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ANTID´OSIS (ἀντίδοσις), in its literal and general meaning, “an exchange,” was, in the language of the Attic courts, peculiarly applied to proceedings under a law which is said to have originated with Solon (Dem. c. Phaenipp. init.). It is natural, however, to refer the law to more democratic times; and the orators were in the habit of ascribing to Solon all laws, especially those which they happened to be quoting in a favourable sense. By this law, a citizen nominated to perform a leiturgia, such as a trierarchy or choregia, or to rank among the property-tax payers in a class disproportioned to his means, was empowered to call upon any qualified person not so charged to take the office in his stead, or submit to a complete exchange of property--the charge in question, of course, attaching to the first party, if the exchange were finally effected. For these proceedings the courts were opened at a stated time every year by the magistrates that had official cognisance of the particular subject; such as the strategi in cases of trierarchy and rating to the property-taxes, and the archon in those of choregia. (Dem. c. Phaenipp. p. 1040; Meier, Att. Process, p. 471; προσκαλεῖσθαί τινα εἰς ἀντίδοσιν, Lysias, Or. 24, pro Inval. § 10.) If the person challenged could prove that he had already discharged the leiturgia, or was otherwise lawfully exempted, the magistrates might dismiss the case: otherwise the parties proceeded to a διαδικασία or legal award of their respective claims. Each litigant could now repair to the houses and lands of his antagonist, and secure himself, as all the claims and liabilities of the estate were to be transferred, from fraudulent encumbrances of the real property, by observing what mortgage placards (ὅροι), if any, were fixed upon it, and against clandestine removal of the other effects, by sealing up the chambers that contained them, and, if he pleased, by putting bailiffs in the house. (Dem. c. Phaenipp. pp. 1040, 1041.) An oath was taken by both parties that each would deliver to the other, within three days, a correct inventory (ἀπόφασις) of their respective properties (Dem. c. Phaenipp. p. 1042.11): but in practice the time might be extended by consent of the challenger. All immovable and movable property was transferred in the exchange, with the exception of mines, which were exempted from the extraordinary taxes and leiturgiae, as being already taxed: and all claims and obligations attached to it, and particularly all debts, were included in the transfer, as may be seen from the speech against Phaenippus. The notion of some of the older scholars, that actions not referring to property were also transferred from the one to the other, is justly pronounced by Böckh “too absurd to be imputed to the Athenian law” (Publ. Econ. p. 582, E. T.). The case of Demosthenes, who was challenged to an antidosis by Thrasylochus, in collusion with his guardians, at the moment when he was bringing his action against the latter to recover his property, and who performed the trierarchy rather than surrender his claims, is an instructive example of the operation of this law in real life. (Dem. c. Aphob. ii. pp. 840-1; c. Meid. pp. 539-40.) The speech of Isocrates on the Antidosis is a fiction based on a fact (Jebb, Att. Or. 2.135).

Prof. Mahaffy's remarks on the absurdity of this law are by no means too strong: “It seems simply the legislation of the Athenian mob about property which they had never possessed, and did not understand; for the other alternative--that Athenian properties were small or of a simple nature, like our rentals of estates--is refuted by the many descriptions of property in the orators. It is in fact inexplicable that any intelligent people should have tolerated such a law, and it is conclusive against the business capacity of the men who tolerated it” (Mahaffy, Social Life in Greece, p. 409, ed. 3). J. S. M.]


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