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AIKIAS DIKE (αἰκίας δίκη), a private action for assault, thus distinguished from the more serious ὕβρεως γραφὴ) or public prosecution for the same class of offences. The Athenian law, in case of offences against the person, as in these against property [cf. KLOPES DIKE] gave the injured party alternative modes of obtaining redress by action for damages or by criminal information. If the plaintiff selected the former, the defendant would only be condemned to pay a fine, which the plaintiff received; but if he chose the latter, the accused might be punished even with death, and the pecuniary penalty, if any, went to the state.

In bringing this action it was necessary to prove two facts. First, that the defendant had struck the plaintiff, who must have been a free man, with the intention of insulting him (ἐφ᾽ ῞υβρει); but this intention was presumed, unless the defendant could prove that he only struck the plaintiff in jest. Thus Ariston, after proving that he had been struck by Conon and his sons, tells the dicasts that the defence will try to pass it off as mere practical joking and young men's horse-play (Dem. c. Cnono. p. 1261, § § 13, 14).

Secondly, it was necessary to prove that the defendant struck the plaintiff first, and did not merely return the blows which had been given by the plaintiff ( δὲ αἰκία τοῦτ᾽ ἔστιν, ὃς ἂν ἄρξῃ χειρῶν ἀδίκων πρότερος, Dem. c. Everg. p. 1151.40; sometimes ἀδίκων ἄρχειν only).

This action, it is stated, was brought before the Forty (οἱ τετταράκοντα, Dem. adv. Pantaen. p. 976.33). But the summary jurisdiction of the Forty we know to have been extremely limited; and when we read that they only decided money claims up to the amount of ten drachmas, it is evident that the assaults upon which they pronounced judgment could only have been of minor importance (so Schömann, Antiq. p. 473; cf. TETTARACONTA, HOI). They had, however, the ἡγεμονία δικαστηρίου, and could bring graver matters before a jury; and it is evident that the case of Conon, in which exemplary damages are demanded, was of this sort: we find the usual ἄνδρες δικασταὶ in the opening words.

The sum of money to be paid by the defendant as damages was not fixed by the law, but settled in court. It was thus an assessed action (ἀγὼν τιμητὸς), and resembled the procedure in public causes. The speech of Isocrates against Lochites, as well as that of Demosthenes against Conon, was spoken in an action of this kind; and we learn from it that for the further protection of the citizens against assaults, both private and public prosecutions for this class of offences were ἄνευ παρακαταβολῆς, or excused from the payment of πρυτανεῖα or caution-money (Isocr. Or. 20.3). It would seem however that the party who lost his suit, whether plaintiff or defendant, was liable to pay πρυτανεῖα in addition to damages and ἐπωβελία (Dem. c. Everg. p. 1158.64). In the speech against Lochites, as in that against Conon, there is perhaps intentional confusion of αἰκία and ὕβρις (Jebb, Att. Or. 2.214, n.). In the case of slaves there was no action for αἰκία, but the owner of an injured slave might proceed either by ὕβρεως γραφὴ or βλαβῆς δίκη. (Lysias, fr. 44; Photius, p. 614, 10; Harpocrat. s. v. αἰκίας: Suid. s. v. ὕβρις: Meier, Att. Process, pp. 81, 547 ff.; Böckh, P. E. pp. 364, 372, 374; Platner, Process and Klagen, 2.193 ff.; Schömann, Antiq. 473.)

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