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prophane and unholy, and therefore unfit for the transacting of business of such great consequence, as that in which the welfare and safety of the state were so nearly connected.
The expiating rites being ended, the public crier made a solemn prayer for the prosperity of the commonwealth, and the good success of their counsels and undertakings; for amongst the primitive Greeks, all things were conducted with a great show of piety and devotion; and so great a share they thought their gods to have in the ordering of human affairs, that they never undertook any thing of weight or moment, especially of public business, without having first invoked their direction and assistance. He then denounced a bitter execration against such as should attempt any thing in that assembly, to the prejudice of the commonwealth, praying, that he and his whole family might be made remarkable examples of divine vengeance. Then the crier, the Proedri giving the command, repeated the decree of the senate, upon which the assembly was then to deliberate. That being done, the crier proclaimed with a loud voice “ which of the men, above fifty years old, will make an oration ?" then the old men propounded whatever they thought fit, after which, the crier, by a second proclamation, gave them to understand, " that every Athenian might then speak who had a legal right to do so ;" for they judged it unreasonable that any man's quality or age, so he were not under thirty, should debar him from uttering what he conceived to be for the good of the commonwealth; on the other hand, it was thought very indecent and unbecoming for young men to give their opinions before they had heard the sentiments of such as years and experience had rendered more fit and able to judge. But the wisdom of the lawgiver thought it not expedient to permit every man without distinction to deliver his opinion; for such as were convicted of any heinous crime-of impiety-of prophaneness, or debauchery; had fled from their colours, or were deeply indebted to the commonwealth, he excluded from having any thing to do in such consultations: it being scarcely probable that persons of wicked lives, or of desperate fortunes should bring forward any thing conducive to the peace and prosperity of the state, but rather, that they should plan the confusion and ruin of it, that themselves might be enriched with the spoils of honest men,, and be at liberty to take their full career in their unlawful pleasures, without the curb of the law, and fear of punishment. Wherefore if any man was thought by the Prytanes to be unfit to make an oration to the people, they enjoined him silence. Thus, in the assembly of women, in Aristophanes, Praxagora, who is there one of the Prytanes, commands an impertinent woman to hold her peace.
« Go you and sit down, for you are nobody,"
They who refused obedience to the Prytanes, were pulled down from the Suggestum, by the Lictor...
: When the debates were ended, the crier by the command of Epistatai, or Proedri, as others report, asked the people “ whether they would consent to the decree?" permitting them to give their voices, either to establish or reject it. The manner of giving their suffrage was, by holding up their wands, in token of assent, or forbearing in token of dissent: this was the common method of voting, but in some cases, particularly when they deprived magistrates of their offices for mal-administration, they gave their votes in private, lest the power and greatness of the persons accused should be a restraint upon them, and cause them to act contrary to their judgments and inclinations. The manner of voting privately, was by casting pebbles into vessels, which the Prytanes were obliged to place in the assembly. Before the introduction of pebbles beans were used. As soon as the people had done voting, the Proedri having carefully examined the number of the suffrages, prouounced the decree ratified, or rejected according, as the major part had approved or disapproved it. It is lastly observable, that it was unlawful for the Prytanes to propose any thing twice in the same
assembly. The business being over, the Prytanes dis- :: missed the assembly.
The Council of Five Hundred.
By Solon's institutions, the whole power and management of affairs were placed in the people: it was their prerogative to receive appeals from the courts of justiceto abrogate old laws, and enact new ones to make what alterations in the state they judged convenient; and, in short, all matters whether public or private, foreign or domestic, civil, military, or religious, were determined by them.
But, because it was dangerous that things of such vast moment and concern, should be, without any far. ther care, committed to the disposal and management of a giddy and unthinking multitude, who might by eloquent men be persuaded to enact things contrary to their own interests and destructive of the commonwealth, the wise law-giver, to prevent such fatal consequences, judged it absolutely necessary, for the preservation of the state, to institute a great council, consisting only of men of the best credit and reputation in the city, whose duty it should be to inspect all matters before they were propounded to the people, and to take care that nothing but what had been diligently investigated, should be brought before the general assembly. At the same time he instituted, at least regulated, another council, viz., that of the Areopagites, which though inferior to the other in order and power, yet was superior to it in dignity and esteem, and therefore was called “ the upper council.” To this he committed the inspection and custody of the laws, supposing that the commonwealth being held by these two, as it were..by stout anchors, would be less liable to be lost by tumults, and made a prey to such as had knavery, enough to design, and enough of cunning and eloquence to entice the people to their own destruction..
At the first institution of the former council, it consisted only of four hundred senators, one hundred of which were appointed out of each tribe, for the tribes in Solon's time were only four in number, and they were elected by lots, in drawing of which, they made use of beans. The manner of their election was this: on a certain day, before the beginning of the month Hecatombæon, the president of every tribe gave in the names of all the persons within bis district, that were capable of this dignity, and had a mind to stand candidates for it: these were engraven on tablets of brass, and cast into a vessel, set there for that purpose, into another vessel were cast the same number of beans, a hundred of which were white and all the rest were black. Then the names of the candidates and the beans were drawn out, one by one, and those whose names were drawn out, together with the white beabs, were received into the senate.
About eighty-six years after Solon's regulation of the commonwealth, the number of tribes being increased by Clisthenes from four to ten; the senate also received an addition of one hundred, which, being added to the former made it consist of five hundred, from which time it took the name of the council of five hundred; afterwards two new tribes were added to the former, in honour of Antigonus and his son Demetrius, from whom they received their names; and then the number of the senators was augmented by the accession of another hundred; for, in both these last alterations, it was ordered, that out of every tribe, fifty should be elected into the senate. As to the manner of election, it continued the same, excepting only, that instead of a hundred white beans drawn by each tribe, they had now only fifty, according to the number of the senators.
· After the election of senators, they proceeded in the next place to appoint officers to preside in the senate, and these they called Prytane. The manner of their election was this: the names of the tribes being thrown into one vessel with nine black beans, and a white bean
cast into another; the tribe whose fortune it was to be drawn out together with the white bean presided first, and the rest in the order in which they were drawn out of the vessel, for every tribe presided in turn, and therefore, according to the number of tribes, the Athenian year was divided into ten parts, each of which consisted of thirty-five days, only the first four parts contained thirty-six, thereby making the year consist of 354 days, of which, according to their computation, the lunar year consists. Afterwards when the tribes were increased to twelve, every one of them presided a full month in the senate. The time that every company of Prytanes continued in office they were exempted from all other public duties. To avoid confusion every Prytanæa was divided into five weeks of days, by which the fifty Prytanes were ranked into five Decuria, each Decuria being to govern their week, during which time they were called Proedri; out of these, one, whom they elected by lots, presided over the rest each of the seven days, so that of the ten Proedri three were precluded from presiding.
The president of the Proedri was termed Epistata. To his custody was committed the public seal, and the keys of the citadel, and the public exchequer. This therefore being an office of great trust and power, no man was permitted by the laws to continue in it above one day, nor to be elected to it a second time. There are said to have been nine Proedri distinct from the former, and chosen by the Epistata at every convention of the senate, out of all the tribes, except that of which the Prytanes were members; both of these were different from the Epistates and the Proedri in the popular, assemblies.
There is one thing more, remarkable in the election of senators, that besides those who were immediately admitted into the senate, they chose substitutes, who, in case any of the senators were deposed for mal-administration, or died before the expiration of the term of their office was expired, should, without any farther trouble, supply their places.