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CRITAE (κριταί), i. e. judges, a name applied by the Greeks to any person who did not judge of a thing as a δικαστής, according to positive law, but according to his own personal sense of justice and equity. (Hdt. 3.160; Demosth. Olynth. i. fin. c. Mid. p. 520.17.) But at Athens a number of κριταὶ were chosen by ballot from a number of selected candidates at every celebration of the Dionysia, and were called οἱ κριταὶ κατ᾽ ἐξοχήν. Their office was to judge of the merit of the different choruses and dramatic poems, and to award the prizes to the victors. (Isocr. Trapez. § 33, with Coraes' note.) Their number is stated by Suidas (s. v. Ἐν πέντε κριτῶν γούνασι) to have been five for comedies, and G. Hermann has supposed, with great probability, that there were on the whole ten κριταί, five for comedy and the same number for tragedy, one being taken from every tribe. The expression in Aristophanes (Aristoph. Birds 421), νικᾶν πᾶσι τοῖς κριταῖς, signifies to gain the victory by the unanimous consent of the five judges. For the complete literature of this subject, see K. F. Hermann, § 149, n. 13.


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