Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of March 21, 2003
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Apophasis (ἀπόφασις) refers to a report issued by the Areopagus after the Areopagus had investigated a matter of bribery or treason (see, for example, Din. 1.1). But this report was merely one part of an involved process of investigation and prosecution that involved the Areopagus, the Assembly, and the People’s Court. The best evidence for this procedure comes from Dinarchus’ speech prosecuting Demosthenes for allegedly having taken bribes from Harpalus, a Macedonian (Din. 1.1). In this speech, Dinarchus concisely describes the procedure for an apophasis, and describes how the different institutions of the Athenian government worked together. He begins by saying that, “The council of the Areopagus is bound, gentlemen, to follow one of two methods in making all its reports (τὰς ἀποφάσεις πάσας)” (Din. 1.50). He spends a couple of sentences criticizing Demosthenes, then returns to characterize the current procedings: “Compare the present case, where you have both a decree [ψήφισμα, passed by the Assembly — CWB] which authorized the council’s inquiry [the ‘council’ here is the Council of the Areopagus — CWB], and accusers, elected by the people [χειροτονήσαντος τοῦ δήμου, referring again to a vote by show of hands in the Assembly — CWB], who are now giving the jury [οἱ δικασταὶ, in the People’s Court — CWB] an account of the crimes” (Din. 1.51).
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