Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. LVII.: The king archon; his duties. - Constitution of Athens
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CHAP. LVII.: The king archon; 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 king archon; his duties.
The king, in the first place, has the management of the mysteries in conjunction with the superintendents whom the people elect, two in number, out of the whole body of Athenians, one from the Eumolpidæ and one from the Heralds; and secondly of the Lenæan Dionysia . . . this procession then the king and the superintendents conduct in common; but the king arranges the games. He arranges also all the torchraces. And it is he, so to say, who manages all the ancient sacrifices. Leave to bring actions for profaneness is obtained from him, and in the case of any dispute about priesthood he awards the penalty. It is he who adjudicates all disputes about honours between families and priests. From him leave is obtained to bring the action in all cases of murder, and it is he who proclaims interdiction from customary rights. Now, there are actions both for murder and wounding. In murder of malice prepense, the case is tried in the Areopagus, and so with poisoning and arson; for the only cases that the Council tries are homicide, unintentional or intentional, if the person killed is a servant, either a resident-alien or foreigner, and the trial is then held in the Palladium. If a person admits an act of homicide, but justifies it as legal, as catching an adulterer, or in war from not knowing who he was, or when competing in a contest, they hold the trial in the Palladium. If a person has to remain in exile on a charge of murder or wounding, under circumstances in which the relatives may relent, the trial is held in the Phreatto; and he makes his defence in a boat moored off the shore, and commissioners appointed by lot conduct the trial, except in cases that come before the Areopagus: and the king introduces the suit and they try it . . . and in the open air. And the king, when he tries the case, takes off his crown. The accused for the rest of the time is not allowed to take part in religious services, and no one can bring the charge against him; then entering the temple he makes his defence; and when anyone declares who has committed the act, he obtains leave to bring an action against him. And the king and the tribe-kings try all cases concerning things without life, as well as all animals.