accusation of a criminal nature, preferred before the people of Athens in
assembly, with a view to obtaining their sanction for bringing the charge
before a judicial tribunal. It may be compared in this one respect (viz.
that it was a preliminary step to a more formal trial) with our application
for a criminal information; though, in regard to the object and mode of
proceeding, there is not much resemblance. The προβολὴ
was reserved for those cases where the public had
sustained an injury, or where, from the station, power or influence of the
delinquent, the prosecutor might deem it hazardous to proceed in the
ordinary way, without being authorised by a vote of the sovereign assembly.
In this point it differed from the εἰσαγγελία,
that in the latter the people were called upon
either to pronounce final judgment or to direct some peculiar method of
trial; whereas in the προβολή,
judgment of the assembly, the parties proceeded to the trial in the usual
manner. The court before whom they appeared, however influenced they might
be by the praejudicium
of the people, were
under no legal compulsion to abide by their decision; for the view of
Dem. c. Mid.
509), whom Bake (Schol. Hypomn.
iii. p. 43 ff.) and in a
modified form Hermann (Quaest. de prob.
p. 8 ff.) follow,
viz. that the court merely fixed the penalty (περὶ
), is proved to be erroneous by passages like
Dem. c. Mid.
p. 546.97, p. 578.199, p. 580.204 ff., which
speak of the possibility of an acquittal; and by p. 562.151, which
distinguishes the two votes of the court (καταψηφίζεσθαι
The complainant was not bound to follow up the judgment of the popular
assembly by proceeding to trial; this is evident from Aeschin. c.
§ 52: on the other hand, it seems doubtful,
though Platner is of a different opinion (Proc. u. Klag.
p. 382), whether, if the people refused to give judgment in favour of the
complainant, he might still proceed against his adversary by a γραφὴ
or a private action, according to the
nature of the case.
The cases to which the προβολὴ
were complaints against magistrates for official misconduct or other
wrong-doings (Harpocr. s. v. καταχειροτονία;
p. 268, 27 ff.);
against those public informers and mischiefmakers who were called συκοφάνται
(Isocr. de Permut.
§ 314; Aeschin. F. L.
§ 145, and Schol. ad l.c.;
Pollux, 8.46), and against those who
outraged public decency at certain religious festivals. This probably does
not exhaust the list of cases in which the προβολὴ
might be resorted to; however, the beginning of Pollux's
(8.46) paragraph, προβολὴ ἡ κλῆσις εἰς δίκην
κατὰ τῶν κακόνως τρὸς τὸν δῆμον διακειμένων,
taken to mean that disaffection to the state was one of the cases, as the
following words show, προβολαὶ δὲ
etc., and Lex. Rhet. Cantabr.
24 f., κατὰ τῶν τὰ δημόσια μέταλλα
etc., refers to φάσις
(Meier ad l.c.
With respect to magistrates, Schömann (de
p. 231 f.) thinks that the προβολαὶ
could only be brought against them at those ἐπιχειροτονίαι
which were held at the first
in every prytany, when
the people inquired into the conduct of magistrates, with a view to
continuing them in office or deposing them, according to their deserts. An
example of magistrates being so deposed occurs in [Dem.] c.
p. 1330.27 f. The people (says Schömann) could not
proceed to the ἐπιχειροτονία
except on the
) of some individual; the
deposed magistrate was afterwards brought to trial, if the accuser thought
proper to prosecute the matter further. Platner (l.c.
p. 385) objects to limiting the προβολὴ
against magistrates to these particular occasions. It
seems more probable, however, that this kind of προβολὴ
against magistrates never existed at all, there
being no need for it by the side of the ἐπιχειροτονίαι,
and the grammarians who mention it in all
probability use the term inaccurately.
An example of a προβολὴ
is that which the people, discovering too late their error in putting to
death the generals who gained the battle of Arginusae, directed to be
brought against their accusers (Xen. Hell.
