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date: 05 February 2023



  • Stephen Hodkinson


Putative Spartan *ephor. According to Plutarch, Agis 5, he introduced, some time after the *Peloponnesian War, a law authorizing the gift or bequest of property, thereby undermining Sparta's ‘single-heir’ inheritance system and her equality of landholding. Its context and historicity are controversial. Some scholars identify Epitadeus with the lawgiver to whom *Aristotle (Pol. 2. 1270a) ascribes the rules concerning all forms of alienation, or (rather implausibly) with an officer (Epitadas) killed in 425 bce. Others argue that Epitadeus and his law were invented, perhaps following a Platonic model (see plato (1)), by supporters of the late 3rd-cent. reforming kings to ‘explain’ the corruption of the fictional ‘Lycurgan equality’ (see lycurgus (2)) they claimed to be restoring. The ‘single-heir’ system is implausible; and gift and bequest were probably longstanding rights. Bequest is attested historically c.400 bce, before Plutarch's dating for Epitadeus.


  • Roman Myth and Religion

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