I nomophylakes in due lemmi di Polluce (VIII, 94 nomophylakes e VIII, 102 hoi endeka)

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Pollux speaks of the Athenian nomophylakes in two lemmata, VIII, 94 nomophylakes and VIII, 102 hoi endeka. VIII, 94, a brief summary of one of Philochorus’ fragments (FGrHist 328 F 64), speaks of the board of magistrates called nomophylakes that controlled the activity of the Athenian assembly in the fourth century. On the contrary, VIII, 102 probably refers not to the nomophylakes but to the desmophylakes, the guardians of the gaol, who changed their ancient name (the “Eleven”) into desmophylakes at the time of Demetrius of Phaleron. This paper discusses the recent thesis of Lara O’Sullivan who argues, on the authority of Philochoros (FGrHist 328 F 64 b a), that the nomophylakes were introduced by Ephialtes and, on the authority of Poll. VIII, 102, that a new board of nomophylakes was created by Demetrius of Phaleron in order to replace the Eleven. On the contrary, my paper wishes to show: 1) that only Poll. VIII, 94 actually speaks of the nomophylakes, while Poll. VIII, 102 probably refers to the desmophylakes; 2) that the nomophylakes were not created by Ephialtes in the context of his reform of the Areopagus, but were a fourth-century institution; 3) that the relation between Ephialtes and the nomophylakes, as it is reflected in Philochoros, was invented in the second part of the fourth century B.C. in order to “democratize” an institution whose purpose was the control of the democratic assembly’s activity, and to insert it in the Athenian patrios politeia in order to persuade the Athenians to accept it. Such propaganda seems to match the activity of the Demosthenic current of the democratic party in the Forties.
Titolo tradotto del contributo[Autom. eng. transl.] I nomophylakes in due lemmi di Polluce (VIII, 94 nomophylakes e VIII, 102 endeka)
Lingua originaleItalian
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteL'Onomasticon di Giulio Polluce. Tra lesicografia e antiquaria
Numero di pagine25
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2007

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomeContributi di storia antica 5


  • Lessicografia
  • Lessicography
  • Polluce
  • Pollux


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