). Literally “an exchange.”
A term in the language of the Attic courts, peculiarly applied to proceedings under a law
which is said to have originated with Solon (c. Phaenipp.
init.). It is
natural, however, to refer the law to more democratic times; and the orators were in the habit
of ascribing to Solon all laws, especially those which they happened to be
quoting in a favourable sense. By this law, a citizen nominated to perform a liturgia, such as
a trierarchy or choregia, or to rank among the propertytax payers in a class disproportioned
to his means, was empowered to call upon any qualified person not so charged to take the
office in his stead, or submit to a complete exchange of property—the charge in
question, of course, attaching to the first party, if the exchange were finally effected. For
these proceedings the courts were opened at a stated time every year by the magistrates that
had official cognizance of the particular subject; such as the strategi in cases of trierarchy
and rating to the property-taxes, and the archon in those of choregia (c.
p. 1040; Meier, Att. Process
, p. 471; προσκαλεῖσθαι τινα εἰς ἀντίδοσιν
, pro Inval.
10). If the person challenged could
prove that he had already discharged the liturgia, or was otherwise lawfully exempted, the
magistrates might dismiss the case; otherwise the parties proceeded to a διαδικασία
or legal award of their respective claims. An oath was taken by both
parties that each would deliver to the other, within three days, a correct inventory (ἀπόφασις
) of their respective properties (c.
p. 1042.11); but in practice the time might be extended by consent of the
challenger. All immovable and movable property was transferred in the exchange, with the
exception of mines, which were exempted from the extraordinary taxes and liturgiae, as being
already taxed; and all claims and obligations attached to it, and particularly all debts, were
included in the transfer, as may be seen from the speech against Phaenippus.
Professor Mahaffy's remarks on the injustice of this law are by no means too strong:
“It seems simply the legislation of the Athenian mob about property which they had
never possessed, and did not understand; for the other alternative—that Athenian
properties were small or of a simple nature, like our rentals of estates—is refuted
by the many descriptions of property in the orators. It is, in fact, inexplicable that any
intelligent people should have tolerated such a law, and it is conclusive against the business
capacity of the men who tolerated it.” See Mahaffy, Social Life in
, p. 409, 3d ed., and Jebb, Attic Or.