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ENECHYRA (ἐνέχυρα) meant properly goods, usually movables, handed over to a creditor as security, e. g. bronze ([Dem.] c. Timoth. p. 1190.21), cups and a golden crown (Dem. c. Nicostr. p. 1249.9), slaves (c. Aphob. i. p. 820.24), a horse (Lys. Obtrect. adv. Fam. § 10, etc.: it was forbidden to pledge weapons and agricultural implements, Aristoph. Pl. 450, and Diod. 1.79; likewise ἐπὶ σώματι δανείζειν, Plut. Sol. 15); whilst ὑποθήκη meant usually real property (also ships, [Dem.] c. Lacrit. p. 933.32; Dem. c. Dionys. p. 1283.3: or slaves, c. Pantaen. p. 967.4) mortgaged to the creditor. If the money advanced was not paid back by the time specified, the security passed into the possession of the creditor (Dem. c. Aphob. ii. p. 841.18). (Boeckh, Sthh.3 i. p. 161 ff.; Att. Process, ed. Lipsius, pp. 689-696.)

In private suits at Athens, whether tried by a court of law or before an arbitrator (Dem. c. Callipp. p. 1240.15 f.), whenever judgment was given against a defendant, a certain period was at the same time fixed ( προθεσμία: the plaintiff could agree to a prolongation, [Dem.] c. Euerg. et Mnesib. p. 1154.49 f.), before the expiration of which it was incumbent upon him to comply with the verdict. In default of doing so, he became ὑπερήμερος or over the day, as it was called, and the plaintiff was privileged to take steps against him for non-compliance. Several ways were open to the plaintiff. He could seize upon the goods and chattels of the defendant as a security or compensation (ἐνεχυρασία, ἐνεχυράζειν, ἐνέχυρα λαμβάνεινor φέρειν, ἅπτεσθαι τῶν χρημάτων). This “taking in execution” was probably left to the party who had gained the suit, and it is doubtful whether he had the assistance of a public officer (like the sheriff). On one occasion, indeed, we read of a ὑπηρέτης παρὰ τῆς ἀρχῆς (i.e. ἀποστολεῖς, [Dem.] c. Euerg. p. 1149.33, p. 1150.37), being taken to assist in, or perhaps to be a witness of, a seizure; but that was in a case where public interests were concerned ([Dem.] c. Euerg. p. 1149.35; see Hudtwalcker, Diaet. p. 132); [p. 1.736]from Schol. Aristoph. Cl. 37 (cf. Harp. s. v. δήμαρχος, etc.), however, it would appear that usually, though not necessarily, the demarch accompanied the plaintiff when levying execution to the defendant's house (cf. Bekker, Anecd. 242, 16; see B. W. Leist, Graeco-Ital. Rechtsgesch. p. 493). [Dem.] c. Euerg. p. 1155, § § 52 ff., gives an amusing account of what Englishmen would consider a case of “assault and trespass,” committed by some plaintiffs in a defendant's house: the amount of damages which had been awarded ( καταδίκη) was lying in the bank; of this Theophemus had been informed, but instead of going there he seized fifty sheep, together with the shepherd and a boy; then, assisted by the defendants (who had no right to touch anything), he broke into the farm, tried to seize the slaves, who managed to escape, entered the dwelling-house, carried off all the furniture in spite of the remonstrance of the plaintiff's wife (λεγούσης ὅτι αὐτῆς εἴη ἐν τῇ προικὶ τετιμημένα), and ill-treated the old nurse to get from her a cup which she was concealing about her person. It seems probable, though we are not aware of its being expressly so stated, that goods thus seized, if not redeemed, were publicly sold or valued (C. I. A. ii. No. 814 a), and that the party from whom they were taken could sue his opponent for any surplus which might remain after all legal demands were satisfied. If the damages awarded to the plaintiff were heavy, so that they could not be covered by goods taken in execution, he might proceed to satisfy himself by seizure of the defendant's land. This was what occurred in the case of Demosthenes; having recovered a judgment of ten talents against Aphobus, he made entry upon a farm. Onetor, claiming it as mortgagee, turned him off and thereby subjected himself to an action of ejectment (Att. Process, ed. Lipsius, pp. 962-966).

The right of taking property in pledge is stipulated in some inscriptions for breach of contract (C. I. A. ii. Nos. 565, 11; 600, 36, ἐνεχυράζειν πρὸ δίκης: C. I. G. No. 2448=Cauer, Del. Inscr. Gr.2 No. 148 E, 50.20, ἐνεχύραστος: Thalheim, Rechtsalterth. p. 116, n. 1). No seizure of this sort could take place during several of the religious festivals of the Athenians, such as the Dionysia, the Lenaea, the Thargelia, etc. (Dem. c. Mid. p. 517.10; Att. Process, ed. Lipsius, p. 338, n. 393).

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hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 37
    • Aristophanes, Plutus, 450
    • Plutarch, Solon, 15
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 1.79
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