) indicates. both the aggregate judges that sat in
court and the place itself in which they held their sittings. For an account
of the former, the reader is referred to the article DICASTES: with respect to the latter, our information is very
imperfect. In the earlier ages there were five celebrated places at Athens
set apart for the sittings of the judges, who had cognizance of the graver
causes in which the loss of human life was avenged or expiated, viz. the
Areiopagites. and the Ephetae. These places were on the Areiopagus [AREIOPAGUS
]; in the
Palladium, a sacred place in the south-eastern part of the city; in the
Delphinium, a place sacred to the Delphian Apollo in the same district; in
the Prytaneum, the ancient sacred hearth of the State, to the north-east of
the Acropolis; and finally at Phreatto or Phreattys, in the Peiraeus, at the
inlet of Zea. (Schömann, Antiq.
1.465, E. T.; and
the great passage in Dem. c. Aristocr.
pp. 641-646.) The
antiquity of these four last is sufficiently vouched for by the archaic
character of the division of the causes that were appropriated to each: in
the first we are told that accidental deaths were discussed; in the second,
homicides confessed, but justified; in the third there were quasi-trials of
inanimate things, which, by falling and the like, had occasioned a loss of
human life [APSYCHON DIKÉ]; in the
fourth, homicides who had returned from exile, and committed a fresh
manslaughter, were appointed to be tried. With respect to these ancient
institutions, of which little more than the name remained when the
historical age commenced, it will be sufficient to observe that, in
accordance with the ancient Greek feeling respecting homicide, viz. that it
involved ceremonial pollution in all cases, irrespective of the degree of
criminality, the presiding judge was invariably the king archon, the
Athenian rex sacrorum; and that the places in which the trials were held
were open to the sky, to avoid the contamination which the judges might
incur by being under the same roof with a murderer. (Antiph. de Caed.
§ 11; PHONOU
DIKÉ.) The places, however, remained after the office of the
judges who originally sat there was abolished; and they appear from
Demosthenes (c. Neaer.
p. 1348.9) to have been occasionally
used by the ordinary Heliastic judges when trying a cause of the kind to
which they were originally appropriated. The Heliaea properly so called, and
probably the majority of [p. 1.627]
the Heliastic courts,
were situated in the Agora; others in various parts of the city. The
statement that there were not more than ten of these is probably erroneous,
according to Schömann (op. cit.
and due to a confusion between the ten sections of dicasts and the
localities where they held their sittings, the name δικαστήριον
being common to both. Besides the Heliaea, the
first in numbers and importance, the following are named: the Parabyston
), in which the ἕνδεκα
presided, and which is said to have
received its name from its position in a remote quarter of the city (cf.
Dem. c. Timocr.
p. 715.47); the Dicasterion of Metiochus or
Metichus, and that of Calleas (τὸ
), probably named after their builders; the Green Court
and the Red Court
), the Middle Court
), the Greater Court (Μεῖζον
), the New Court (Καινόν
), the Triangular Court (Τρίγωνον
), and the Dicasterion at the holy place of Lycus
), probably near the
Lyceum without the city. Dicasteries near the walls, and in the street of
the Hermoglyphi, are mentioned with no further indication of their name. The
Odeum, too, a building erected by Pericles and properly destined for musical
performances, was used for the sittings of Heliastic courts ([Dem.]
p. 1362.152); and so probably were other places
of which no mention is found. (Schömann, l.c.
) The dicasts sat upon wooden benches, which were covered with
rugs or matting (ψιαθία
), and there were
elevations or tribunes (βήματα
), upon which
the antagonist advocates stood during their address to the court. The space
occupied by the persons engaged in the trial was protected by a railing
from the intrusion of the
bystanders; but in causes which bore upon the violation of the mysteries, a
further space of fifty feet all round was enclosed by a rope, and the
security of this barrier guaranteed by the presence of the public slaves.
(Meier, Att. Proc.
pp. 11, 41 ff)
. The dicasteries
casteries existed at least as early as the time of Solon (100.9), a point
which has been regarded as doubtful. The dicasticon is here expressly
referred to Pericles as its author (100.27): no other amount than three
obols is mentioned (100.62). The usual number of the jury in civil cases was
201 if the amount was below 1000 drachmas; above that sum 401 (Ἀθ. πολ.