Reporting for jury duty in ancient Greece

By Lily Withycombe
February 4 2022 - 1:00pm
Pinakion (personal identification tag), bronze, Greece, about 360-350 BCE. Picture: Supplied

For anyone who has ever been inconvenienced by attending jury duty in Australia, rest assured that your experience was probably not as onerous as being empanelled for jury duty in ancient Athens. One of the smaller bronze objects in our latest exhibition, Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes, gives an insight into one year of jury duty in the ancient Greek world. It is a pinakion, or personal identification tag for a juror, which has been broken into two pieces and in total measures only 10 centimetres in length. The surface is stamped with an owl resting on an olive branch and a gorgon head, representing Athens and the court to which the juror was attached. You can see the name of the pinakion's owner roughly punched in the Greek alphabet: Thucydides of the deme of Upper Lamptrae, one of the 10 regional tribes of Athens.



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