from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A form of sentence among the ancient Syracusans by which they banished for five years a citizen suspected of having dangerous influence or ambition. It was similar to the ostracism in Athens; but olive leaves were used instead of shells for ballots.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In ancient Syracuse, a mode of banishing citizens whose influence seemed dangerous, modeled on the ostracism at Athens, from which it differed in little except that the voter wrote the name of the person he recommended for banishment on an olive-leaf and not on a tablet of earthenware, and that the stated period of banishment was five years, and not ten as at Athens.
"petalism", according to which each man wrote on an olive leaf the name of the most powerful citizen; whoever obtained the greatest number of leaves was banished for five years.
The attempt of Tyndaridas to establish a tyranny led to the introduction of petalism, similar to Athenian ostracism.
The petalism, or voting by words on olive-leaves, practised at Syracuse, may also be mentioned.
-- [Ostracism at Athens was banishment for ten years; petalism at Syracuse was banishment for five years.]