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called 'H &vca /3ov/Vr/, to distinguish it from the senate of Five Hundred, which sat in the Cerameicus within the city. That it was a body of very remote antiquity, acting as a criminal tribunal, was evidently believed by the Athenians themselves. In proof of this, we may refer to the express assertions of the orators, and the legend of Orestes, having been tried before the council for the murder of his mother — a trial which took place before Athena, and which Aeschylus represents as the origin of the court itself. Again, we find that even before the first Messenian war (b. c. 740) began, the Messenians offered to refer the points in dispute to the Argive Amphictiony, or the Athenian, Areio-pagus (Paus. iv. 5. § 1; Thirl wall, Hist. Greece, vol. i. p. 345), because this body was believed to have had jurisdiction in cases of manslaughter (5/tfas </>om:as-), " from of old."
There is sufficient proof, then, that the Areiopa-gus existed before the time of Solon, though he is admitted to have so far modified its constitution and sphere of duty, that he might almost be called its founder. What that original constitution was, must in some degree be left to conjecture, though there is every reason to suppose that it was aristocratical, the members being taken, like the Ephetae, from the noble patrician families (apKrrivSjjv). We may remark that, after the time of Solon, the Ephetae, fifty-one in number, sat collectively in four different courts, and were charged with the hearing of such cases of accidental or justifiable homicide as admitted of or required expiation, before the accused could resume the civil and religious rights he had lost: a resumption impossible in cases of wilful murder, the capital punishment for which could only be escaped by banishment for life, so that no expiation was required or given. (Muller, Eumen. § 64 ; Pollux, viii. 125.) Now the Ephetae formerly administered justice in five courts, and for this and other reasons it has been conjectured that they and the Areiopagus then formed one court, which decided in all cases of murder, whether wilful or accidental. In support of this view., it has been urged that the separation of functions was rendered necessary by that change of Solon which made the Areiopagus no longer an aristocratic body, while the Ephetae remained so, and as such were competent to administer the rights of expiation, forming, as they did, a part of the sacred law of Athens, and therefore left in the hands of the old patricians, even after the loss of their political privileges. On this point we may remark, that the connection insisted on may to a great extent be true ; but that there was not a complete identity of functions is proved by Plutarch (Solon. c. 19), in a quotation from the laws of Solon, showing that even before that legislator the Areippagites and Ephetae were in some cases distinct.
It has been observed, in the article archon, that the principal change introduced by Solon in the constitution of Athens, was to make the qualification for office depend not on birth but property ; also that, agreeably to his reforms, the nine archons, after an unexceptionable discharge of their duties, " went up " to the Areiopagus, and became members of It for life, unless expelled for misconduct. (Deinar. c. Demosth. p. 97 ; Pint. Sol. c. 18.)
The council then, after his time, ceased to be aristocratic in constitution ; but, as we learn from Attic writer?, continued so in spirit. In fact,
Solon is said to have formed the two councils, the senate and the Areiopagus, to be a check upon the democracy ; that, as he himself expressed it, " the state, riding upon them as anchors, might be less tossed by storms." Nay, even after the archons were no longer elected by suffrage but by lot, and the office was thrown open by Aristeides to all the Athenian citizens, the " upper council" still retained its former tone of feeling. We learn, indeed, from Isocrates (Areiop. p. 147), that no one was so bad as not to put off his old habits on becoming an Areiopagite; and though this may refer to private rather than public conduct, we may not unreasonably suppose that the political principles of the younger would always be modified by the older and more numerous members—a modification which, though continually less in degree, would still be the same in direction, and make the Areiopagus what Pericles found it, a counteracting force to the democracy. Moreover, besides these changes in its constitution, Solon altered and extended its functions. Before his time it was only a criminal court, trying cases of " wilful murder and wounding, of arson and poisoning " (Pollux, viii. 117; Dem. c.Arist. p. 627), whereas he gave it extensive powers of a censorial and political nature. Thus we learn that he made the council an " overseer of everything, and the guardian of the laws," empowering it to inquire how any one got his living, and to punish the idle. (Plutarch. Solon. c. 22 ; Isoc. I. c.)
We learn from other authorities that the Areiopagite s were " superintendents of good order and decency," terms rather unlimited and undefined, as it is not improbable Solon wished to leave their authority. There are, however, recorded some particular instances of its exertion. (Athen.iv. pp. 16 7, c.—168, b. vi.p.245, c. ed.Din-dorf; Pollux, viii. 112.) Thus we find that they called persons to account for extravagant and dissolute living, and that too even in the later days of Athenian history. On the other hand, they occasionally rewarded remarkable cases of industry, and, in company with certain officers called jvvcLiKov6^oi, made domiciliary visits at private entertainments, to see that the number of guests was not too large, and also for other purposes. But their censorial and political authority was not confined to matters of this subordinate character. We learn from Aristotle (Plut. Themis, c. 10 ; see Bockh, vol. i. p. 208), that at the time of the Median invasion, when there was no money in the public treasury, the Areiopagus advanced eight drachmae a man to each of the sailors—a statement which proves that they had a treasury of their own, rather than any control over the public finances, as some have inferred from it. (Thirlwall, Hist. Greece, vol. iii. app. 1.) Again, we are told (Lycurg. c. Leoc, p. 154) that at the time of the battle of Chaeroneia, they seized and put to death those who deserted their country, and that they were thought by some to have been the chief preservation of the city.
It is probable that public opinion supported them in acts of this kind, without the aid of which they must have been powerless for any such objects. In connection with this point, we may add that when heinous crimes had notoriously been committed, but the guilty parties were not known, or no accuser appeared, the Areiopagus inquired into the subject, and reported (aTro^a^ejr) to the