The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Echidna – Echion – Echo – Eclectics



shower of rain, the meeting was adjourned. Certain classes of business were assigned to the ordinary assemblies.

The functions of the ecclesia were : (a) To take part in legislation. At the first regular assembly in the year the presi­dent asked the question whether the people thought any alteration necessary in the existing laws. If the answer were in the affirmative, the proposals for alteration were brought forward, and in the third regular assembly a legislative commission was ap­pointed from among the members of the Hellcea or jury for the current year (see heli/ea). The members of this commission were called NOmdthetce. The question be­tween the old laws and the new proposals was then decided by a quasi-judicial process under the presidency of the Thesmothftce, the proposers of the new law appearing as prosecutors, and advocates, appointed by the people, coming forward to defend the old one. If the verdict were in favour of the new law, the latter had the same authority as a resolution of the ecclesia. The whole proceeding was called " Voting (Splcheiro-tOnfa) upon the Laws." In the decadence of the democracy the custom grew up of bringing legislative proposals before the people, and having them decided at any time that pleased the proposer.

(6) Election of officials. (See probole.) This only affected, of course, the officials who were elected by show of hands, as the StrdtSgl and ministers of finance, not those chosen by lot. In the first ecclesia of every prytdnlja the archon asked the ques­tion whether the existing ministers were to be allowed to remain in office or not, and those who failed to commend them­selves were deposed.

(c) The banishment of citizens by ostra­cism. (See ostracism.)

(d) Judicial functions in certain excep­tional cases only. (See eisangelia.) "Some­times, if offences came to its knowledge, the people would appoint a special commis­sion of inquiry, or put the inquiry into the hands of the Areopagus or the senate. Offences committed against officials, or against private individuals, were also at times brought before the assembly, to obtain from it a declaration that it did, or did not, think the case one which called for a judicial process. Such a declaration, though not binding on the judge, always carried with it a certain influence.

(e) In legal co-operation with the senate the Ecclesia had the final decision in all

matters affecting the supreme interests of the state, as war, peace, alliances, treaties, the regulation of army and navy, finance, loans, tributes, duties, prohibition of exports or imports, the introduction of new religious rites and festivals, the awarding of honours and rewards, and the conferring of the citi­zenship [Aristotle, Const, of Athens, 43].

(2) At Sparta all the SpartUtce, or citizens in possession of full civic rights, were en­titled to take part in the deliberations of the assembly from their thirtieth year onwards. The assembly was convoked once a month at the full moon by the kings, and later by the ephors as well. After BOO b.c. it met in a special building in the market-place at Sparta, the Scias, the members standing, not sitting, as in the Athenian ecclesia. Its business was to accept or reject proposals made by the Olrusla or senate. (See gerusia.) It made its will known by acclamation, or, in doubtful cases, by separation of the parties into different places. The right of bringing forward proposals and speaking in the debates be­longed only to the kings, the members of the Gerusia, and the ephors; in all other cases special consent was required. The functions of the assembly were the election of the officials and senators to decide (in doubtful cases) on the regal succession, on war and peace, treaties, legislation, and other matters affecting the state.

Echidna. A monster and robber in Greek fable, half maiden, half snake, the daughter of Chrysaor and Callirrhoe, or, according to another story, of Tartarus and Gasea. Her home was the country of the Arlmi in Cilicia, where she brought forth to Typhoeus a number of monsters, Cerbfirus, Chlmsera, Sphinx, Scylla, the serpent of Lerna, the Nemean lion, etc. (See typbxeus.) She was surprised in her sleep and slain by Argos. (See argos, 1.)

Echlon. One of the five Sparti who helped Cadmus to build Thebes; husband of Agave, the daughter of Cadmus, and father of Pentheus. (See sparti.)

Echo. A Nymph, who by her chattering prevented Hera from surprising her hus­band Zeus in the company of the Nymphs. Hera punished her by making it impossible for her either to speak first, or to be silent when any one else was speaking. She loved the beautiful Narcissus, but in vain, and pined away in grief till nothing remained of her but her voice.

Eclectics or " Selectors." The technical name in philosophy for philosophers who

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.