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Eisangelia

εἰσαγγελία). Properly, an announcement made in presence of a legal authority. In Attic jurisprudence it was a special form of public prosecution, instituted especially for offences which appeared to inflict injury, directly or indirectly, upon the State, but which it was impracticable to prosecute under the regular and customary procedure. The accusation was put into writing and handed in to the Senate; if the Senate received it the accused was arrested, or had to get three persons to stand surety for him. But if the charge were one of treason or an attack upon the constitution this was not allowed. If the voting on the guilt or innocence of the accused were unfavourable, the Senate itself fixed the penalty, supposing it fell short of the amount which lay within its competence (500 drachmae, or $83). If not, the Senate referred the case at once to one of the courts of the Heliaea, or even to the ἐκκλησία, or Assembly, to which the prosecutor might, indeed, have applied from the first. If the ecclesia decided to take up the case, the first thing it did was to fix the penalty in case there were no legal provisions on this point. It then either entered on the investigation and decided the case or handed it over to a court of law. The name εἰσαγγελία was also given to the prosecution of judges in office for neglect of their duties, and to certain charges lodged before the archons—namely, charges against children for ill-treatment of parents, against husbands for ill-treatment of heiresses, and against guardians for ill-treatment of their wards. See Archon.

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