Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. LV.: The archons; how they are appointed. - Constitution of Athens
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CHAP. LV.: The archons; how they are appointed. - Aristotle, Constitution of Athens [320 BC]
Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, trans. Thomas J. Dymes (London: Seeley and Co., 1891).
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The archons; how they are appointed.
These then are the officers appointed by lot, and their powers in their several departments are as has been just described. Now as to those who have the title of the nine archons, an account has been already given of how they were appointed at first. But now they appoint by lot six Thesmothetæ and a secretary for them, and further, an archon and king and commander-in-chief severally from each tribe. And they are first examined in the Council by the five hundred, except the secretary, who is examined only in the court just like all other officers of state (for all who are appointed either by lot or vote hold office only after examination), but the nine archons are examined before the Council and again in court. In former days no one could hold office if he were rejected by the Council, but now there is appeal to the court, and with it rests the decision regarding the examination. The questions asked in the examination are as follows: First, who is your father, and of what deme? and who your father’s father, and who your mother, and who your mother’s father, and of what deme? and, after this, if Apollo is his family and Zeus his household god, and where their temples are; then, if they have tombs, and where they are; and, last, if he treats his parents well, and pays his taxes, and has duly performed his military service. Having asked these questions, the examiner says, ‘Call your witnesses to these facts.’ When the witnesses are produced he asks further, ‘Has anyone any accusation to bring against this man?’ and if no one comes forward, after giving opportunity for accusation and defence, he proposes the show of hands in the Council and in the court the vote. And if no one wants to accuse, he at once gives his vote. Formerly one only put his pebble into the urn, but now all must do so. Further, the right exists of passing a vote about them with the object, if any bad man gets his accusers out of the way, of putting it in the power of the jurors to reject him. When the examination has been concluded in this way, they walk up to the stone underneath which are the treasuries, and on which the arbitrators take their oath and declare their awards, and witnesses solemnly swear to their evidence. Mounting this stone, they swear that they will discharge the duties of their office faithfully and according to the laws, and that they will not take bribes in connection with their office, and if they should they will make a votive offering of a gold statue. After this oath they walk to the Acropolis, and take it again in the same terms there, and after this they enter upon their office.