), 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
.) According to some (Plut. Sol.
; 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.
). 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.
§ 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
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
(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,
when no one came forward to bring an action against a person guilty of it.
It seems probable, however, that the ἀργίας
was not under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Areiopagus,
but came also before the dicastae in the ordinary courts. (Plut. Lyc. 24
; V. Max.
ii. p. 150, &c. Meier and Schömann,
pp. 193, 298, &c.; Boeckh, P.
p. 475.) Similar laws are said to have existed at Corinth
), in Sardinia
(Aelian, Ael. VH 4.1
), and in Lucania (Stob.