[172e] and the other party in the suit does not permit them to talk about anything they please, but stands over them exercising the law's compulsion by reading the brief, from which no deviation is allowed (this is called the affidavit);1 and their discourse is always about a fellow slave and is addressed to a master who sits there holding some case or other in his hands; and the contests never run an indefinite course, but are always directed to the point at issue, and often the race is for the defendant's life.
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1 In Athenian legal procedure each party to a suit presented a written statement—the charge and the reply—at a preliminary hearing. These statements were subsequently confirmed by oath, and the sworn statement was called διωμοσία or ἀντωμοσία, which is rendered above by “affidavit” as the nearest English equivalent.
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