previous next

PRO´BOLE

PRO´BOLE (προβολή), an 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, after the 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 Libanius (argum. Dem. c. Mid. p. 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 ὑποτιμήσεως), 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 and τιμᾶν). The complainant was not bound to follow up the judgment of the popular assembly by proceeding to trial; this is evident from Aeschin. c. Ctes. § 52: on the other hand, it seems doubtful, though Platner is of a different opinion (Proc. u. Klag. i. 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 was applied were complaints against magistrates for official misconduct or other wrong-doings (Harpocr. s. v. καταχειροτονία; Bekk. Anecd. 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 κλῆσις εἰς δίκην κατὰ τῶν κακόνως τρὸς τὸν δῆμον διακειμένων, cannot be taken to mean that disaffection to the state was one of the cases, as the following words show, προβολαὶ δὲ γίγνονται, etc., and Lex. Rhet. Cantabr. p. 676, 24 f., κατὰ τῶν τὰ δημόσια μέταλλα ὑπορυττόντων, etc., refers to φάσις (Meier ad l.c.).

With respect to magistrates, Schömann (de Comit. p. 231 f.) thinks that the προβολαὶ could only be brought against them at those ἐπιχειροτονίαι which were held at the first κυρία ἐκκλησία 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. Theocr. p. 1330.27 f. The people (says Schömann) could not proceed to the ἐπιχειροτονία except on the complaint (προβολὴ) 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 against sycophants 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. 1.7, § 34; cf. Fränkel, Att. Geschworenger. p. 88). Another occurs in Lys. c. Agor. § 65, where the words καὶ ἐν τῷ δήμῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ δικαστηρίῳ συκοφαντίας αὐτοῦ κατέγνωτε describe the course of proceeding in this method of prosecution.

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 technically ἀσεβεῖν, 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 προβολαὶ were enjoined against such persons by special laws: thus the νόμος περὶ τῶν Διονυσίων 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 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 Mid.) criticisms, enumerates τὰ Διονύσια ἐν Πειραιεῖ, τὰ Λήναια, τὰ Διονύσια ἐν ἄστει and τὰ Θαργήλια, thus omitting the Anthesteria from, and mixing up the Thargelia with, the νόμος περὶ τῶν Διονυσίων (cf. Philippi, 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, λες 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, lex l.c.). Both parties were heard (Dem. c. Mid. 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 ἀποχειροτονεῖν. 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, 34). The 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. p. 524.32 (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. 81.)

[C.R.K] [H.H]

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: