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GEROUSIA.

gatives ; thus they had in common with other magistrates the rigU of addressing the public assembly; besides this, they sat in a separate court of their own, where they gave judgment in all cases of heiresses claimed by different parties : a function formerly exercised by the kings at Athens, but afterwards transferred to the Arch on Eponymus. (Herod, vi. 57.) They also appointed the four Pythians (Uvdioi\ whose duty it was to go as mes­sengers to consult the god at Delphi. Adoptions also took place in their presence, and they held a court in all cases connected with the maintenance of the public roads ; probably in their capacity of generals, and as superintendents of the intercourse with foreign nations. (Miiller, Dor. iii. 6. § 7.) In foreign affairs, indeed, their prerogatives were con­siderable : thus they were the commanders of the Spartan forces, and had the privilege of nominat­ing from amongst the citizens, persons to act as " proxeni " or protectors and entertainers of foreign­ers visiting Sparta. But their chief power was in war ; for after they had once crossed the borders of Laconia, in command of troops, their authority became unlimited. They could send out and as­semble armies, despatch ambassadors to collect money, and refer those who applied to themselves for justice to the proper officers appointed for that purpose. (Xen. De Rep. Lao. 13 ; Thuc. v. 60, viii. 5.) Two ephors, indeed, accompanied the kings on their expeditions, but those magistrates had no authority to interfere with the king's opera­tions : they simply watched over the proceedings of the army. (Xen. I. c.) Moreover, there can be no doubt that the kings were, on their return home, accountable for their conduct as generals (Thucyd. v. 63), and more especially after the increase of the ephoral authority. Their military power also was not connected with any political functions, for the kings were not allowed to conclude treaties or to decide the fate of cities, without communicating with the authorities at home. (Xen. Hell. ii. 2. § 12, v. 3. § 24.) In former times the two kings had a joint command ; this, however, led to inconveni­ences, and a law ivas in consequence passed that for the future one only of the two kings should have the command of the army on foreign expedi­tions. (Herod, v. 57.)

II. T/ie yepovffia,, or council of ciders. This body was the aristocratic element of the Spartan po!ity, and not peculiar to Sparta onty, but found, as has been already observed, in other Dorian states, just as a fiovX'fi or democratical council was an element of most Ionian constitutions.

The yepovdia, or yeptavia at Sparta included the two kings, its presidents, and consisted of thirty members : a number which seems connected with the divisions of the Spartan people. Every Dorian state, in fact, was divided into three tribes: the Hylleis, the Dymanes, and the Pamphyli, whence the Dorians are called Tprxai'Kes, or thrice divided. (Od. xix. 174.) The tribes at Sparta were again subdivided into &€ai, also called (pparpiai (Miiller, Dor. iii, 5. § 3), a word which signifies a union of families, whether founded upon ties of relationship, or formed for political purposes, irrespective of any such connection. The obae were like the ytpovres, thirty in number, so that each oba was represented by its councillor: an inference which leads to the conclusion that two obae at least, of the Hj'l-lean tribe, must have belonged to the royal house of the Heracleids. No one was eligible to the

GEKOUSTA.

council till he was sixty years of age (Pint. Lycurg. 26), and the additional qualifications were strictly of an aristocratic nature. We are told, for in­stance, that the office of a councillor was the re­ward and prize of virtue (Aristot. PoliL ii. 6. § 15 ; Demosth. c. Lept. p. 489), and that it was confined to men of distinguished character and station

The election was determined by vote, and the mode of conducting it was remarkable for its old-fashioned simplicity. The competitors presented themselves one after another to the assembly of electors (Pint. Lycurg. 26); the latter testified their esteem by acclamations, which varied in intensity according to the popularity of the candidates for whom they were given. These manifestations of esteem were noted by persons in an adjoining building, who could judge of the shouting, but could not tell in whose favour it was given. The person whom these judges thought to have been most applauded was declared the successful candi­date. The different competitors for a vacant place offered themselves upon their own judgment (Aristot. Polit. ii. 6. § 18), probably always from the w§a, to which the councillor whose place was vacant had belonged ; and as the office was for life, and therefore only one vacancy could (in ordinary cases) happen at a time, the attention of the whole state would be fixed on the choice of the electors. The office of a councillor, however, was not only for life, but also irresponsible (Aristot. Polit. ii. 6), as if a previous reputation, and the near approach of death, were considered a sufficient guarantee for integrity and moderation. But the councillors did not always prove so, for Aristotle (I. c:') tells us that the members of the yepovaia received bribes, and frequently showed partiality in their decisions.

The functions of the councillors were partly de­liberative, partly judicial, and partly executive. In the discharge of the first they prepared measures and passed preliminary decrees (Plut. Agis^ II) which were to be laid before the popular assembly, so that the important privilege of initiating all changes in the government or laws was vested in them. As a criminal court they could punish with death and civil degradation (arr/xfo, Xen. De Rep. Lac. 10. § 2 ; Arist. Polit. iii, 1), and that, too, without being restrained by any code of writ­ten laws (Aristot. Polit. ii. 6), for which national feeling and recognised usages would form a suffi­cient substitute. They also appear to have exer­cised, like the Areiopagus at Athens, a general superintendence and inspection over the lives and manners of the citizens (arbitri ct magistri discipli-naepublicae, Aul. Gell. xviii. 3), and probably were allowed " a kind of patriarchal authority to enforce the observance of ancient usage and discipline." (Thirlwall, Hist, of Greece, vol. i. p. 318.) It is not, however, easy to define with exactness the original extent of their functions ; especially as respects the last-mentioned duty, since the ephors not only encroached upon the prerogatives of the king and council, but also possessed, in very early times, a censorial power, and were not likely to permit any diminution of its extent.

III. The eV/c A.?7{7m, or assembly of Spartan freemen. This assembly possessed, in theory at least, the supreme authority in all matters affecting the general interests of the state. Its original position at Sparta is shortly explained by a rhetra or ordinance of Lycurgus, which, in the form of an

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