The story of the advice which Anaxarchus of Abdera
gave to Alexander (Plut. Al. 52
) has some similarities to and some differences from Herodotus' story of how Cambyses decided whether it was lawful to marry his sister (Hdt. 3.31).
I am in the middle of translating something which looks at the picture of Persian justice in Herodotus. Herodotus gives a two-sided picture: on one hand he talks about royal judges of unimpeachable reputation whom a king could ask for advice, but on the other hand he shows the kings assigning arbitrary punishments and the judges being punished for accepting bribes. One way to read this would be that Persian law in practice was different from Persian law as the Persians thought it ought to be; another way would be to see this as a criticism of the Persians by outsiders (sort of like accusing Donald Trump of being a bad businessman today).
Of course, as Agesilaos says, a case which the king of the Macedonians decided may be like a case which the US Supreme Court decides today- so anecdotes about Alexander and the Diadochoi may not be the best way to understand how most cases were decided. In Achaemenid Egypt and Babylonia we can read the records of legal decisions at a low level, but such sources are not as common in early Macedonia.
A few points to ponder:
1. Common law, as English common law, is a unique process in the world of law. It is generally, and loosely, dated to 1215 at the signing of the Magna Carta. But it draws on ancient sources for its structure, which make it undatable. It is most amenable to the common man and has the potential to keep a tyrannical government in check. Because of this 'potential', it has been largely eradicated from the courts and from the mind of man.
2. Civil law, as Roman civil law, is the legal system that we've all been accustomed to watching on our propaganda outlets ad infinitum. In this system, the state holds the power. This system was placed into the American courts in 1938, in place of common law. However, the common law court is still technically available for those who wish to learn its precepts and enforce its procedures in the courts.
There is a quiet revolution underway between these two systems that has the potential to shake the very foundations of the elite power structures on this planet.
The important thing to note is the 'show' trial aspect of Alexander's infamous cases. This 'type' of show of justice was noted on www.1215.org
to be useful for ameliorating the masses during a trial against one of the king's subjects.
For example: Jack stole a fruit from the king's prized fig trees. Instead of appearing the tyrant, which has serious implications and may backfire, the king presses charges and forces Jack to go to court. The king, as the tribunal, has nearly 100% of the power in this common law tribunal, limited only by the defendant's nearly unlimited ability to demand a trial by jury. The judge, known in common law as the magistrate, is quite powerless (note the extreme difference between the judges power under common law and civil law) and exists only to administer the court and execute the tribunal's orders. If the tribunal's orders are frivolous, the defendant may call for a trial by jury to counteract such frivolity. Or, he may counterclaim the tribunal, thus making himself a tribunal in reverse.
So, in this regard, we do see a bit of the primitive traditions of what would become the common law, taking place. However, the king plays the part of both the tribunal AND the administer. The 6,000 in attendance are more than the 25 jurors (and I do realize that being in attendance is not the same as being in the jury box) required under English common law, but they're not provided with the information required to make an informed decision. And are thus, easily swayed by Alexander's rhetoric.
Nevertheless, their appearance provides the necessary minimum to guarantee that the conspirators were given a 'fair trial'. i.e...We were all there, we saw it, they conspired. So, the 6,000 served an extremely valuable purpose for this 'mockery' of justice. And this is why the educational fortification of the people involved in the common law system is so incredibly important.
Beyond that, your translation of Persian justice is of great interest. I'd like to (and I can name several others outside of pothos that might also express an interest) read about your findings.