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of Five Hundred, whose place of meeting | imit the number are applicable only to was in a lower part of Athens, called the an earlier period of its existence. (See Ceramicus. Its high antiquity may be the anonymous argument to the oration inferred from the legends respecting the of Demosthenes against Androtion.) It causes brought before it in the mythical may be proper to observe, that modern age of Greece, among which is that of histories of this council do not commonly Orestes, who was tried for the murder of give the actual archons a seat in it. They his mother (Æschylus, Eumen.); but its are, however, placed there by Lysias the authentic history commences with the orator (Areop. p. 110, 16-20), and there age of Solon. There is indeed as early as is no reason to think that in this respect the first Messenian war something like any change had been made in its conhistorical notice of its great fame, in the stitution after the time of Solon. To the shape of a tradition preserved by Pausa- council thus constituted Solon intrusted a nias (iv. 51), that the Messenians were mixed jurisdiction and authority of great willing to commit the decision of a dis- extent, judicial, political, and censorial. pute between them and the Lacedæmo- As a court of justice, it had direct cognians, involving a case of murder, to the nizance of the more serious crimes, such Areopagus. We are told that it was not as murder and arson. It exercised a cermentioned by name in the laws of Dracon, tain control over the ordinary courts, and though its existence in his time, as a was the guardian generally of the laws court of justice, can be distinctly proved. and religion. It interfered, at least on (Plutarch, Sol. c. 19.) It seems that some occasions, with the immediate adthe name of the Areopagites was lost in ministration of the government, and at that of the Ephetæ, who were then the all times inspected the conduct of the appointed judges of all cases of homicide, public functionaries. But, in the exercise as well in the court of Areopagus as in of its duties as public censor for the prethe other criminal courts. (Müller, His- servation of order and decency, it was tory of the Dorians, vol. i. p. 352, English armed with inquisitorial powers to an translation.) Solon, however, so com- almost unlimited extent. pletely reformed its constitution, that he It should be observed, that in the time received from many, or, as Plutarch says, of Solon, and by his regulations, the from most authors, the title of its founder. archons were chosen from the highest of It is therefore of the council of Areo- the four classes into which he had divided pagus, as constituted by Solon, that we the citizens. Of the archons so chosen, shall first speak; and the subject pos- the council of Areopagus was formed. sesses some interest from the light which Here, then, was a permanent body, which it throws on the views and character of possessed a general control over the state, Solon as a legislator. It was composed composed of men of the highest rank, and of the archons of the year and of those doubtless in considerable proportion of who had borne the office of archon. The Eupatridæ, or nobles by blood. The latter became members for life ; but before strength of the democracy lay in the their admission they were subjected, at ecclesia, or popular assembly, and in the the expiration of their annual magistracy, ordinary courts of justice, of which the to a rigid scrutiny into their conduct in dikasts, or jurors, were taken indiscrimioffice and their morals in private life. nately from the general body of the citiProof of criminal or unbecoming conduct zens; and the council of Areopagus exwas sufficient to exclude them in the first ercised authority directly or indirectly instance, and to expel them after admis- over both. The tendency of this institusion. Various accounts are given of the tion to be a check on the popular part of number to which the Areopagites were that mixed government given by Solon limited. If there was any fixed number, to the Athenians, is noticed by Aristotle it is plain that admission to the council (Polit. ii. 9, and v. 3, ed. Schneid.). He was not a necessary consequence of honour- speaks indeed of the council as being one able discharge from the scrutiny. But it of those institutions which Solon found is more probable that the accounts which ! and suffered to remain : but he can hardly
mean to deny what all authority proves, (Areop. p. 110, 46), that it was in his that in the shape in which it existed from time charged especially with the preservathe time of the legislator, it was his in- tion of the sacred olive-trees; and we stitution.
