they have continued to make use of even to this day, for it ordains that treasurers should be appointed by lot from Pentakosiomedimni. Solon, then, thus legislated regarding the nine archons. For in old days the council on Mars’ Hill decided, after citation, on its own authority who was the proper man for each of the offices of state, and invested him accordingly, making the appointment for a year. Now, there were four tribes just as before, and four tribe-kings. Each tribe was divided into three Trittyes (thirds of a tribe) and twelve Naukrariæ. Magistrates of the Naukrariæ were appointed, viz., the Naukrari, who had charge of the current revenues and expenditure; and this is the reason why (as is probable) it is ordained in the laws of Solon, by which they are no longer governed, that the Naukrari should get in the moneys and make disbursements from the Naukraric funds. He made the Council four hundred, a hundred from each tribe, and he assigned to the council of the Areopagitæ the duty of still watching over the laws generally, just as before it had been the overseer of the administration, and jealously guarded the greater number, and those the most important, of the interests of the citizens, and corrected offenders, having authority to fine and punish, and reported to the state the punishments it inflicted, without recording the reasons of those punishments, and sat in judgment on those who combined for the overthrow of the people, in conformity with Solon’s legislation. Now, these were the duties that he assigned in their case. And seeing that the state was often torn by faction, and that some of the citizens from indifference stood aloof, of his own motion he passed a law specially directed against them as follows—that anyone who, when the state was divided into parties, did not take up arms and side with one or the other, should be deprived of his political rights, and have no part in the state.