Atimia was a form of disenfranchisement used under classical Athenian democracy.

Under democracy in ancient Greece, only free adult Greek males were enfranchised as full citizens. Women, foreigners, children and slaves were not full citizens; they could not vote or hold public office, and they had to have adult males act as guardians of their property and other interests. A man who was made atimos, literally meaning without honour or value, was likewise disenfranchised and disempowered, making him unable to carry out the political functions of a citizen. He could not attend assembly meetings, serve as a juror in Heliaia or bring actions before the courts.

Being barred from assembly would effectively end a citizen's political ambition. Not being able to use the courts to defend oneself against enemies could be socially crippling. It also meant the loss of the small income that jury service and attendance at the assembly provided, which could be significant for poor people unable to work.

Atimia could be inflicted as a penalty by the courts for crimes such as bribery, embezzlement, false witness, and breach of duty as a public officer. A temporary form of atimia was automatically imposed if a debt to the state was unpaid after a certain time, for instance if someone was unable to pay a fine. There was no upper limit on the fines courts could impose and they could well be larger than a person's entire estate. Just as this debt was inheritable, so was the status.[1]

Failure to abide by atimia was seen as an attack on the power of the people, represented by the courts that had imposed it. Failing to comply with atimia could lead to the death penalty.

See also


  1. ^
  • Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes, Mogens Hansen (Oxford 1991)

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Athenian democracy

Athenian democracy developed around the sixth century BC in the Greek city-state (known as a polis) of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, and is often described as the first known democracy in the world. Other Greek cities set up democracies, most following the Athenian model, but none are as well documented as Athens'.

Athens practiced a political system of legislation and executive bills. Participation was not open to all residents, but was instead limited to adult, male citizens (i.e., not a foreign resident, a slave, or a woman), who "were probably no more than 30 percent of the total adult population".Solon (in 594 BC), Cleisthenes (in 508/7 BC), and Ephialtes (in 462 BC) contributed to the development of Athenian democracy. Cleisthenes broke up the power of the nobility by organizing citizens into ten groups based on where they lived, rather than on their wealth. The longest-lasting democratic leader was Pericles. After his death, Athenian democracy was twice briefly interrupted by oligarchic revolutions towards the end of the Peloponnesian War. It was modified somewhat after it was restored under Eucleides; the most detailed accounts of the system are of this fourth-century modification, rather than the Periclean system. Democracy was suppressed by the Macedonians in 322 BC. The Athenian institutions were later revived, but how close they were to a real democracy is debatable.

Atimia (genus)

Atimia is a genus of long-horned beetles in the family Cerambycidae. There are about 13 described species in Atimia.

Atimia confusa

Atimia confusa, known generally as the small cedar borer or small cedar-bark borer, is a species of long-horned beetle in the family Cerambycidae. It is found in North America.

Atimia huachucae

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Atimiini is a tribe of beetles in the subfamily Spondylidinae, containing the following genera and species:

Genus Atimia

Atimia confusa (Say, 1826)

Atimia gannoni Hovore & Giesbert, 1974

Atimia helenae Linsley, 1934

Atimia hoppingi Linsley, 1939

Atimia huachucae Champlain & Knull, 1922

Atimia mexicana Linsley, 1934

Atimia vandykei Linsley, 1939

Genus Paratimia

Paratimia conicola Fisher, 1915


A bachelor is a man who is socially regarded as able to marry, but has not yet. It is also the title of anyone of any gender or marital status who holds a bachelor's degree.


In Ancient Greece, dokimasia (Greek: δοκιμασία) was the name used at Athens to denote the process of ascertaining the capacity of the citizens for the exercise of public rights and duties.

If, for instance, a young citizen was to be admitted among the epheboi, he was examined in an assembly of his district to find out whether he was descended on both sides from Athenian citizens, and whether he possessed the physical capacity for military service. All officials, too—even the members of the Boule, the Council of 500—had to submit to an examination before entering upon their office. The purpose of this was to ascertain not their actual capacity for the post, which was presupposed in all candidates, but their descent from Athenian citizens, their life and character, and (in the case of some offices which involved the administration of large sums) even the amount of their property.

