The twilight of nomothesia: legislation in early-Hellenistic Athens (322-301)

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Abstract / Description of output

The article surveys the evidence for nomothesia procedures in the twenty years after the end of the Lamian war. It argues that fourth-century nomothesia could not survive the constitutional reforms imposed by Antigonus. Its procedures were later replaced by the individual action of the nomothetes Demetrius of Phalerum, who at the same time imposed on the Assembly the check of nomophylakes who took over the powers of the graphe paranomon and the graphe nomon me epitedeion theinai. Finally, after the restoration of democracy in 307, nomothetai reappeared for the last time, but were not, like before 322, in charge of voting on new proposals and enacting new legislation. They were special magistrates, possibly introduced by Demetrius Poliorcetes, in charge of proposing new laws to the Assembly for the purpose of reforming the constitution after the regime of Demetrius of Phalerum. After this last appearance of nomothetai in the late fourth century, in the third century no recognizable specific nomothesia procedure survived, and laws were enacted by the Assembly like decrees. The reason for the disappearance of nomothesia, it is argued, must be understood both in the context of the evolution of the relevant institutions, and in that of the abuse of the relevant terminology by Macedonian-controlled regimes at the end of the fourth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-85
Number of pages21
Issue numbern/a
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


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