πράκτοῤ, one who exacts a penalty; an avenger: as the Erinyes are “πράκτορες αἵματος” ( Aesch. Eum. 319). At Athens the “πράκτορες” were officials who collected fines and penalties (“ἐπιβολαί, τιμήματα”) imposed by law. We have a similar figurative use of a technical term in Soph. Ai. 508“μητέρα” | “πολλῶν ἐτῶν κληροῦχον”: and in Aesch. Eum. 273 the word for an ‘auditor’ who examined the accounts of magistrates is applied to the king of the nether world; “μέγας γὰρ Ἅιδης ἐστὶν εὔθυνος βροτῶν”. There are Shakespearian parallels; e.g., Lear (act 3, sc. 2, 59) calls the raging elements ‘these dreadful summoners’ (officers who warned offenders to appear in court): Hamlet (act 5, sc. 2, Aesch. Eum. 347) speaks of ‘this fell sergeant, death’: and death is ‘that fell arrest without all bail’ (Sonn. 74, 1).
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