The examination was carried on in public by the archons in the presence of the Boule, and anyone present had the right to raise objections. If such objections were held to be valid, the candidate was rejected; but he had the right to appeal the decision to a court, which would take cognizance of the matter in judicial form. On the other hand, if he were accepted, anyone who thought his claims insufficient had the right of instituting judicial proceedings against him. If the decision was adverse, he would lose his office and be further liable to punishment depending on the offence—which could be, for instance, that of unlawfully assuming the rights of a citizen.

A speaker in a public assembly might thus be brought before a court by any citizen, for only one possessing the full right of citizenship could legally address the people. The question might thus be raised whether the orator were not actually atimos, or guilty of an offence which involved atimia.

Frederic Raurell

Frederic Raurell i Ges (Barcelona, 1930) is a Catalan Capuchin. He is doctor in theology and graduated in biblical and Semitic studies.

Graphe paranomon

The graphē paranómōn (Ancient Greek: γραφὴ παρανόμων), was a form of legal action believed to have been introduced at Athens under the democracy somewhere around the year 415 BC; it has been seen as a replacement for ostracism which fell into disuse around the same time, although this view is not held by David Whitehead, who points out that the graphe paranomon was a legal procedure with legal ramifications, including shame, and the convicted had officially committed a crime, whereas the ostrakismos was not shameful in the least.

The name means "suit against (bills) contrary to the laws." The suit could be brought against laws or decrees that had already been passed, or earlier when they were merely proposals. Once someone announced under oath that he intended to bring such a suit, the legislation or decree in question was suspended until the matter was resolved. The thinking was that, as there was no mechanism in Athens for unmaking a law, any new law should not be in contradiction with the already existing laws.

The suit served a double function. Firstly, it provided a means of reviewing and perhaps rescinding decrees and legislation passed by the assembly. In this it seems to resemble a court of review such as the modern U.S. Supreme Court. However, the judges (who in English are usually referred to as jurors) of the judicial formations of the Athenian court of Heliaia were, like those attending assembly, ordinary citizens and not legal experts, just as the court used was a general one and not a panel devoted to legislative matters. (Jurors, it is true, had a slightly higher status, as they had to be over thirty, not twenty as for the assembly, and they were under oath.) The mechanism can be compared to the upper houses found in many modern democracies. However, in Athens this review was not automatic, but had to be initiated by a citizen. Unlike both an upper house or a specially established court, the review was not framed as an impartial and objective re-examination, but was couched as a prosecution to be defended by a defendant who stood to suffer a penalty in the event of conviction.

In this lies its second function: it provided a weapon with which rival Athenian politicians could damage or eliminate each other, or from another perspective, a means by which the Athenian demos could favor or punish the leaders who served it. The suit was brought against the speaker who had proposed the motion in the assembly: he was regarded as having misled the people and corrupted the laws of the state, since the assembly itself was not accountable to anyone and by a kind of structural fiction (see legal fiction) could do no wrong. The liability of the proposer expired after one year; after that the law itself could still be attacked and rescinded, but the proposer would not suffer any penalty. After five years the law itself was no longer subject to a suit.The penalty for conviction was usually a fine, sometimes small but sometimes so large it could not be paid. In this case disenfranchisement (atimia) would result, effectively ending a political career. Because of this, active politicians began recruiting surrogates to propose bills that they themselves had authored. Penalties would then fall on the surrogate rather than on the politician himself.

Very many of the known prosecutions concern not substantive legislation but honorary decrees, seemingly of little importance from a modern viewpoint. These did however allow discussion of a wide range of questions and issues. A signal example is the pair of speeches surviving from a graphē paranómōn from 333 BC, Demosthenes' On the Crown in response to Aeschines' Against Ctesiphon.


Heliaia or Heliaea (Ancient Greek: Ἡλιαία; Doric: Ἁλία Halia) was the supreme court of ancient Athens. Τhe view generally held among scholars is that the court drew its name from the ancient Greek verb ἡλιάζεσθαι, which means συναθροίζεσθαι, namely congregate. Another version is that the court took its name from the fact that the hearings were taking place outdoors, under the sun. Initially, this was the name of the place where the hearings were convoked, but later this appellation included the court as well.

The judges were called heliasts (ἡλιασταί) or dikasts (δικασταί, ὀμωμοκότες = those who have sworn, namely the jurors). The operation of judging was called ἡλιάζεσθαι (δικάζειν).

