Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
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Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of March 26, 2003
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It is important to remember, in the face of all of these specific actions by the Assembly, that this body could pass a decree on almost anything, as long as the Council presented a probouleuma (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 45.5). In certain matters the Legislators (νομοθέται) could bring special matters before the Assembly, such as impeachments, audits of generals, or prosecutions for improper legislation (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 59.1). The Areopagus, too, could bring matters before the Assembly, such as a report on the subject of private residences being built on the Pnyx (Aeschin. 1.81). And certain business seems to have happened in the presence of the Assembly, but without necessitating a vote or a decree, such as the Archons assigning flute players to tragic choruses (Dem. 21.13). So when we hear of the Assembly approving a law (νόμος) stating that if any one of the captains of the ferry-boats, which traveled between the mainland and the island of Salamis, should capsize his boat, he is to lose his job (Aeschin. 3.159), we should not necessarily assume that governance of the ferry-boats was an ongoing part of the Assembly’s agenda, only that this was an issue that seemed sufficiently important for the Assembly and the Legislators (νομοθέται) to take it up on one occasion.
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