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AR´GIAS GRAPHE´

AR´GIAS GRAPHE´ (ἀργίας γραφή), that is, an action for idleness. Vagrants and idlers were not tolerated at Athens from very early times, and every person was obliged to be able to state by what means he supported himself. (Hdt. 2.177; Diod. 1.77.) According to some (Plut. Sol. 37; Pollux, 8.42), even Draco had enacted laws against idleness, while, according to others, Solon, in his legislation, borrowed these laws from the Egyptians, and others again state that Peisistratus was the first who introduced them at Athens (Plut. Sol. 31). In accordance with this law, which is called ἀργίας νόμος, all poor people were obliged to signify that they were carrying on some honourable business by which they gained their livelihood (Dem. c. Eubul. p. 1308.32; Isocrat. Areopag. § 44; Dionys. A. R. 20.2) and if a person by his idleness injured his family, an action might be brought against him before the archon eponymus, not only by a member of his family, but by any one who chose to do so (Lexic. Seguer. p. 310). At the time when the Areiopagus was still in the full possession of its powers, the archon seems to have laid the charge before the court of the Areiopagus. If the action was brought against a person for the first time, a fine might be inflicted on him; and if he was found guilty a second or third time, he might be punished with ἀτιμία (Pollux, 8.42). Draco had ordained atimia as the penalty even for the first conviction of idleness (Plut., Poll., ll. cc.). This law was modified by Solon, who inflicted atimia only when a person was convicted a third time, and it is doubtful as to whether in later times the atimia was inflicted at all for idleness. As the Areiopagus was entrusted with the general superintendence of the moral conduct of citizens, it is probable that it might interfere in cases of ἀργια, even when no one came forward to bring an action against a person guilty of it. It seems probable, however, that the ἀργίας γραφὴ was not under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Areiopagus, but came also before the dicastae in the ordinary courts. (Plut. Lyc. 24; V. Max. 2.6, 4; Platner, Process, ii. p. 150, &c. Meier and Schömann, Att. Proc. pp. 193, 298, &c.; Boeckh, P. E. p. 475.) Similar laws are said to have existed at Corinth (Athen. 6.227), in Sardinia (Aelian, Ael. VH 4.1), and in Lucania (Stob. Flor. 44.41).

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