). It is shown under PRACTORES
that the name of
every state debtor at Athens was entered in a register by the practores,
whose duty it was to collect the debt, and erase the name of the party when
he had paid it. The entry was usually made upon a return by some magistrate,
to whom the incurring of the debt became officially known; as, for instance,
on a return by the πωληταί,
that such a
person had become a lessee of public lands, or farmer of taxes, at such a
rent or on such terms. In case, however, the authorities neglected to make
the proper returns, any individual might, on his own responsibility, give
information to the registering officers of the existence of the debt; and
thereupon the officers, if they thought proper, might make an entry
accordingly, though it would probably be their duty to make some inquiry
before so doing. If they made a false entry, either wilfully or upon the
suggestion of another person, the aggrieved party might institute a
prosecution against them. It would lie also, where a man was registered as a
debtor for more than was really due from him. In the case of debts to a
sacred fund, where the penalty for non-payment was tenfold, the like remedy
would doubtless be open to one who was falsely recorded as a debtor by the
ταμίαι τὴς θεοῦ.
Such prosecution was
called γραφὴ ψευδεγγραφῆς,
and was brought
before the Thesmothetae. If the defendant were convicted, the name of the
complainant was struck out of the register and that of the defendant was
entered in his stead, as debtor for the same amount (Boeckh, P.
p. 390 = Sthh.
3 1.460). It is
also probable that he had to pay a like sum as damages to the plaintiff; a
conclusion to which Boeckh was led by the very precise language of an
inscription (C. I. A.
2.811 c, line 147; cf.
p. 537 ff.; Fränkel, n. 607 on Boeckh;
p. 46 n.),
Some questions connected with this action have already been discussed under
the very similar BOULEUSEOS GRAPHÉ
(Vol. I. p. 314): (1) whether the atimia of the state debtor was in abeyance
while this action was pending; and (2) against what class of persons it
would lie. The conclusion there arrived at, that it lay only against the
public officer who had made the false entry, not against the informer who
had misled him, may be regarded as definitely established by the inscription
already referred to (Seeurk.
p. 538; Platner, p. 118;
p. 417 n. Lips.). We may presume that on
such a charge it was necessary to prove fraudulent or malicious motives; but
it is reasonable also to suppose that, in any case of gross negligence, [p. 2.519]
fraud or malice might (as matter of course) be
presumed by the dicasts. (Pollux, 8.40, 43; Harpocr. and Suid. s. vv.
βουλεύσεως, ψευδεγγραφή, ψευδέγγραφος
: Boeckh, P. E.
3 1.419, 460; Platner,
Klagen und Process,
2.117 f.; Att.
p. 515 ff. Lips.)