the public proof or testing of qualifications at Athens, was of several
kinds:--I. Of each citizen on attaining legal majority. The Athenian first
entered upon the full enjoyment of the rights of citizenship after the
completion of his thirtieth year, before which age he was eligible neither
for public office, nor to the council, nor to serve as a juryman. But the
right of attendance at the general assemblies and of participation in the
voting, nay, even of speaking in them, was at least not expressly forbidden
him from his twentieth year onward; although discreet and sensible young men
kept away of their own accord. Full age, as regarded private legal
relations, began properly at the completion of the eighteenth year [EPHEBUS
]. Before young men were
declared to be of full age, however, they were subjected to an examination
which partly had
reference to their bodily maturity, in order to ascertain whether they were
capable of the military services imposed on them at this age; partly, in the
cases of orphans and the sons of heiresses, to their capability of managing
their property for themselves. Finally, a proof might be demanded in the
course of it of the genuineness of their descent as citizens. The
examination with regard to the first and third point was undertaken in an
assembly of the Demotae or inhabitants of their district, and as it seems by
the older men, and especially those who were Heliastae. (Aristoph. Wasps 578
.) That relating to
the second point might be instituted before the Phratria. The phrase
ἐπὶ δίετες ἡβῆσαι,
the military age and civil majority (Aeschin. c. Ctes.
§ 122; Lex ap. Demosth. ii. c. Steph.
is now explained, after Schömann, of the completion of the
eighteenth year, in accordance with the precise language of the writer in
p. 255, 15: τὸ ἐπὶ
δίετες ἡβῆσαι: τὸ γενέσθαι ἐτῶν ὀκτωκαίδεκα: ἴνα ἥβη ᾖ
τὸ ἑκκαίδεκα ἐτῶν γενέσθαι
p. 69 ff.; Antiq.
T.; Hermann, Privatalterth.
§ 56, n. 11;
p. 322; A. Schaefer,
Demosthenes und seine Zeit,
iii. pt. 2, p. 35; Sandys on
Dem. c. Steph.
l.c.). The older scholars, following
Harpocration and Pollux (8.105), made ἥβη
the eighteenth, coming of age the twentieth year. In cases of immaturity of
body and mind the dokimasia might, it seems, be postponed within certain
limits: Schömann supposes that “among the Athenians no one
particular period was appointed for being enrolled, provided that it was
not done before the attainment of the eighteenth, nor after the
completion of the twentieth year.”
II. Of magistrates and public officers. When any citizen of Athens was
either appointed by lot, or chosen by suffrage (κληρωτὸς καὶ αἱρετός
), to hold a public office, he was
obliged, before entering on its duties, to submit to a dokimasia, or
scrutiny into his previous life and conduct, in which any person could
object to him as unfit. This was the case with the archons, the senators,
the strategi, and other magistrates. The examination, or anakrisis, for the
archonship was conducted by the senators, or in the courts of the heliaea.
The term for rejection was ἀποδοκιμάζειν
(Lys. c. Agorat.
§ 10, c. Evand.
§ § 6, 14; [Dem.] c. Aristog.
i. p. 779.30,
III. Of orators. Though not holding any office, orators are opposed to
or public characters ([Dem.]
iv. p. 150.70; Aeschin. c. Tim.
§ 7). As such, they were liable to the denouncement of an inquiry
) against those
who spoke in the assembly while leading profligate lives, or after having
committed flagitious crimes. This denouncement might be made in public by
any one πρὸς δοκιμασίαν τοῦ βίου,
to compel the party complained of to appear before a court of justice and
give an account of his life and conduct. If found guilty, he was punished
with atimia and excluded from the assemblies (Aeschin. c.
§ § 2, 28, 32, 81; Dem. c.
p. 602.29). [EPANGELIA
IV. Of the cavalry (ἱππέων
), a muster
before the βουλὴ
or senate (Xenoph.
3.9). The neglect of it involved expulsion from
the service and atimia (Lys. c. Alcib.
1.8, 2.5; pro
V. Of invalids (ADYNATOI).