beating to death with sticks, cudgels, or clubs (τὸ
τυμπάνω ἀποκτεῖναι, ὅπερ ἐστὶ ξύλον ὥσπερ ῥόπαλον,
p. 198), is mentioned as a mode of execution at
Athens and elsewhere. It resembled, but was probably not identical with, the
an exclusively military
It is a question of some importance, as bearing on the Greek and especially
the Athenian character, whether this and other cruel punishments were
confined to slaves and aliens, or inflicted also upon free citizens. By far
the most probable opinion is, that they were absolutely prohibited by Attic
law in the case of the fully enfranchised; but, as in other things, the
practice in bad times may not have been quite on a level with the theory.
One Menestratus, who had been an informer under the Thirty, and was
apparently a citizen, suffered this punishment as a murderer (ἀνδροφόνος
) under the restored democracy (Lys.
§ § 55, 56); but whether as
an act of popular vengeance, or in consequence of a fresh crime, is not
stated. In the same speech, two brothers of the defendant are said to have
been thus put to death: one by Lamachus in the Sicilian expedition for
sending [p. 1.144]
the enemy secret intelligence by
fire-signals (this would have been under martial law); the other as a
: but we are expressly told
that Agoratus was the son of a slave (Lys. l.c.
§ § 67, 68). It is curious that Demosthenes in three
passages somewhat brutally expresses a wish that this punishment had been
inflicted on traitors, but nowhere mentions as a fact that it was so
p. 104.61 ; Phil.
126.61; de Fals. Leg.
p. 388.137). The practice among
barbarians or under tyrannies such as that of Aristion (or Athenion) is
clearly irrelevant to this question (Ath. 4.154
c, 5.214 d); and it would not be safe to infer from the one doubtful
instance in Lysias, that Athenian citizens were liable to be thus punished.
Perrot (L‘Éloquence politique à
p. 130) holds that they were not; Caillemer
the reverse (ap. D. and S.). The kindred question, whether torture to
extract evidence was permissible in the case of citizens, is discussed under