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Of all the official systems established among the Greeks, that in vogue among the Athenians is the best known to us. The qualifications for public office at Athens were genuine Athenian descent, blameless life, and the full possession of civic rights. If religious duties were attached to the office, physical weakness was a disqualification. No one was allowed to hold two offices at a time, or the same office twice or for a longer period than a year. The nomination was made in some cases by election, in others by the drawing of lots. Election took place by show of hands in the ecclesia, or, on the mandate of the ecclesia, in the assemblies of the several tribes. (See CHEIROTONIA, ECCLESIA.) In election by lot [on the introduction of which see Note on p. 706) the proceeding was as follows. The Thesmothetoe presided in the temple of Theseus. (See THESMOTHETAe.) Two boxes or vessels were placed there, one containing white and coloured beans, and the other the names of the candidates, written on tablets. A tablet and a bean were taken out at the same time, and the candidate whose name came out with a white bean was elected. Before entering on his office (whether he had been chosen by lot or election), every official had to undergo an examination of his qualifications (dokimasia). If the result was unfavourable, a substitute was appointed, either by a simultaneous casting of lots in the manner described, or (if the office was elective) by a new election. During their term of office the officials were subject to constant supervision, and were liable to suspension or deposition by the Ecclesia, through the proceeding called epicheirotonia (a new show of hands). On the expiration of his term, every official was bound to give an account of himself (euthyna). The regular officials, had each a place of office (archeion). If the officials formed a society, as in the majority of cues, the business was (so far as joint administration was possible) distributed among the members. If the society appeared in public as a whole, one of the members presided as prytanis. (See PRYTANIS.) In the cases at law which came under their jurisdiction, it was incumbent on the officials to make the necessary arrangements for the trial, and to preside in court. They received no salary, but their meals were provided at the public expense, either at their residences or in the Prytaneum. The emblem of office was a garland of myrtle. The offence of insulting an official in the performance of his duty was punishable with atimia. (See, for details, APODECTAe, ARCHONTES, ASTYNOMI, EPIMELETAeE, COLACRETAe, POLETAeE, STRATEGI, TAMIAS.) There were numerous attendants on the officials (hyperetai), who received a salary, and their meals at the public expense. Such were the clerks (grammateis) and heralds (kerykes). For Sparta, see EPHORS for Rome, MAGISTRATUS, ACCENSI, LICTORS, APPARITOR.
Type: Standard
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