are told elsewhere that it was the scourge The council, from its restoration by of impiety. It possessed, also, long after Solon to the time of Pericles, seems to the time of Pericles, in some measure at have remained untouched by any direct least the powers of the censorship. (Atheinterference with its constitution. But næus, 4, 64, ed. Dindorf.) during that interval two important changes Pericles was struggling for power by were introduced in the general consti- the favour of the people, and it was his tution of the state, which must have had policy to relieve the democracy from the some influence on the composition of the pressure of an adverse influence. By council, though we may not be able to increasing the business of the popular trace their effects. The election of the courts, he at once conciliated his friends chief magistrates by suffrage was ex- and strengthened their hands. The council changed for appointment by lot, and the possessed originally some authority in highest offices of state were thrown open matters of finance, and the appropriation to the whole body of the people. But of the revenue ; though Mr. Mitford and about the year B.C. 459, Pericles at others, in saying that it controlled all tacked the council itself, which never issues from the public treasury, say recovered from the blow which he in- perhaps more than they can prove. In flicted upon it. All ancient authors agree later times the popular assembly reserved in saying that a man called Ephialtes the full control of the revenue exclusively was his instrument in proposing the law to itself, and the administration of it was by which his purpose was effected, but committed to the popular council, the unfortunately we have no detailed ac- senate of five hundred. It seems that, at count of his proceedings. Aristotle and first, the Areopagites were invested with Diodorus state generally that he abridged an irresponsible authority. Afterwards the authority of the council, and broke its they were obliged, with all other public power. (Aristotle, Polit. ü. 9; Diodorus, functionaries, to render an account of xi. 77.) Plutarch, who has told us more their administration to the people. (Æschithan others (Cim. c. 15; Pericl. c. 7), says nes, Contr. Ctes. p. 56, 30.) Both these oniy that he removed from its cognizance changes may, with sonie probability, be the greater part of those causes which had attributed to Pericles. After all, the previously come before it in its judicial council was allowed to retain a large character, and that, by transferring the portion of its former dignity and very control over the ordinary courts of law extensive powers. The change operated immediately to the people, he subjected by Pericles seems to have consisted printhe state to an unmixed democracy. Little cipally in this: that, from having exmore than this can now be told, save from ercised independent and paramount auconjecture, in which modern compilers thority, it was made subordinate to the have rather liberally indulged. Among ecclesia. The power which it continued the causce withdrawn from its cognizance to possess was delegated by the people, those of murder were not included; for but it was bestowed in ample measure. Demosthenes states (Contr. Aristocr. p. Whatever may have been the effect of this 641-42), that none of the many revo- change on the fortunes of the republic, it lutions which had occurred before his day is probable that too much importance has had ventured to touch this part of its been commonly attached to the agency criminal jurisdiction. There is no reason of Pericles. He seems only to have acto believe that it ever possessed, in mat- celerated what the irresistible course of ters of religion, such extensive authority things must soon have accomplished. It as some have attributed to it, and there is may be true that the unsteady course of at least no evidence that it lost at this the popular assembly required some check, time any portion of that which it had which the democracy in its unmitigated previously exercised. Lysias observes form could not supply, but the existence of an independent body in the state, such members. (Isocrates, Areop. p. 147.) J's as the council of Areopagus as constituted the corruption of manners and utter by Solon, seems hardly to be consistent degradation of character which prevailed with the secure enjoyment of popular at Athens, after it fell under the dominarights and public liberty; which the tion of Macedonia, we are not surprised Athenian people, by their naval services to find that the council partook of the in the Persian war, and the consequences character of the times, and that an Areoof their success, had earned the right to pagite might be a mark for the finger of possess and the power to obtain. It ought scorn. (Athenæus, 4, 64.) Under the not, however, to be concluded that insti- Romans it retained at least some formal tutions unsuitable to an altered state of authority, and Cicero applied for and things were unskilfully framed by Solon, obtained a decree of the council, requestor that he surrounded the infancy of a free ing Cratippus, the philosopher, to sojourn constitution with more restrictions than at Athens and instruct the youth. (Pluwere necessary for its security. He may tarch, Cic. c. 24.) It long after remained still deserve the reputation which he has in existence, but the old qualifications for gained of having laid the foundation of admission were neglected in the days of popular government at Athens.
