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nomothetai


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‘law‐makers’, were usually men like Draco and Solon, but in Athens in the late 5th and the 4th cent. bc large groups with this title were appointed. The earliest known was appointed in 411 in connection with the Five Thousand and must have lapsed when that regime fell. In 403, when democracy was restored, one group of nomothetai was appointed by the boule to draft and display proposed additions to the laws, and another body of 500 nomothetai was elected by the demes to consider these proposals in conjunction with the boule.

Thereafter nomothetai were appointed regularly to consider proposed changes in the laws, on which they, not the ekklesia, now took the final decisions. In some cases (or in all, acc. to one view) they were drawn by lot from the list of 6,000 jurors; thus they were ordinary citizens, without special expertise, but their function was to examine proposals more closely than the ekklesia would do. The intention seems to have been to make legislating more difficult and less casual, and to prevent inconsistencies and contradictions arising within the legal code.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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