The Ancient Library

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On this page: Architheoria – Archon



Forum. This was set up in commemora­tion of the naval victory of Duilius over the Carthaginians (261 b.c.). Among the columns which survive, the most magnifi­cent is that of Trajan, erected in the Forum of Trajan 113 a.d. It rises on a quadran­gular pediment to the height of 124 feet; its diameter below is about 10 feet, and a little less in the upper part. An interior spiral staircase of 185 steps leads to the summit. The shaft, formed of twenty-three drums of marble, is adorned with a series of reliefs, 3 feet 3 inches high and 200 feet long, in a series of twenty-two spirals. They represent scenes in Trajan's Dacian campaigns, and contain 2,500 human figures, with animals, engines, etc. On a cylindrical pedestal at the summit there once stood a gilded statue of the emperor, which, since the year 1587, has made way for a bronze figure of St. Peter. A similar column is that of Marcus Aurelius, 122 feet high, on the Piazza Colonna. Since 1589 the statue of St. Paul has been substituted for that of the emperor. The reliefs, in twenty spirals, represent events in the emperor's war with the Marcomanni.

Archltheorla. One of the public services called liturgies at Athens ; it was the obli­gation to furnish forth the sacred embassies (theorice) to the four great national festivals, also to Delphi and other holy places. (See leitourgia.)

Archon (= ruler), the Athenian name for the supreme authority established on the abolition of royalty. On the death of the last king, Codrus, b.c. 1068, the headship of the state for life was bestowed on his son Medou and his descendants under the title of Archon. In 752 b.c. their term of office was cut down to ten years, in 714 their «xclusive privilege was abolished, and the right to hold the office thrown open to all the nobility, while its duration was dimin­ished to one year; finally in B.C. 683 the power was divided among nine archons. By Solon's legislation, his wealthiest class, the pentacOsio-medimni, became eligible to the office; and by Aristldes' arrangement after the Persian Wars it was thrown open to all the citizens, Cleisthenes having previously, in the interests of the democracy, substituted the drawing of lots for election by vote. [See Note on p. 706.] The political power of the office, having steadily decreased with time, sank to nothing when democracy was established ; its holders had no longer even the right to deliberate and originate motions, their action being limited to certain priestly

and judicial functions, relics of their once regal power.

The titles and duties of the several Ar­chons are as follows: (1) Their president, named emphatically Archon, or Archon Eponym&s, because the civil year was named after him. He had charge of the Great Dionysia, the Thargelia, the embas­sies to festivals (theories'), the nomination of choregi; also the position of guardian in chief, and the power to appoint guardians, the presidency in all suits about family rights (such as questions of divorce or inherit­ance), and in disputes among the choregi.

——(2) The Archon Baslleus (king), called so because on him devolved certain sacred rites inseparably connected with the name of king. He had the care of the Eleusinian Mysteries (and was obliged therefore to be an initiated person), of the Lencea and Anthesteria, of gymnastic contests, to which he appointed a superintendent, and of a number of antiquated sacrifices, some of which fell to the share of his wife, the Basilissa (queen); and lastly, the position of president in all suits touching religious law, including those trials for murder that came within the jurisdiction of the EphStm (q.v.).———(3) The Archon PoKmarchos (leader in war) was originally entrusted with the war-department, and, as late as the battle of Marathon, had the right of voting with the ten generals, and the old royal privilege of commanding the right wing. Afterwards he only had charge of the state sacrifices offered to the gods of war and to the shade of HarmSdius, the public funerals of those who fell in war and the annual feasts in honour of them; finally, the juris­diction in all questions concerning the personal and family rights of resident aliens (metoeci) and strangers. All this rested on the old assumption that foreigner meant enemy. Each of these three superior Archons had two assessors chosen by himself, but responsible.

——(4) The Six ThesmSthetce(literally law­givers) administered justice in all cases not pertaining to the senior Archons or some other authority, revised the laws once a year, and superintended the apportioning of public offices by lot. The several Ar­chons exercised their jurisdiction at different spots in the city; that of the Polemarch alone lay outside the walls. Duties common to all nine were: the yearly appointment by lot of the Heliastce (q.v.), the choice of umpires in the Panathensea, the holding of elections of the generals and other military officers, jurisdiction in the case of officials

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.