Homosexuality in ancient Greece

In classical antiquity, writers such as Herodotus, Plato, Xenophon, Athenaeus and many others explored aspects of homosexuality in Greece. The most widespread and socially significant form of same-sex sexual relations in ancient Greece was between adult men and pubescent or adolescent boys, known as pederasty (marriages in Ancient Greece between men and women were also age structured, with men in their thirties commonly taking wives in their early teens). Though sexual relationships between adult men did exist, at least one member of each of these relationships flouted social conventions by assuming a passive sexual role. It is unclear how such relations between women were regarded in the general society, but examples do exist as far back as the time of Sappho.The ancient Greeks did not conceive of sexual orientation as a social identifier as modern Western societies have done. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behavior by the gender of the participants, but rather by the role that each participant played in the sex act, that of active penetrator or passive penetrated.

This active/passive polarization corresponded with dominant and submissive social roles: the active (penetrative) role was associated with masculinity, higher social status, and adulthood, while the passive role was associated with femininity, lower social status, and youth.

Marriage in ancient Greece

The institution of marriage in ancient Greece encouraged responsibility in personal relationships. Marriages were usually arranged by the parents; professional matchmakers were reluctantly used. Each city was politically independent, with its own laws affecting marriage. Orphaned daughters were left to uncles or cousins. For the marriage to be legal, the woman's father or guardian gave permission to a suitable male who could afford to marry. Wintertime marriages were popular. The couple participated in a ceremony which included rituals such as veil removal but the couple living together made the marriage legal.

On the False Embassy

On the False Embassy (Ancient Greek: Περὶ τῆς παραπρεσβείας) is the name of two famous judicial orations, both delivered in 343 BC by the prominent Athenian statesmen and fierce opponents, Demosthenes and Aeschines.


Ostracism (Greek: ὀστρακισμός, ostrakismos) was a procedure under the Athenian democracy in which any citizen could be expelled from the city-state of Athens for ten years. While some instances clearly expressed popular anger at the citizen, ostracism was often used preemptively. It was used as a way of neutralizing someone thought to be a threat to the state or potential tyrant. It has been called an "honourable exile" by scholar P. J. Rhodes. The word "ostracism" continues to be used for various cases of social shunning.

Prostitution in ancient Greece

Prostitution was a common aspect of ancient Greece. In the more important cities, and particularly the many ports, it employed a significant number of people and represented a notable part of economic activity. It was far from being clandestine; cities did not condemn brothels, but rather only instituted regulations on them.

In Athens, the legendary lawmaker Solon is credited with having created state brothels with regulated prices. Prostitution involved both sexes differently; women of all ages and young men were prostitutes, for a predominantly male clientele.

Simultaneously, extramarital relations with a free woman were severely dealt with. In the case of adultery, the cuckold had the legal right to kill the offender if caught in the act; the same went for rape. Female adulterers, and by extension prostitutes, were forbidden to marry or take part in public ceremonies. The average age of marriage being 30 for men, the young Athenian had no choice if he wanted to have sexual relations other than to turn to slaves or prostitutes.

Ralph Hopping

Ralph H. Hopping (April 8, 1868, New York City – October 29, 1941) was an American-born Canadian entomologist who specialized in Coleoptera (beetles and weevils).


In governance, sortition (also known as selection by lot, allotment, or demarchy) is the selection of political officials as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates, a system intended to ensure that all competent and interested parties have an equal chance of holding public office. It also minimizes factionalism, since there would be no point making promises to win over key constituencies if one was to be chosen by lot, while elections, by contrast, foster it. In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the traditional and primary method for appointing political officials, and its use was regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy.Today, sortition is commonly used to select prospective jurors in common law-based legal systems and is sometimes used in forming citizen groups with political advisory power (citizens' juries or citizens' assemblies).


Xenokleides was an Athenian poet of the 4th century BC. None of his works have survived. He was one of the hetaera Neaira's lovers. According to Apollodorus of Acharnae, 369 BC, he spoke out against Callistratus's request to support Sparta over Thebes. He was prosecuted for avoiding military service, though as a tax-collector for the year he was exempt from military duties, convicted, and disenfranchised (Ancient Greek: ἀτιμία, atimia). This prosecution, brought by one Stephanos on behalf of Callistratus, was probably intended to remove Xenokleides as a political opponent. In 343, Xenokleides was living in Macedonia, and was banished by Philip II; he appears to have been once again living in Athens by the time the speech Against Neaira was delivered.


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