- Alain Bresson
The agoranomoi were the magistrates who, in the Greek cities, were in charge of policing and organizing the market. Their role was to make sure that transactions were conducted according to the laws of market, which primarily meant preventing cheating on the quality of the goods offered for sale and on the weights and measures used by sellers. Their tasks could also include watching over the nature and quality of the coins used as means of exchange. They were in charge of monitoring prices and, in some cases, they set prices of goods—some basic foodstuffs like fish or meat. They also had to make sure that the market supply of essential goods remained adequate. The number of agoranomoi decreased in the late Hellenistic period (in Athens, from ten in the Classical period to only two). Late Hellenistic and Roman period magistrates belonged to the well-to-do stratum of the population in the cities, and the agoranomoi were no exception. This allowed them if necessary to buy grain to supply the market from their own pockets, then to sell it below the market price, thus partly alleviating the food-shortages.