the language of the Attic law, does not signify every kind of ill-treatment,
but: 1. The ill-treatment of parents by their children (κάκωσις γονέων
). 2. Of women by their husbands
). 3. Of heiresses
(κάκωσις τῶν ἐπικλήρων
). 4. Of
orphans and widows by their guardians or any other persons (κάκωσις τῶν ὀρφανῶν καὶ χηρευουσῶν
). [p. 1.322]
1. κάκωσις γονέων
was committed by those
who struck or reviled their parents, or even were disobedient; by those who
refused them the means of support when they were able to afford it, or did
not bury them after their death and pay them proper honours. (Xen. Mem. 2.2
, § 13; Aristoph. Birds 757
; Suidas, s. v. Ρελαργικὸς νόμος.
) The term γονεῖς
included grandparents and
great-grandparents if surviving (Isae. Ciron.
It was no justification for children that their parents had treated them
badly. If, however, they were illegitimate, or had not received a proper
education from their parents, they could not be prosecuted for κάκωσις.
(Meier, Att. Process,
2. κάκωσις γυναικῶν
was committed by
husbands who were unfaithful to their wives or otherwise ill-treated them
(D. L. 4.17
; compare Plut. Alc. 8
), or denied their wives the marriage duties; for by
a law of Solon the husband was bound to visit his wife three times every
month, at least if she was an heiress. (Plut. Sol.
23.) In the comedy of Cratinus, called
the “Wine Flask” (Ρυτίνγ
Comedy was represented as the wife of Cratinus, who brought an action
against him because he neglected her and devoted all his attention to the
wine-flask. (Schol. ad
Aristoph. Kn. 399
3. κάκωσις τῶν ἐπικληρῶν
was committed by
the nearest relatives of poor heiresses, who neither married them
themselves, nor gave them a dowry in order to marry them to persons of their
own rank in life (Lex ap. Dem. c. Macart.
Harpocr. s. vv.
: Suid., Phot. s. v.
); or, if they married them
themselves, did not perform the marriage duties. (Plut. Sol. 20
; Télfy, Corp. Jur. Att.
4. κάκωσις τῶν ὀρφανῶν καὶ χηρευουσῶν
was committed by those who injured in any way either
orphans or widows, both of whom were considered to be in an especial manner
under the protection of the chief archon. (Dem. c. Macart.
l.c.; ὁ ἄρχων, ὅστις ἐπεμελεῖτο τῶν χηρῶν
καὶ τῶν ὀρφανῶν,
Dem. c. Timocr.
) The speech of Isaeus on the Inheritance of
Hagnias is a defence against an εἰσαγγελία
of this kind.
All these cases of κάκωσις
belonged to the
jurisdiction of the chief archon in the case of citizens, or to the
polemarch in the case of metoeki. (Meier, Att. Process,
269; Perrot, Essai sur le Droit Public,
p. 264.) If a person
wronged in any way orphans, heiresses, or widows, the archon could inflict a
fine upon them himself; or, if he considered the person deserving of greater
punishment, could bring him before the heliaea. (Lex ap. Dem. c.
l.c.) Any private individual could also accuse parties
guilty of κάκωσις
by means of laying an
) before the chief
archon, though sometimes the accuser proceeded by means of a regular
), with an ἀνάκρισις
before the archon. (Dem. c.
p. 980.46.) Those who accused persons guilty of
incurred no danger, as was
usually the case, if the defendant was acquitted, and they did not obtain
the fifth part of the votes of the dicasts. (Harpocr. s. v. Εἰσαγγελία
: Dem. c. Pantaen.
l.c.; Isae. Pyrrh.
§ § 46, 47.)
The punishment does not appear to have been fixed for the different cases of
but it was generally severe
(αἱ ἔσχαται τιμωρίαι,
speaking of the case of ἐπίκληροι
). Those found guilty of κάκωσις γονέων
suffered atimia, but were allowed to retain
their property (οὗτοι ἄτιμοι ἦσαν τὰ σώμαρα,
τὰ δὲ χρήμαρα εἷχον,
Andoc. de Myst.
§ 74; Aeschin. c. Timarch.
§ 28; Xen.
l.c.). We reject without hesitation the statement of
Meursius (Them. Att.
1.2), that if the κάκωσις
consisted in beating their parents, the hands of the
offenders might even be cut off. Mutilations of every kind were an
abhorrence to the more civilized Greeks, especially the Athenians.