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DICASTE´RION (δικαστήριον) indicates. both the aggregate judges that sat in court and the place itself in which they held their sittings. For an account of the former, the reader is referred to the article DICASTES: with respect to the latter, our information is very imperfect. In the earlier ages there were five celebrated places at Athens set apart for the sittings of the judges, who had cognizance of the graver causes in which the loss of human life was avenged or expiated, viz. the Areiopagites. and the Ephetae. These places were on the Areiopagus [AREIOPAGUS]; in the Palladium, a sacred place in the south-eastern part of the city; in the Delphinium, a place sacred to the Delphian Apollo in the same district; in the Prytaneum, the ancient sacred hearth of the State, to the north-east of the Acropolis; and finally at Phreatto or Phreattys, in the Peiraeus, at the inlet of Zea. (Schömann, Antiq. 1.465, E. T.; and the great passage in Dem. c. Aristocr. pp. 641-646.) The antiquity of these four last is sufficiently vouched for by the archaic character of the division of the causes that were appropriated to each: in the first we are told that accidental deaths were discussed; in the second, homicides confessed, but justified; in the third there were quasi-trials of inanimate things, which, by falling and the like, had occasioned a loss of human life [APSYCHON DIKÉ]; in the fourth, homicides who had returned from exile, and committed a fresh manslaughter, were appointed to be tried. With respect to these ancient institutions, of which little more than the name remained when the historical age commenced, it will be sufficient to observe that, in accordance with the ancient Greek feeling respecting homicide, viz. that it involved ceremonial pollution in all cases, irrespective of the degree of criminality, the presiding judge was invariably the king archon, the Athenian rex sacrorum; and that the places in which the trials were held were open to the sky, to avoid the contamination which the judges might incur by being under the same roof with a murderer. (Antiph. de Caed. Her. § 11; PHONOU DIKÉ.) The places, however, remained after the office of the judges who originally sat there was abolished; and they appear from Demosthenes (c. Neaer. p. 1348.9) to have been occasionally used by the ordinary Heliastic judges when trying a cause of the kind to which they were originally appropriated. The Heliaea properly so called, and probably the majority of [p. 1.627]the Heliastic courts, were situated in the Agora; others in various parts of the city. The statement that there were not more than ten of these is probably erroneous, according to Schömann (op. cit. p. 476), and due to a confusion between the ten sections of dicasts and the localities where they held their sittings, the name δικαστήριον being common to both. Besides the Heliaea, the first in numbers and importance, the following are named: the Parabyston (παράβυστον), in which the ἕνδεκα presided, and which is said to have received its name from its position in a remote quarter of the city (cf. Dem. c. Timocr. p. 715.47); the Dicasterion of Metiochus or Metichus, and that of Calleas (τὸ Κάλλειον), probably named after their builders; the Green Court (Βατραχιοῦν and the Red Court (Φοινικιοῦν), the Middle Court (Μέσον), the Greater Court (Μεῖζον), the New Court (Καινόν), the Triangular Court (Τρίγωνον), and the Dicasterion at the holy place of Lycus (ἐπὶ Λύκὼ), probably near the Lyceum without the city. Dicasteries near the walls, and in the street of the Hermoglyphi, are mentioned with no further indication of their name. The Odeum, too, a building erected by Pericles and properly destined for musical performances, was used for the sittings of Heliastic courts ([Dem.] c. Neaer. p. 1362.152); and so probably were other places of which no mention is found. (Schömann, l.c.) The dicasts sat upon wooden benches, which were covered with rugs or matting (ψιαθία), and there were elevations or tribunes (βήματα), upon which the antagonist advocates stood during their address to the court. The space occupied by the persons engaged in the trial was protected by a railing (δρύφακτοι from the intrusion of the bystanders; but in causes which bore upon the violation of the mysteries, a further space of fifty feet all round was enclosed by a rope, and the security of this barrier guaranteed by the presence of the public slaves. (Meier, Att. Proc. pp. 11, 41 ff)

(Appendix). The dicasteries casteries existed at least as early as the time of Solon (100.9), a point which has been regarded as doubtful. The dicasticon is here expressly referred to Pericles as its author (100.27): no other amount than three obols is mentioned (100.62). The usual number of the jury in civil cases was 201 if the amount was below 1000 drachmas; above that sum 401 (Ἀθ. πολ. 100.53).

[J.S.M] [W.W]

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