Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. LVI.: The archon (Eponymus); his duties. - Constitution of Athens
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CHAP. LVI.: The archon (Eponymus); his duties. - 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 archon (Eponymus); his duties.
The archon and king and commander-in-chief take assessors, two each, whomever they like; these are examined in the court before they can act, and after appointment are responsible for their official conduct. The archon, as soon as ever he enters on office, first makes proclamation that, whatever a man possessed before he entered on office, that he shall possess and be master of to the end of his term of office. Then he provides Choregi for the tragic poets, the three richest men of all the Athenians. Formerly he used also to provide five for the comic poets, but for them the tribes now contribute. After receiving the Choregi brought by the tribes for the Dionysia for men and boys and comic actors, and for the Thargelia for men and boys (those for the Dionysia being furnished by tribes, and for the Thargelia, one for two tribes, each of the two tribes contributing its quota for these), he makes the challenges and brings forward the excuses. . . . For the Choregus who furnishes boys must be more than forty years of age. He appoints also for Delos Choregi, and the chief priest for the vessel with thirty benches that takes the young men. And he used to superintend the processions of the festival in honour of Asklepius, when the initiated keep within doors, and of the great Dionysia, in conjunction with its superintendents, whom in former days the people used to vote to the number of ten, and they used to defray out of their own pockets the expenses of the procession; but now it appoints by lot one from each tribe, and gives a hundred minæ to the preparations for it. He superintends also the procession in the Thargelia and that in honour of Zeus the Saviour. He too manages the games of the Dionysia, as well as of the Thargelia. Leave to make public indictments and bring private actions is obtained from him, and after holding a preliminary inquiry, he brings them into court as follows: ill-treatment of the young (in which anyone can prosecute who likes, without incurring any penalty), ill-treatment of orphans (these are against their guardians), ill-treatment of an heir (these are against his guardian and those whom he lives with), damage to a house belonging to an orphan (these are also against the guardians), mental derangement (when anyone accuses another of ruining himself by reason of mental derangement), the appointment of distributers when anyone refuses to divide property that is held in common, appointment of guardians, settlement of disputed claims of guardianship, if several wish to make a man guardian of the same female ward, and settlement of disputed claims in cases of inheritances and only daughters and heiresses. He superintends also the charge of orphans and heirs, and of all such women as on the death of their husbands claim to be pregnant. He has power also to punish wrong-doers, or to bring them before the court. He lets also the houses of orphans and heirs . . . and becomes distributer and receives the mortgages . . . gives the children the food which he gets in. So he superintends all these matters.