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For the offices of state he instituted election by lot from candidates selected by the tribes severally by a preliminary vote. For the Nine Archons each tribe made a preliminary selection of ten, and the election was made from among these by lot1; hence there still survives with the tribes the system that each elects ten by lot and then they choose from among these by ballot.2 And a proof that he made the offices elective by lot according to assessments is the law in regard to the Treasurers that remains in force even at the present day; for it orders the Treasurers to be elected by lot from the Five-hundred-measure men. [2] Solon, therefore, legislated thus about the Nine Archons; for in ancient times the Council on the Areopagus used to issue a summons and select independently the person suitable for each of the offices, and commission him to hold office for a year. [3] And there were four Tribes, as before, and four Tribal Kings. And from each Tribe there had been assigned three Thirds and twelve Ship-boards3 to each, and over the Ship-boards there was established the office of Ship-commissioners, appointed for the levies and the expenditures that were made; because of which in the laws of Solon, which are no longer in force, the clauses frequently occur, 'the Ship-commissioner to levy' and 'to spend out of the Ship-commission Fund.' [4] And he made a Council of four hundred members, a hundred from each tribe, but appointed the Council of the Areopagus to the duty of guarding the laws, just as it had existed even before as overseer of the constitution, and it was this Council that kept watch over the greatest and the most important of the affairs of state, in particular correcting offenders with sovereign powers both to fine and punish, and making returns of its expenditure to the Acropolis without adding a statement of the reason for the outlay, and trying persons that conspired to put down the democracy, Solon having laid down a law of impeachment in regard to them. [5] And as he saw that the state was often in a condition of party strife, while some of the citizens through slackness were content to let things slide, he laid down a special law to deal with them, enacting that whoever when civil strife prevailed did not join forces with either party was to be disfranchised and not to be a member of the state.

1 i.e. nine were taken by lot out of forty elected by vote by the four tribes; whereas in the writer's day the preliminary election was also by lot and produced one hundred from the ten tribes.

2 i.e. by lot again.

3 The Naucrariae were forty-eight administrative districts into which the country was divided for taxation, each having to defray the equipment of one battle-ship. Their presidents were Naucrari. Every four Naucrariae formed a Trittys, of which there were three in each Tribe.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 5.71
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