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CHREOUS DIKÉ (χρέους δίκη), a simple action for debt, belongs to the class of cases arising upon an alleged breach of contract, like the actions ἀργυρίου, ἀφορμῆς, συμβολαίων, or συνθηκῶν. It must have been the usual mode of proceeding open to creditors (Caillemer, 9me Étude, p. 31); but there is little information as to the precise distinction between it and kindred suits. In all these cases, small debts under ten drachmas were recoverable before the itinerant magistrates, δικασταὶ κατὰ δήμους, afterwards called the Forty (οἱ τετταράκοντα): above that amount, they came before the courts of the thesmothetae. If the cause could be classed among the ἔμμηνοι δίκαι, as, for instance, when the debt arose upon a mercantile transaction, the thesmothetae would still have jurisdiction in it, though one of the parties to the suit were an alien, otherwise it seems that when such a person was the defendant, it was brought into the court of the polemarch. (Meier, Att. Proc. p. 55.) If the cause were treated as a δίκη ἐμπορική, as above mentioned, the plaintiff would forfeit a sixth part of the sum contested, upon failing to obtain the votes of one-fifth of the dicasts (Suid. s. v. ἐπωβελία); but we are not informed whether this regulation was applicable, under similar circumstances, in all prosecutions for debt. We have examples of χρέους δίκη in a speech of Lysias against Aeschines, the disciple of Socrates (Lys. Fragm. i. ed. Teubner, B. ed. Oxon.): and in the speech against Timotheus, included among the orations of Demosthenes.

[J.S.M] [W.W]

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