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These are the matters superintended by the Archon. But the King superintends, first, the mysteries, in co-operation with Superintendents elected by show of hands by the People, two from the whole body of the citizens, one from the Eumolpidae and one from the Heralds.1 Next the Dionysia in Lenaeon2; this festival consists of a procession and a competition, the former conducted by the King and the Superintendents jointly, the latter organized by the King. He also holds all the Torch-race Competitions; also he is the director of practically all the ancestral sacrifices. [2] He holds the court that tries charges of impiety and disputed claims to hereditary priesthoods. He adjudicates between clans and between priests in all disputed claims to privileges. Before him are also brought all murder cases, and proclamations of exclusion from customary rites are made by him. [3] Trials for deliberate murder and wounding are held in the Areopagus, and for causing death by poison, and for arson; for these only are tried by the Council, whereas involuntary homicide and plotting to murder, and murder of a slave or resident alien or foreigner, come before the court at the Palladium3; and one who admits homicide but declares it to have been legal (for instance when he has killed a man taken in adultery), or who in war has killed a fellow-citizen in ignorance, or in an athletic contest, is tried at the Delphinium; but if, when a man has taken refuge in exile after an offence that admits of satisfaction, he is charged with homicide or wounding, he is tried at the Precinct of Phreatus,4 and delivers his defence from a ship anchored near the shore. [4] Commissioners appointed by lot try these cases, except those that are held on the Areopagus; the cases are introduced by the King, and the court sits within the sacred precinct in the open air, and when the King is acting in a case he takes off his crown. The accused man all the rest of the time is debarred from sacred places and is even forbidden by law from setting foot in the market-place, but at the trial he enters the precinct and makes his defence. When the King does not know who committed the act, he institutes proceedings against 'the guilty man,' and the King and Tribal Kings try the case, as also prosecutions of inanimate objects and animals for homicide.

1 The Eumolpidae and Kerykes were two ancient priestly families at Athens.

2 Held at the Limnae, S.E. of the Acropolis, at the end of January. The 7th Attic month, Gamelion (January-February), was in old Ionic called Lenaeon.

3 This shrine and the Delphinium were probably S.E. of the Acropolis.

4 Near the harbor of Zea; doubtless the eponymous hero was fictitious, the place being really named from a well, φρέαρ. If the defendant had landed he would have been arrested for his former offence

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 7.35
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