E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The Jewish Sanhedrim probably took its form from the seventy elders appointed to assist Moses in the government. After the captivity it seems to have been a permanent consistory court. The president was called Ha-Nasi (the prince), and the vice-president Abba (father). The seventy sat in a semicircle, thirty-five on each side of the president; the father being on his right hand, and the hacan, or sub-deputy, on his left. All questions of the Law were dogmatically settled by the Sanhedrim, and those who refused obedience were excommunicated. (Greek, sunedrion, a sitting together.)
Sanhedrim, in Drydens satire of Absalom and Achitophel, stands for the British Parliament.