Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. LIII.: Judicial officers; arbitrators. - Constitution of Athens
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CHAP. LIII.: Judicial officers; arbitrators. - Aristotle, Constitution of Athens [320 BC]
Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, trans. Thomas J. Dymes (London: Seeley and Co., 1891).
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Judicial officers; arbitrators.
They appoint by lot also forty, four from each tribe, before whom parties bring all other suits. Their number was formerly thirty, and they used to administer justice by going on circuit throughout the demes, but after the oligarchy of the Thirty they were increased to forty. Cases up to ten drachmæ they have full power to decide, but such as are above this amount they pass over to the arbitrators. These take them over, and if they are unable to effect a settlement, state their opinions, and if both sides are satisfied with their recommendations and abide by them, the suit is at an end. But if one of the parties appeals to the court, they put the evidence and challenges and laws into vases, using a separate vase both for the plaintiff and the defendant, and signing and sealing them, with the judgment of the arbitrator recorded on a tablet attached, they hand them over to the adjudicators of the tribe to which the defendant belongs. These adjudicators take them over and bring them into the court, which is composed of two hundred and one for amounts within a thousand drachmæ, and of four hundred and one for amounts above a thousand. They are not allowed to make use of any laws or challenges or evidence other than what is received from the arbitrator and contained in the vases. Arbitrators must be sixty years of age; and this is evident from the archons and Eponymi. For there are ten Eponymi* of the tribes and forty-two of the ages, and the Ephebi in former days at the time of their enrolment had their names registered on white tablets, and the name of the archon in whose time they were enrolled was added to the register as well as that of the Eponymus who had acted as arbitrator in the previous year; but now their names are inscribed on a brass pillar, and the pillar stands before the council-chamber near the statues of the ten Eponymi of the tribes. And the forty, taking the last one of the Eponymi, assign the arbitrations to them, and by lot in what cases each shall act. For the law ordains forfeiture of political rights in the case of anyone of the proper age failing to act as arbitrator, unless he happens to be filling any other office, or to be abroad; in such cases only is exemption granted. Anyone who has been wronged by an arbitrator is free to indict him before the jurors, but if their verdict goes against him he loses his political rights, as the laws ordain; but even then there is the right of appeal. They make use also of the names of the Eponymi with regard to military expeditions, and when they send out a body of young men, they publicly notify from and up to what archon and Eponymus they are to serve.
[* ]Eponymi—i.e., giving their names to the tribes and the forty-two ages, viz., from eighteen to sixty, the period of military service.