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Nub. 402, &c.) The diasia took place in the latter half of the month of Anthesterion (Schol. ad AristopJi. I. c.) with feasting and rejoicings, and was, like most other festivals, accompanied by a fair. (Aristoph. Nub. 841.) It was this festival at which Cylon was enjoined by an oracle to take possession of the acropolis of Athens; but he mistook the oracle, and made the attempt during the celebration of the Olympian games. (Compare Pollux, i. 26; Suidas 5. v.) The etymology of SiOttna, given by most of the ancient grammarians (from Aibs and &o"n) is false, the name is a mere derivative from Sibs, as 'ATroAAcoj/icc from 3Air6\\wv. [L. S.J DIASTYLOS. [templum,] DIATRE'TA. [ViTRUM.J DIAULOS (5/avAos). [stadium.] DIAZO'MA (Sta&^a). [subligaculum.] DICASTE'RION (8iKa.<rr'hpiov\ indicates both the aggregate judges that sat in court, and the place itself in which they held their sittings. For an account of the former, the reader is referred to the article dicastes : with respect to the latter, our information is very imperfect. In the earlier ages there were five celebrated places at Athens set apart for the sittings of the judges, who had cognizance of the graver causes in which the loss of human life was avenged or expiated, viz. the areio-pagites and the ephetae. These places were the Areiopagus [areiopagus], and the errl IIaAAa5t<p, firl AeXfyivicp^ eirl Tlpvraveicfo and ev OpearTo?. The antiquity of these four last is sufficiently vouched for by the archaic character of the division of the causes that were appropriated to each: in the first we are told that accidental deaths were discussed ; in the second homicides confessed, but justified; in the third there were quasi trials of inanimate things, which, by falling and the like, had occasioned a loss of human lifej in the fourth homicides who had returned from exile, and committed a fresh manslaughter, were appointed to be tried. With respect to these ancient institutions, of which little more than the name remained when the historical age commenced, it will be sufficient to observe that, in accordance with the ancient Greek feeling respecting murder, viz., that it partook more of the nature of a ceremonial pollution than a political offence, the presiding judge was invariably the king archon, the Athenian rex sa-crorum ; and that the places in which the trials were held were open to the sky, to avoid the contamination which the judges might incur by being under the same roof with a murderer. (Matthiae, De Jud. Atli. p. 157.) The places, however, remained after the office of the judges who originally sat there, was abolished; and they appear from Demosthenes (c. Neaer. p. 1343. 21) to have been occasionally used by the ordinary Heliastic judges when trying a cause of the kind to Avhich they were originally appropriated. The most important court in later ages was the Heliaea, in which, we are told by the grammarians, the weightiest causes were decided ; and if so, we may conclude the thesmothetae were the presiding magistrates. Besides this, ordinary Heliastic courts sate in the Odeium, in the courts Trigonon, the Greater (Me?fo?/), the Middle (PtfeW), the Green, the Red, that of Metiochus, and the Parabyston: but of these we are unable to fix the localities, or to what magistrates it was usual to apportion them. They were all painted with their distinctive colours ; and, it appears, had a letter of the alphabet
inscribed over the doorway. With the exception of the Heliaea, and those in which causes of mur der were tried, they were probably protected from the weather. The dicasts sat upon wooden benches, which were covered with rugs or matting (\J/m0ta,) and there were elevations or tribunes (p-fjjj.aTa), upon which the antagonist advocates stood during their address to the court. The space occupied by the persons engaged in the trial was protected by a railing (8pv<f)d,KTots) from the intru sion of the bystanders; but in causes which bore upon the violation of the mysteries, a further space of fifty feet all round was enclosed by a rope, and the security of this barrier guaranteed by the presence of the public slaves. (Meier, Ait. Proc. p. 1141.) [J. S. M.]
DICASTES (&KaoT7/?s), in its broadest acceptation a judge, more peculiarly denotes the Attic functionary of the democratic period, who, with his colleagues, was constitutionally empowered to try and pass judgment upon all causes and questions that the laws and customs of his country pronounced susceptible of judicial investigation. In the circumstance of a plurality of persons being selected from the mass of private citizens, and associated temporarily as representatives of the whole body of the people, adjudicating between its individual members, and of such delegates swearing an oath that they would well and truly discharge the duties entrusted to them, there appears some resemblance between the constitution of the Attic dicasterion and an English jury, but in nearly all other respects the distinctions between them are as great as the intervals of space and time which separate their' several nations. At Athens the conditions of his eligibility were, that the dicast should be a free citizen, in the enjoyment of his full franchise (eVm/ua), and not less than thirty years of age, and of persons so qualified six thousand were selected by lot for the service of every year. Of the precise method of their appointment our notices are somewhat obscure; but we may gather from them that it took place every year under the conduct of the nine archons and their official scribe ; that each of these ten personages, drew by lot the names of six hundred persons of the tribe assigned to him ; that the whole number so selected was again divided by lot into ten sections of 500 each, together with a supernumerary one, consisting of a thousand persons, from among whom the occasional deficiencies in the sections of 500 might be supplied. To each of the ten sections one of the ten first letters of the alphabet was appropriated as a distinguishing mark, and a small tablet (ttiv&kiov)., inscribed with the letter of the section and the name of the individual, was delivered as a certificate of his appointment to each dicast. Three bronze plates found in the Peiraeeus, and described by Dodwell (Travels^ vol. i. pp. 433—437), are supposed to have served this purpose ; the inscriptions upon them consist of the following letters:—A. AIOAHPO2 $PEA, E. AEINIA2 AAAIET2, and B. ANTIXAPMO2 AAMI1, and bear besides representations of owls and Gorgon heads, and other devices symbolic of the Attic people. The thousand supernumeraries had in all probability some different token, but of this we have no certain knowledge.
Before proceeding to the exercise of his functions the dicast was obliged to swear the official oath ; which was done in the earlier ages at a place called Ardettus, without the city, on the banks of