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On this page: Psephus Oj – Pseudengraphes Graphe


PSEPHUS OJrfaos). The Athenian dicasts, in giving their verdict, voted by ballot. For this purpose they used either sea- shells, x°Lp'LVal (Aris-toph. Vesp. 333, 34.9, Eq. 1332), or beans (hence the 5r),uos is called Kvctjjiorp^ by Aristophanes, Eq. 41), or balls of metal ((TTr6v§vXoL) or stone (tf/7}</)oi). These last were the most common : hence t//7j<£f£e(T0cu, and its various derivatives, are used so often to signify voting, determining, &c. The balls were either pierced (reTpuTTfyuez/cu) and whole (TrATjpeTs), the former for condemnation, the latter for acquittal (Aesch. c. Timarck. 11, ed. Steph. ; Harpoc. s. v. TerpuTTTj/xeV??) ; or they were black and white, for the same purposes, respectively, as the following lines show (Ovid. Met. xv. 41) : —

" Mos erat antiquus niveis atrisque lapillis, His damnare reos, illis absolvere culpa.1'


There might be three methods of voting. First, the secret method, called Kpv§§7]v ^^iC^trOat, when each dicast had two balls given him (say a black and a white) ; two boxes (icddoi, KaSicntoi, were prepared, one of brass, called

the judgment-box (fcvpios), into which the dicast put the ball by which he gave his vote, and the other of wood, called &Kvpos, into which he put the other ball, and the only object of which was to enable him to conceal his vote. Each box had a neck or funnel (kt^uos, i. e. €7ri07]fj,a picis tyytpov X&pav *XOJ/)? into which a man could put his hand, but only one ball could pass through the lower part into the box. (Aristoph. Vesp. 99, 751.) Secondly, there might be only one box, in which the dicast put which of the two balls he pleased, and return­ed the other to the officer of the court. Thirdly, there might be two boxes, one for condemnation, the other for acquittal, aud only one ball. (Harpoc. s. v. KaSiV/tos.) The first method was most com­monly practised at Athens. Where, however, there were several parties before the court, as in inheritance causes, to one of whom an estate or other thing was to be adjudged, it was customary to have as many ballot-boxes as there were parties, or at least parties in distinct interests ; and the dicast put the white or whole ball into the box of that person in whose favour he decided. [heres (greek).] The same system of balloting was employed when the dicasts voted on the question of damages. Hence the verdict on the question, guilty or not guilty, or for the plaintiff or defendant (to distinguish it from the other), is called irp&Ti} *j/t)<£o?. (Aesch. c. Cfes.8'2, ed. Steph. ; Demosth. de Fals. Leg. 434, c. Aristocr. 676, c. Aristog. 795, c. Neaer. 1347.) A curious custom was in vogue in the time of Aristophanes. Each, dicast had a waxen tablet, on which, if the heavier penalty was awarded, he drew a long line (length way on the tablet) ; if the lighter penalty, he drew a short line (breadth way on the tablet). We must sup-pose, not that the voting took place in this way, but that, on the votes being counted, the jurors took a note of the result for their own satisfaction ; unless we resort to this hypothesis, viz. that the drawing lines on the tablets was an act preliminary to the division, whereby the jury intimated to the parties how the matter was likely to go, unless they came to a compromise. Such intimation might be necessary in those cases, where, the esti­mates of the parties being widely different, the one proposing too high a penalty, the other too low a one, the jury wished to inform the more un-


reasonable party, that, unless he offered them some better alternative, they should adopt the estimate of his adversary. (As to this point, see Meier, Att. Proc. p. 181.) The tablet is called by Aristo­phanes irivdiciov Ti^riKov. In the expression tijj.s.v t^]v uaKpdv, we understand ypafj.^!/ or T/ju,77<ni/ (Vesp. 106, 167, 850). See Pollux, viii. 16, 17, 123; Meier, Att. Proc. pp.720, 726; Platner, Proc. und Klag. vol. i. p. ] 88 ; Wachs-muth, vol. ii. pt. i. p. 844.

In the popular assemblies the common method of voting was by show of hands. [cheikotonia.] There were some occasions, however, when the ballot was employed ; as where it was deemed im­portant that the voting should be secret, or that the numbers should be accurately counted. Thus, to pass a law for the naturalization of a foreigner, or for the release of a state debtor, or for the resto­ration of a disfranchised citizen, and indeed in every case of a privilegium, it was necessary that six thousand persons should vote in the majority, and in secret. (Andoc. de Myst. 12, ed. Steph. ; Demosth. c. Timoc. 715, 719, c. Neaer. 1375.) On the condemnation of the ten generals who gained the battle of Arginusae, the people voted by ballot, but openly, according to the second of the plans above mentioned. The voting was then by tribes, /cara <j)v\ds. (Xen. Hell. i. 7. § 9.) Secret voting by the Senate of Five Hundred is menti6ned in Aeschines (c. Timarck. 5, ed. Steph.); and in ostracism the voting was conducted in secret. (Schomann, De Comit. pp. 121—128, 245.)

The people or jury were said fyiqfyi&aQai, ^/r\<pov (jxEpeiv or frtffOai, to vote, or gice their vote or judgment, "Vrityov nOevat, to cast accounts, is used with a different allusion. (Demosth. pro Cor. 304.) The presiding magistrate or officer, who called on the people to give their votes, was said eirityTjQi^eii', •fyrityov eTrdyew or StSovcu, though the last expres­sion is also used in the sense of voting in favour of a person. ^yfj^i^eaOai, t° vote, to resolve, utto-\l/?)(f)i£€<rdai9 to acquit, and other derivations from tyrifyos, are often used metaphorically, where the method of voting was xe/porwm, and conversely. Xeiporovetv, however, is not used, like tyytyi&crOai, with the accusative of the thing voted. As to this see Schomann, de Comitiis, p. 123. [C. R. K.]

PSEUDENGRAPHES GRAPHE (^eu-Seyypaffis ypatyrj). It is shown under pr ac-tores that the name of every state debtor at Athens was entered in a register by the practores, whose duty it was to collect the debts, and erase the name of the party when he had paid it. The entry was usually made upon a return by some magistrate, to whom the incurring of the debt be­came officially known ; as, for instance, on a re­turn by the trwXriTai, that such a person had become a lessee of public lands, or farmer of taxes, at such a rent or on such terms. In case, however, the authorities 'neglected to make the proper return, any individual might, on his own responsibility, give information to the registering officers of the existence of the debt; and thereupon the officers, if they thought proper, might make an entry accordingly, though it would probably be their duty to make some inquiry before so doing. If they made a false entry, either wilfully, or upon the suggestion of another person, the aggrieved party might institute a prosecution against them, or against the person upon whose suggestion it was made. Such prosecution was called. ypcup7] ^-eu-

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