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TETTARACONTA, HOI (οἱτετταράκοντα), the Forty (Isocr. Antid. § 237; Dem. c. Pantaen. p. 976 § 33), one of the minor magistracies at Athens, were also called δικασταὶ κατὰ δήμους, “district judges” (Id. c. Timocr. p. 735.112); but except in these passages they seem only to be mentioned by the grammarians. Their number was originally thirty, but was increased to forty after the expulsion of the Thirty Tyrants, in consequence, it is said, of the hatred of the Athenians for the number thirty (Harpocrat., quoting Aristotle; Suid. [in the same words]; Pollux, 8.100). They were chosen by lot, apparently in equal numbers from each tribe: Demosthenes (Timocr. l.c.) speaks slightingly of them as unimportant persons in whom no qualification of property or ability was required. They went on circuits through the demes (urban as well as rural, Lips. Att. Proc. p. 91), and decided of their own competence trivial causes where the matter in dispute was not above the value of ten drachmas; beyond that amount they carried the cause before the διαιτηταί, and themselves acted as εἰσαγωγεῖς: that is, they received the accusation, drew up the indictment, and attended to all that was understood in Attic law by the ἡγεμονία δικαστηρίου (Poll. l.c.). Isocrates somewhat vaguely describes those who were brought before them as τούς τ᾽ ἐν τοῖς ἰδίοις πράγμασιν ἀδικοῦντας καὶ τοὺς μὴ δικαίως ἐγκαλοῦντας. The extent of their jurisdiction in cases of αἰκία and τὰ περὶ τῶν βιαίων (Dem. Pantaen. l.c.) has been a matter of some dispute; but Schömann, Teuffel (ap. Pauly, s. v. τεσσαράκοντα), and Lipsius are unquestionably right in limiting their power of decision to “slanders and assaults of minor importance” (nichtpeinliche Injurienklagen). In aggravated or murderous assaults, including rape [BIAION DIKÉ], their office must have been that of εἰσαγωγεῖς. We cannot suppose their criminal jurisdiction to have been more extensive than their civil; it is not in keeping with Athenian institutions that men who could only decide up to the amount of ten drachmas should have tried offences which were in many cases capital. It has been suggested that in these serious cases. (e. g. the aggravated assault which forms the subject of the speech against Conon) they acted as a jury under the ἡγεμονία of the Thesmothetae; but, as we have said elsewhere, their number was much too small for an Athenian jury (cf. Class. Rev. 1.15), and it is not likely that they ever acted as δικασταὶ in the ordinary sense. For the Athenian practice of employing small courts only in trifling cases, a δικαστῶν πλῆθος in others, cf. Aristot. Pol. 4.13 (16) = p. 1300 b, 23 and 32.

Like other magistrates, they had their σανίδες or white boards on which legal notices were posted (Isocr. l.c.), and were responsible (ὑπεύθυνοι) for their conduct in office. When Demosthenes (Timocr. l.c.) speaks of them as having to account for public monies, this must refer to the court fees (πρυτανεῖα) deposited by the suitors. Whether they exercised their jurisdiction jointly as a board, or in certain divisions, is not expressly stated; but it is almost certain that they sat by tribes, i. e. in boards of four, and that the tribal judges rather obscurely alluded to by Lysias (c. Pancl. § 2) and Isaeus (ap. Harpocrat. s. v. ὅτι) are to be identified with the Forty. Their connexion with the tribes suggests that they may have been established by Cleisthenes, though on this point also we have no precise information. We need not, however, understand that before his legislation no cases were tried in the demes, and that the parties were compelled to go into the city for every little legal dispute (Schömnann, p. 474).

The grammarians seem sometimes to have confused the district judges with other officers: with demarchs (Schol. ad Aristoph. Cl. 37, cf. Schömann, p. 474 n.; Att. Proc. p. 53 Lipsius); and under their older name of τριάκοντα with the thirty assistants of the Lexiarchi (Phot. s. v. τριάκοντα: ECCLESIA p. 698 b). The statement of the scholiast Ulpian (on Dem. c. Mid. p. 542.86) as to the number of the Diaetetae has been proved by inscriptions to be impossible as regards that body [DIAETETAE Vol. I., p. 621 a]; whereas the figures given, with the slight correction of Heraldus (ἦσαν δὲ τεσσαράκοντα, τέσσαρες καθ᾽ ἑκάστην φυλήν), are exactly applicable to the κατὰ δήμους δικασταί (Lips. Att. Proc. p. 91 n.). (Cf. Pollux, 8.40; Harpocrat. s. v. κατὰ δήμους δικαστής: Lex. Seguer. pp. 306, 15, 310, 21; Schömann, Ant. Jur. Publ. p. 267, 10, Antiq. 1.473 f., E. T.; and esp. Att. Process, pp. 88-93, Lipsius). [W.S] [W.W]

(Appendix). Their origin is now ascribed to Pisistratus (Ἀθ. πολ. 100.16); their number at this time is not stated. They reappear under Pericles, B.C. 453, and are then thirty (100.26). In 100.53 their duties are described: ten drachmas as the limit of their competence to decide; and the traditional reason for the change of number from thirty to forty. The opening words, Κληροῦσι δὲ καὶ τετταράκοντα, τέτταρας ἐξ ἐκάστης φυλῆς, now supply documentary evidence for the view maintained in our concluding paragraph (p. 809 b), which hitherto has rested partly upon conjecture.

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Aristotle, Politics, 4.1300b
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 37
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