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eisangelia


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(‘impeachment’) in Athenian law was the name of distinct types of prosecution.1. The accuser denounced someone to the ekklesia or the boule for treason. In the 4th cent. bc a law specified offences for which this procedure could be used: subversion of the democracy, betrayal of Athenian forces or possessions to an enemy, and corrupt deception of the people by an orator (see bribery, greek). In the 5th cent. it had been possible to use eisangelia for serious offences not specified in any law; the best known cases are the prosecutions for profanation of the mysteries (see eleusis) and mutilation of the herms in 415. But in the 4th cent. this seems to have been no longer permitted, and prosecutors sometimes made tortuous efforts to bring various charges under one or other of the headings specified in the law. A case might be either referred to a jury or tried by the ekklesia itself, but after the middle of the 4th cent. no instances of trial by the ekklesia are known.2. The accuser denounced an official to the boule for maladministration. The boule could impose a fine up to 500 drachmas. If it considered a heavier penalty was required, it referred the case to a jury.3. The accuser denounced a guardian (see guardianship, Greece) for maltreatment of an orphan, and prosecuted him before a jury.A common feature was that in eisangelia, unlike other public actions, the prosecutor suffered no penalty if he obtained less than one‐fifth of the jury's votes.

1. The accuser denounced someone to the ekklesia or the boule for treason. In the 4th cent. bc a law specified offences for which this procedure could be used: subversion of the democracy, betrayal of Athenian forces or possessions to an enemy, and corrupt deception of the people by an orator (see bribery, greek). In the 5th cent. it had been possible to use eisangelia for serious offences not specified in any law; the best known cases are the prosecutions for profanation of the mysteries (see eleusis) and mutilation of the herms in 415. But in the 4th cent. this seems to have been no longer permitted, and prosecutors sometimes made tortuous efforts to bring various charges under one or other of the headings specified in the law. A case might be either referred to a jury or tried by the ekklesia itself, but after the middle of the 4th cent. no instances of trial by the ekklesia are known.

2. The accuser denounced an official to the boule for maladministration. The boule could impose a fine up to 500 drachmas. If it considered a heavier penalty was required, it referred the case to a jury.

3. The accuser denounced a guardian (see guardianship, Greece) for maltreatment of an orphan, and prosecuted him before a jury.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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