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ARCHON.

after passing through a dynasty * and aristocracy, ' ended in democracy. Of the kings of Athens, con­sidered as the capital of Attica, Theseus may be said to have been the first; for to him whether as a real individual or a representative of a certain period, is attributed the union of the different and independent states of Attica under one head. (Thuc. ii. 15.) The last was Codrus ; in acknowledgment of whose patriotism in meeting death for his country, the Athenians

c1 *> f

are said to have determined that no one should succeed him with the title of jScunAeus, or king. It seems, however, equally probable, that it was the nobles who availed themselves of this oppor­tunity to serve their own interests, 'by abolish­ing the kingly power for another, the possessors of which they called &pxoj/Tes>5 or rulers. These for some time continued to be, like the kings of the house of Codrus, appointed for life : still an impor­tant point was gained by the nobles, the office being made uvreww/os, or accountable (Paus. iv. 5. § 4 ; Dem. c. Neaer. p. 1370 ; Aristot. Polit. ii. 9 ; Bockh, Pub. Econ. of Athens^ vol. ii. p. 27. 1st ed.), which of course implies that the nobility had some control over it ; and perhaps, like the barons of the feudal ages, they exercised the power of deposition.

This state of things lasted for twelve reigns of archons. The next step was to limit the continu­ance of the office to ten years, still confining it to the Medontidae, or house of Codrus, so as to esta­blish what the Greeks called a dynasty, till the archonship of Eryxias, the last archon of that family elected as such, and the seventh decennial archon. (Clinton, F. H.> vol. i. p. 182.) At the end of his ten years (b. c. 684), a much greater change took place : the archonship was made annual, and its various duties divided among a collegs of nine, chosen by suffrage (xeiporoz/ia) from the Eupa-tridae, or Patricians, and no longer elected from the Medontidae exclusively. This arrangement con­tinued till the timocracy established by Solon, who made the qualification for office depend not on birth, but property, still retaining the election by suffrage, and, according to Plutarch, so far im­pairing the authority of the archons and other magistrates, as to legalise an appeal from them to the courts of justice instituted by himself. ("Ocra tous apx<us era^e Kpivew, 6/Wcos Kal irepl eKeivwv ets rb St/caa'TTJpfoj/ 6<£>€<reis eScofcer, Plut. Solon. 18.) The election by lot is believed to have been introduced by Cleisthenes (b. c. 508 ; Herod, vi. 109) ; for we find this practice existing shortly after his time ; and Aristotle (Polit. ii. 9) expressly states that Solon made no alteration in the aipeais, or mode of election, but only in the qualification for office. If, however, there be no interpolation in the oath of the Heliasts (Dem. c. Timocr. p. 747), we are forced to the conclusion that the election by lot was as old as the time of Solon ; but the authority of Aristotle and other evidence strongly incline us to some such supposition, or rather leave no doubt of its necessity. The last change is sup­posed to have been made by Aristeides (Fpa^et ty'fjfpLO'fjLa Koivty eivaL ttjj/ TroAn-eicw, Kal rovs &pxov-ras e£ JA07]yai'co;> Travruv atpeiffOai, Plut. Arist. 22), who, after the battle of Plataea (b. c. 479),

* By this is meant that the supreme power, though not monarchical, was confined to one family.

ARCHON.

abolished the property qualification, throwing open the archonship and other magistracies to all the citi­zens, that is, to the Thetes, as well as the other classes, the former of whom were not allowed by Solon's laws to hold any magistracy at all; in con­formity with which, we find that, even in the time of Aristeides, the archons were chosen by lot from the wealthiest class of citizens (ol TrevraKocriO' /*e'5ijtu/oi, Plut. Arist. ad init.).

Still, after the removal of the old restrictions, some security was left to insure respectability; for, previously to an archon entering on office, he underwent an examination called the avaKpuris (Pollux, viii. 85 ; Deinar. c. Aristog. p. 107 ; rovs eWea 'dpxovras avaKpivere el yoveas eS iroiov<nv. Dem. c. Eubul. p. 1320), as to his being a legi­timate and a good citizen, a good son, and qualified in point of property: et rb rt^^d Iffnv avrdt) • was the question put. Now, there are (Scho-mann, De Comitiis^ p. 312. ; Bockh, vol. ii. p. 277) strong reasons for supposing that this form of ex­amination continued even after the time of Ari­steides ; and if so, it would follow that the right in question was not given to the Thetes pro- • miscuously, but only to such as possessed a cer­tain amount of property.. But even if it were so, it is admitted that this latter limitation soon be­came obsolete ; for we read in Lysias ('Tirep rov 'ASui/arot;, p. 169), that a needy old man, so poor as to receive a state allowance, was not dis­qualified from being archon by his indigence, but only by bodily infirmity ; freedom from all such defects being required for the office, a,s it was in some respects of a sacred character. Yet, even* after passing a satisfactory avdicpifis, each of the archons, in common with other magistrates, was liable to be deposed, on complaint of misconduct mads be­fore the people, at the first regular assembly in each prytany. On such an occasion, the eirLx*ipo-Toz/ia, as it was called, took place ; and we read (Dem. c. Tkeocrin. p. 1330 ; Pollux, viii. 95 ; Harp, in Kvpia 'EKK\7]<ria) that, in one case, the whole body of ©eo-juoflercu was deprived of office (owrexe^oTon^T?), for the misbehaviour of one of their body: they were, however, reinstated, on promise of better conduct for the future.

With respect to the later ages of Athenian history, we learn from Strabo (ix. 1), that even in his day, the Romans allowed the freedom of Athens ; and we may conclude that the Athe­nians would fondly cling to a name and office associated with some of their most cherished remembrances. That the archonship, however, though still in existence, was merely honorary, we might expect from the analogy of the consulate at Rome ; and, indeed, we learn that it was some­times filled by strangers, as Hadrian and Plutarch. Such, moreover, was the democratical tendency of the assembly and courts of justice established by Solon, that, even in earlier times, the archons had lost the great political power which they at one time possessed (Thuc. i. 126), and that, too, after the division of their functions amongst nine. They became, in fact, not as of old, directors of the government; but merely municipal magistrates, exercising functions and bearing titles which we will proceed to describe.

It has been already stated, thai; the duties of the single archon were shared by a college of nine. The first or president of this body was called 6 'apxoW) by way of pre-eminence ; and sometimes

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