its degeneracy, nor is it easy to say what With respect to the censorship, we can were substituted for them. Later times show, by a few instances of the mode in saw even a stranger to Athens among the which it acted, that it could have been Areopagites. effectually operative only in a state of We shall conclude this article with a society from which the Athenians were few words on the forms observed by the fast emerging before the time of Pericles. council in its proceedings as a court of The Areopagites paid domiciliary visits, justice in criminal cases. The court was for the purpose of checking extravagant held in an uninclosed space on the Areohousekeeping. (Athenæus, 6, 46.) They pagus, and in the open air; which cuscalled on any citizen at their discretion to tom, indeed, it had in common with all account for the employment of his time. other courts in cases of murder, if we (Plutarch, Sol. c. 23.) They summoned trust the oration (De Cade Herodis, p. before their awful tribunal, and condemned, 130) attributed to Antiphon. The Areoa boy for poking out the eyes of a quail. pagites were in later times, according to (Quintilian, Instit. Orator. 5, 9. 13.) They Vitruvius, accommodated with the shelter fixed a mark of disgrace on a man who of a roof. The prosecutor and defendant had dined in a tavern. (Athenæus, 13, 21.) stood on two separate rude blocks of stone, Athens, in the prosperity which she enjoyed and, before the pleadings commenced, during the last fifty years before the Pelo- were required each to take an oath with ponnesian war, might have tolerated the circumstances of peculiar solemnity : the existence, but certainly not the general former, that he charged the accused party activity of such an inquisition.
justly; the defendant, that he was innoIt appears from the language of con- cent of the charge. At a certain stage of temporary writers, that while there were the proceedings, the latter was allowed to any remains of public spirit and virtue in withdraw his plea, with the penalty of Athens the council was regarded with banishment from his country." (Demosrespect, appealed to with deference, and thenes, Contr. Aristocr. p. 642-3.) In employed on the most important occa- their speeches both parties were restricted sions. (Lysias, Contr. Theomnest. p. 117, to a simple statement, and dry argument 12; De Evandr. p. 176, 17; Andoc. p. on the merits of the case, to the exclusion 11, 32; Demosthenes, Contr. Aristocr. of all irrelevant matter, and of those p. 641-2.) In the time of Isocrates, when various contrivances known under the the scrutiny had ceased or become a dead general name of paraskeue (rapaskeun), letter, and profligacy of life was no bar to affect the passions of the judges, so to admission into the council, its moral / shamelessly allowed and practised in the influence was still such as to be an effec- other courts. (Or. Lycurg. p. 149, 12-25; tual restraint on the conduct of its own | Lucian, Gymn. c. 19.) of the existence
of the rule in question in this court, we person, it is shared by a number of perhave a remarkable proof in an apology of sons either greater or less than half the Lysias for an artful violation of it in his community: if this number is less than Areopagitic oration (p. 112, 5). Advo- half, the government is called an ariscates were allowed, at least in later times, tocracy, if it is greater than half, the to both parties. Many commentators on government is called a democracy. Since, the New Testament have placed St. Paul | however, women and children have in as a defendant at the bar of the Areopa- all ages and countries (except in cases gus, on the strength of a passage in the of hereditary succession) been excluded Acts of the Apostles (xvii. 19). The from the exercise of the sovereign power, apostle was indeed taken by the inquisi- the number of persons enumerated in tive Athenians to the hill, and there estimating the form of the government is required to expound and defend his new confined to the adult males, and does not doctrines for the entertainment of his comprehend every individual of the soauditors; but in the narrative of Luke ciety, like a census of population. Thus, there is no hint of an arraignment and if a nation contains 2,000,000 souls, of trial.
which 500,000 are adult males, if the Some of our readers may perhaps be sovereign power is lodged in a body consurprised that we have made no mention sisting of 500 or 600 persons, the governof a practice so often quoted as peculiar | ment is an aristocracy: if it is lodged in to the Areopagites, that of holding their a body consisting of 400,000 persons, the sessions in the darkness of night. The government is a democracy, though this truth is, that we are not persuaded of the number is considerably less than half fact. It is, indeed, noticed more than the entire population. It is also to be once by Lucian, and perhaps by some remarked, that where there is a class of other of the later writers; but it is not subjects or slaves who are excluded from supported, we believe, by any sufficient all political rights and all share in the authority, whilst there is strong presump- sovereignty, the numbers of the dominant tive evidence against the common opinion. community are alone taken into the acIt was, as it should seem, no unusual pas- count in determining the name we are to time with the Athenians to attend the give to the form of the government. trials on the Areopagus as spectators. Thus, Athens at the time of the Pelopon(Lysias, Contr. Theomn. p. 117, 10.) nesian war had conquered a number of We suspect that few of this light-hearted independent communities in the islands people would have gone at an unseason- of the Ægean Sea and on the coasts of able hour in the dark to hear such Asia Minor and Thrace, which were speeches as were there delivered, and see reduced to different degrees of subjection, nothing. Perhaps there may be no better but were all substantially dependent on foundation for the story than there is for the Athenians. Nevertheless, as every the notion, till lately so generally enter- adult male Athenian citizen had a share tained, that the same gloomy custom was in the sovereign power, the government in use with the celebrated Vehmic tribu- of Athens was called not an aristocracy, nal of Westphalia.
