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date: 02 December 2022

judges, foreignlocked

judges, foreignlocked

  • Antony Spawforth


Modern coinage to describe a judge or panel of judges (xenikon dikastērion) sent by one Greek city to hear lawsuits in another, often on the basis of a shared tie of *kinship (syngeneia). Attested mainly from honorific decrees on stone, these judges—commonly between one and five with a secretary—are known from the 4th cent. bce until the Antonines, but above all in Hellenistic times (see hellenism), when their dispatch could be orchestrated by kings or royal officials, as well as the Greek leagues (koina). They are found hearing both public and private suits, including disputes over written contracts (sumbolaia); long backlogs in local courts are a frequently cited reason for their presence. References to foreign judges who restored concord (*homonoia) among citizens link this demand for impartial jurisdiction with the internal unrest (*stasis), often based on the indebtedness of the poor to the rich, which marked many Greek cities in Hellenistic times. See arbitration, greek.


  • Greek Law

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