), an action against inanimate objects (ἄψυχα
) which had caused the death of a human
being. It thus somewhat resembled the English law of deodand, lately
abolished. It was tried in the court of the Prytaneum, and, according to
Schömann, partook more of the nature of a religious ceremony than a
judicial proceeding. If the instruments with which a murder had been
committed were captured, and not the murderer himself, these, after the
Ephetae had pronounced their sentence, were conveyed out of the country by
the Phylobasileis, or presidents of the four old-Ionic tribes. In the same
way were treated such things as had accidentally caused the death of any
one. Animals likewise, by which any one had been killed, were here condemned
to death, and then conveyed out of the country. (Pollux, 8.111, 120; Dem.
p. 645.89; Schömann,
1.470, E. T.; comp. Plat. Leg.