but a democracy. Again, the Athenians ARISTOCRACY, from the Greek had a class of slaves four or five times aristocrátia (dplotokpatía), according to more numerous than the whole body of its etymology, means a government of citizens of all ages and sexes; yet as a the best or most excellent (đploto!). This majority of the citizens possessed the name, which, like optimates in Latin, was sovereign power, the government was applied to the educated and wealthy class called a democracy. In like manner, the in the state, soon lost its moral and ob- government of South Carolina in the tained a purely political sense : so that United States of America is called a dearistocracy came to mean merely a go- mocracy, because every alult freeman, vernment of a few, the rich being always who is a native or has obtained the the minority of a nation. When the rights of citizenship by residence, has a sovereign power does not belong to one vote in the election of members of the
legislative assembly, although the num- France from the reign of Louis XIV. to ber of the slaves in that state exceeds the revolution of 1789, have often been that of the free population.
called the aristocracy, although the goAn Aristocracy, therefore, may be de-vernment was during that time purely fined to be a form of government in which monarchical; so a class of persons has by the sovereign power is divided among a many historians been termed the aristá number of persons less than half the cracy in aristocratical republics, as Venice, adult males of the entire community and Rome before the admission of the where there is not a class of subjects or plebeians to equal political rights : and in slaves, or the dominant community where democratical republics, as Athens, Rome there is a class of subjects or slaves. in later times, and France during a part of
Sometimes the word aristocracy is used her revolution. It would therefore be an to signify not a form of government, but error if any person were to infer from the a class of persons in a state. In this existence of an aristocracy (that is, an sense it is applied not merely to the per- aristocratical class) in a state, that the sons composing the sovereign body in a form of government is therefore aristocrastate of which the government is aristo- tical, though in fact that might happen to cratical, but to a class or political party be the case. in any state, whatever be the form of its The use of the word aristocracy to siggovernment. When there is a privileged nify a class of persons never occurs in the order of persons in a community having a Greek writers, with whom it originated, title or civil dignity, and when no person, nor (as far as we are aware) is it ever not belonging to this body, is admitted to employed by Machiavelli and the revivers share in the sovereign power, this class is of political science since the middle ages : often called the aristocracy, and the aris- among modern writers of all parts of Eutocratic party or class; and all persons rope this acceptation has, however, now not belonging to it are called the popular become frequent and established. party, or, for shortness, the people. Un- There is scarcely any political term der these circumstances many rich per- which has a more vague and fluctuating sons would not belong to the aristocratic sense than aristocracy; and the historical class; but if a change takes place in the or political student should be careful to constitution of the state, by which the watch with attention the variations in its disabilities of the popular order are re- meaning: observing, first, whether it moved, and the rich obtain a large share means a form of government or a class of the sovereign power, then the rich persons : if it means a form of government, become the aristocratic class, as opposed whether the whole community is included, to the middle ranks and the poor. This or whether there is also a class of subjects may be illustrated by the history of or slaves: if it means a class of persons, Florence, in which state the nobili popo- what is the principle which makes them a lani, or popular nobles (as they were political party, or on what ground they called), at one time were opposed to the are jointly opposed to other orders in the aristocratic party, but by a change in the state. If attention is not paid to these constitution became themselves the chiefs points, there is great danger, in political of the aristocratic, and the enemies of the or historical discussions, of confounding popular party. In England, at the pre- things essentially different, and of drawing sent time, aristocracy, as the name of a parallels between governments, parties, class, is generally applied to the rich, as and states of society, which resemble each opposed to the rest of the community : other only in being called by the same sometimes, however, it is used in a narrower sense, and is restricted to the nobi- It has been lately proposed by Mr. lity, or members of the peerage.
Austin, in his work on The Province of The word aristocracy, when used in Jurisprudence,' to use the term aristocracy this last sense, may be applied to an order as a general name for governments in of persons in states of any form of govern- which the sovereignty belongs to several ment. Thus, the privileged orders in persons, that is, to all governinents which