, § 34; cf. Fränkel, Att.
p. 88). Another occurs in Lys. c.
§ 65, where the words καὶ ἐν
τῷ δήμῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ δικαστηρίῳ συκοφαντίας αὐτοῦ
describe the course of proceeding in this method of
But the προβολὴ
which has become most
celebrated, owing to the speech of Demosthenes against Meidias, is that
which was brought against persons who had been guilty at certain festivals
of such an offence as would fall within the description of ἀδικεῖν περὶ τὴν ἑορτήν
(p. 514.1, less
p. 578.199; p.
587.227; and Schol. Aeschin. F. L.
§ 145: cf. the
instances in Dem. c. Mid.
p. 571.175 ff.; p. 584.218). The
were enjoined against such
persons by special laws: thus the νόμος περὶ τῶν
was not yet in force at the time when Alcibiades
acted as choregus (p. 562.147), and the same enactment was later on extended
to the Mysteries (p. 571.175), and probably to other festivals. (Pollux says
in general, περὶ τῶν ἐξυβρισάντων ἢ
ἀσεβησάντων περὶ τὰς ἑορτάς.
) The law inserted in p.
517.10, which Foucart (Sur l'Authenticité de la Loi
d'Evegoras, Revue de Philol.
1877) defends as genuine against
Westermann's (de litis instrum. quae extant in Dem. or. in
) criticisms, enumerates τὰ Διονύσια
ἐν Πειραιεῖ, τὰ Λήναια, τὰ Διονύσια ἐν ἄστει
thus omitting the
Anthesteria from, and mixing up the Thargelia with, the νόμος περὶ τῶν Διονυσίων
Adnot. ad leg. form. quae in Dem. Mid. extant
). A riot or
disturbance during the ceremony, an assault, or other gross insult or
outrage, committed upon any of the performers or spectators of the games,
whether citizen or foreigner, and even upon a slave, much more upon a
magistrate or officer engaged in superintending the performance; an attempt
to imprison [p. 2.493]
by legal process, and even a levying
of execution upon the goods of a debtor, during the continuance of the
festival, was held to be a profanation of its sanctity, and to subject the
offender to the penalties of these statutes.
The complaint was made (προβάλλεσθαί τινα
probably in writing, to the Proedri, who had to bring forward the charge as
soon as possible at an assembly of the people (that of misbehaviour at the
Dionysia, at an assembly held in the theatre of Dionysus, μετὰ τὰ Πάνδια,
Dem. c. Mid.
p. 517.9; C. I. A.
ii. No. 554 b; τῆ
ὑστεραίᾳ τῶν Πανδίων,
in Dem. l.c.
§ 8; cf. also Aeschin. F. L.
§ 61), those
cases excepted for which the senate was empowered to impose a fine (ὅσαι ἂν μὴ ἐκτετισμέναι ὦσιν,
). Both parties were heard (Dem. c.
p. 580.206), and then the people proceeded to vote by show
of hands. Those who voted in favour of the prosecution were said καταχειροτονεῖν
: those who were against it
The people having
given their sentence for the prosecution, the complainant might either drop
the prosecution, if content with having gained his point before the popular
assembly, or bring the case into the court of Heliaea. In certain cases of a
serious nature the defendant might be required to give bail for his
appearance, or (in default thereof) go to prison (Xen. Hell. 1.7
persons on whom the ἡγεμονία δικαστηρίου
devolved were, according to Pollux (8.87), the Thesmothetae: that this
information is correct is evident from Dem. c. Mid.
(τῶν θεσμοθετῶν τούτων
). The dicasts
had to pronounce their verdict on the guilt of the party, and, after this,
probably the complainant proposed a penalty (death or a fine), which they
had to assess. The trial, it seems, was attended with no risk to the
prosecutor, who was considered to proceed under the authority of the popular
decree. (Att. Process,
ed. Lipsius, pp. 335-344; p. 229, n.