First, then, in ancient
times, as we are told by tradition, in this court alone the gods condescended
both to render and to demand satisfaction for homicide, and to sit in judgement
upon contending litigants,—Poseidon, according to the legend, deigning
to demand justice from Ares on behalf of his son Halirrothius, and the twelve
gods to adjudicate between the Eumenides and Orestes. These are ancient stories;
let us pass to a later date. This is the only tribunal which no despot, no
oligarchy, no democracy, has ever dared to deprive of its jurisdiction in cases
of murder, all men agreeing that in such cases no jurisprudence of their own
devising could be more effective than that which has been devised in this court.
In addition to these great merits, here, and here alone, no convicted defendant
and no defeated prosecutor has ever made good any complaint against the justice
of the verdict given.