Another interesting aspect of the Athenian jury system was that judges received about 1/3 of what a skilled worker received for a day`s work, three obols. It was not a large sum of money, but only reasonably wealthy citizens could afford to give up a day`s gains. Thus, some Athenians were not attracted by this payment. Cases of murder and assault are heard by the second type of court and use more formal procedures than people`s courts. For example, homicide courts prohibited “irrelevant” statements, i.e. statements that could be considered irrelevant under the current rules of evidence, while people`s courts were more lenient on acceptable statements. [8] The homicide courts did not rely on juries, but on panels of fifty-one former serving life sentences. [9] One source claims that the Athenian courts were held in three different buildings. These three buildings were located next to each other and formed a triangle of open spaces. All three buildings were spacious, allowing many people to observe the process. The three buildings are called buildings A, B and C. “Courtyard A, covered colonnade; Courtyard B, rectangular room; and Court C, a rectangular room.

Yards A and B shared a wall and were located opposite Court C. Excavations of the site found an urn near the eastern part of Building B next to Building A. [5] Other sources claim that according to the court, its location would change. The courts were sometimes around the agora and at other times, such as in a serious case against a still-serving official, they stood on the pnyx, an open area on a hill. The courts were very large because there were a lot of jury members, so it was sometimes difficult to find one building for everyone. Various researchers say that there were different areas in which the trials took place. The trials were varied in their cases, public and private, and the courts were different in their composition (number of jurors). Most of the tests took place in the main part of the city, the agora, but some took place throughout the city and its surroundings. Many Athenians took exams and participated regardless of the weather. [6] All trials in Athens began with a quarrel or conflict. To illustrate the process that led to a trial, let us say that there are two men, Ariston and Conon.

Ariston believes that Conon has stolen property from him, so he goes to a judge, a citizen who has been appointed to the government for a year, and complains about Conon. The magistrate then holds a preliminary hearing during which Ariston and Conon present evidence and question each other about the case. The judge then sends the two men to the public arbitration tribunal. During arbitration, both men present evidence in support of their respective claims, and an arbitrator decides what he considers to be the fairest course of action. If Ariston or Conon disagree with the arbitrator, they can opt for a jury trial instead. At every stage of the process, citizens were responsible for presenting their own evidence and representing themselves, as Athens had no police or lawyer. However, professional speechwriters would write speeches for litigants to deliver in court. In fact, most of the evidence for the functioning of Athens` courts comes from surviving judicial speeches. There were two types of cases dealt with by the Athenian courts. First there was the dike or the private matter. This type of case did not concern the Community as a whole, but concerned persons who claimed to be wronged.

This type of case could only be initiated by a person personally affected or affected by the case. Second, there was the graph or the public case. This type of case concerned the Community. Cases of treason, desertion or embezzlement of public funds serve as examples of “graphic” cases. Any male citizen of Athens could initiate this kind of case. It should be noted that in both cases, if the prosecutor received less than 1/5 of the jury`s votes, a significant fine was imposed. The dishes in Athens were different and diverse: over time they also changed. They came from the elite council and the rich who were in charge, and were finally open to any free man who was in the army. Athens valued justice and they had many different reforms as different challenges arose. The Athenian court was numerous and decisions were taken by majority.

The courts could also banish from society those who gained too much power and became tyrants. Athens` laws also changed as the courts changed to better work with society. “The first Greeks were a pugnacious bunch. [4] These courts were juries and very large: the smallest possible had 200 members (+1 to avoid draws) and sometimes 501, 1000 or 1500. The annual pool of judges, whose official name was Heliaia, consisted of 6000 members. On at least one known occasion, the six thousand people sat together to judge a single case (a plenary session of Heliaia). This was very different from Roman laws, because in Rome the representatives of the jury were elected. Athenian judges were drawn by lot, which meant that juries would theoretically be composed of a wide range of members of different social classes. Juries were elected annually, like all other positions within the state (with the exception of generals, known as strategoi).

After the reforms of Solon in 594/3 BC. Anyone from each of the four classes (Pentacosiomedimni, Hippeis, Zeugiten and Thetes) could become a juror. This was intended to make the system much fairer for poorer members of society who had previously been excluded in favor of elite aristocrats. The events leading up to the trial itself are similar to what many litigants are experiencing today. As in modern times, a case was initiated by a plaintiff who filed a lawsuit. The plaintiff was responsible for serving the application on the defendant in the presence of witnesses. [14] The complaint was then brought before a judge who was a citizen chosen by lot, who then held a preliminary hearing [anakrisis]. In response to the complaint, a defendant could deny the allegations, deny them and make a paragraph or deny that there was a cause of action.

[15] At these preliminary hearings, the parties could question each other and had to disclose the evidence they intended to present at trial, including documents and witness statements. [16] After the preliminary hearing, the magistrate would usually send a private case without murder to an arbitrator and a public case directly to the People`s Court. People`s courts were one of three types of courts in Athens, along with murder courts and maritime courts. Of these three, the people`s courts tried a wide variety of cases, which were of two types: public or private. Cases were considered public if they involved the Athenian people as a whole, while disputes limited to individuals were considered private. In private cases, the only person who could sue was the victim or the victim`s family, while in public cases, any citizen who wished to do so could take legal action. The archons who summoned the courts had a purely administrative function and gave no legal direction or advice to the jury: there was no judge except the jury itself. Often, litigants hired speechwriters (logographers) to deliver speeches to the parties. Some of the most famous of these logographies were Antiphon, Lysias and Demosthenes. The surviving speeches of these men constitute an important source for our knowledge of Athenian law.

[25] However, the litigants never purported to make prepared speeches, but pretended to speak improvised and demonstrated their skill in what we would now call rhetoric, in order to convince the jury. [26] Many statements have been admitted before people`s courts, which today would face challenges to evidence such as hearsay and relevance. For example, jurors often heard arguments about the litigant`s past actions, his relationship with other community members, and the potential negative effects of a guilty verdict on his family. [27] The Athenian People`s Courts or Dicaterie were the characteristic institution of democratic Athens, in which citizens presented legal disputes before their colleagues` jurors in order to resolve arguments fairly and democratically. The Athenian judicial system consisted of a series of courts. Some of the courts we know of existed in ancient Athens are: Athenian courts tried two types of cases – private [dikai] or public [graphai]. There were no lawyers or prosecutors. Complaints could only be filed by individuals: our modern concept of a “corporation” but not a “physical” one, such as a corporation or partnership, apparently did not exist.

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