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Important Greek Athenian Jury Ticket - Pinakion

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: African: Artifacts: Pre AD 1000: Item # 976587



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Important Greek Athenian Jury Ticket - Pinakion
An extremely rare, important and well provenanced ancient Greek Athenian Pinakion, or jury service ticket, dating to 378-339 B.C.

The rectangular ticket is inscribed in three lines and reads:
(1) [sec.letter] εξηκεςτος o
(2) αμειν
(3) [triobol stamp] αλαιεύς [double bodied owl] [gorgoneion]

Exikestos [son of]
Amein[.]
[of] Halai

Four stamps can be seen on the Pinakion (clockwise from top left); the section-letter, 'O'; a gorgoneion; a double-bodied owl; a triobol mark depicting the facing Athenian owl.

Pinakia were bronze "tickets" carried by ancient Greek citizens to prove their eligibility for jury service. Along with others, a citizen's pinakion would be placed in a large marble kleretoria, corresponding to his section letter, in this case 'O'. From these large slotted kleretoria, citizens could be randomly chosen by the state officials to undertake jury service, for which they would be paid at the end of the day.

Aristotle describes pinakia in his Athenaion Politeia (63-66), by which time the bronze pinakia had been replaced by wooden tickets:

Each juror has a pinakion of boxwood, inscribed with his name, the name of his father, the name of his deme, and one of the letters of the alphabet up to "K." For the jurors from each tribe are divided into ten sections, about the same number under each section.

The present ticket belonged to a certain Exikestos, son of Amein[...]. He belonged to the deme of either Halai Aixonides (modern Vouliagmeni) or Halai Araphenides (modern Loutsa).

The piece is unusually well preserved and appears to have been reused at least once in antiquity, as is evidenced by the errant drill holes. The perforation mid-way along the ticket was likely used as a carrying hole.

Only approximately 200 pinakia are known in museums and private colections worldwide. Pinakia were state property and thus were mostly reused or returned upon death. A small number of pinakia seem to have been buried with the deceased, in contravention of state law, showing that they were treasured posessions of the Athenian elite.

Provenance: Ex. British private collection. Ex. collection of Sir Francis Secheveral Darwin (1786-1859), half uncle to the famous naturalist, Charles Darwin. F.S. Darwin had a keen interest in archaeology and toured the Mediterranean in the early 1800's.

References: See Kroll, Athenian Bronze Allotment Plates, 1972, Harvard. According to Kroll's classification the present example is a type IV pinakion.



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