American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. One of the 6,000 citizens chosen each year in ancient Athens to sit in the law courts, with functions resembling those of a judge and juror.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In ancient Athens, one of 6,000 citizens who were chosen by lot annually to sit as judges, in greater or less number according to the importance of the case, and whose functions corresponded to those of the modern juryman and judge combined. The 6,000 dicasts were divided by lot into 10 sections of 500 each, with a supplementary section of 1,000, from which accidental deficiencies or absences were supplied. The sections were assigned from time to time to the different courts; and, according to the character of the case to be tried, a single section sat, or two or more sections together, or a fractional part of a section. In cases pertaining to religion or military matters, etc., trial was sometimes had before a selected panel of dicasts (a special or struck jury), who sat as experts. In cases of importance one of the thesmothetes served as president of the court. Also
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A functionary in ancient Athens resembling closely to the modern juryman.
- Ancient Greek (Wiktionary)
- Greek dikastēs, judge, from dikazein, to judge, from dikē, right, custom; see deik- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Philocleon is a bigoted devotee of the malady of litigiousness so typical of his countrymen and an enthusiastic attendant at the Courts in his capacity of 'dicast' or juryman.”
“Each "dicast" (to use the proper name) has a boxwood tablet to show at the entrance as his voucher to the Scythian police-archers on duty; he has also a special staff of the color of the paint on the door of the court room. [”
“And this is the reason why in our State, and in our State only, we shall find a shoemaker to be a shoemaker and not a pilot also, and a husbandman to be a husbandman and not a dicast also, and a soldier a soldier and not a trader also, and the same throughout?”
“For the power does not reside in the dicast, or senator, or ecclesiast, but in the court, and the senate, and the assembly, of which individual senators, or ecclesiasts, or dicasts, are only parts or members.”
“Now of offices some are discontinuous, and the same persons are not allowed to hold them twice, or can only hold them after a fixed interval; others have no limit of time — for example, the office of a dicast or ecclesiast.”
“Let us not dwell further upon this, which is a purely verbal question; what we want is a common term including both dicast and ecclesiast.”
“Here, Demos, feast on this dish; it is your salary as a dicast, which you gain through me for doing naught.”
“The final part might almost be a separate play, under the title perhaps of 'The dicast turned gentleman,' and relates various ridiculous mistakes and laughable blunders committed by”
“ It was the custom at Athens to draw lots to decide in which Court each dicast should serve; Praxagora proposes to apply the same system to decide the dining station for each citizen.”
“He extended enormously, if he did not originate, the practice of distributing gratuities among the citizens for military service, for acting as dicast and in the Ecclesia and the like, as well as for admission to the theatre -- then really a great school for manners and instruction.”
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