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Massimo Nafissi

Lycurgus was the legendary founder of Sparta’s political order and of many of its social institutions. His legend initially developed as part of the transformation that gave Sparta its distinctive features during the Archaic period. The role that Spartan tradition attributed to Lycurgus ended up subsuming and eventually cancelling any memory of this process, and his role in the establishment of the city’s laws and customs, along with Apollo’s blessing, rendered them more legitimate and binding. As it was Lycurgus’s laws that granted Sparta her distinctive greatness, the lawgiver continued to be an influential source of civic identity throughout antiquity, and in Sparta, his legend continued to be revived through a process known as invention of tradition. Throughout the Greek world, Lycurgus and his legislation were the object of deep historical, political and ethical-philosophical interest, usually admired or idealised, but occasionally viewed more critically.

Scholarly views concerning ancient evidence relating to Lycurgus vary.


Lycurgus was one of the ten canonical Attic orators and an influential politician who worked energetically for the regeneration of Athens after the battle of Chaeronea (338) until his death, a period commonly referred to as “Lycurgan Athens.” The principal evidence about him is the “Life” in the Lives of the Ten Orators attributed to Plutarch (841a–844a) and the appended decree of 307/306 bce honouring him posthumously (851f–852e), the inscribed version of which is partially preserved (IG II2 457 + 3207). His one extant speech, “Against Leocrates,” of 331, was directed against a man accused of abandoning Attica in the aftermath of the battle of Chaeronea, and is notable for its moralising tone and extensive use of examples from myth and history, including quotations from poetry. Lycurgus is also prominent in the epigraphical record. He proposed more extant inscribed laws and decrees than any other politician of the classical Athenian democracy, except for his chief rival, Demades.



Antonis Kotsonas

Lyktos (or Lyttos, from the Classical period on) is an ancient city on the island of Crete. It is located on the central part of the island, a short distance to the east of the modern town of Kastelli Pediadas and close to the village of Xydas (also spelled Xidas). The ancient site occupies a double acropolis which is part of the northwest foothills of the Lasithi mountains, and is crowned by two modern chapels. The acropolis of Lyktos rises to an elevation of over 600 m (2,000 ft) and overlooks the fertile plain of Pediada. The name Lyktos may refer to the highland location of the site (Steph. Byz., s.v. Λύκτος).The history and culture of Lyktos is amply documented in ancient literature and epigraphy (I.Cret. I xviii), to a degree which is unusual for any Cretan city. Indeed, Lyktos has produced the second largest epigraphic record from anywhere on Crete (after .


Edward Harris

Homicide was considered the most important crime in Athenian law because the killer attempted to usurp the state’s monopoly of legitimate violence. To express the special nature of homicide, the laws of Athens created special courts and procedures. The person accused of murder was considered polluted and was banned from agora and shrines. There were four basic categories of homicide: intentional homicide tried at the Areopagus, involuntary homicide and planning a homicide tried at the Palladion, and just homicide according to the laws tried at the Delphinium. Similar rules and procedures were found in other Greek communities. In the Laws, Plato proposed certain reforms for Athenian homicide law.According to Demosthenes (20.157–158), the most important goal of the Athenian legal system was to prevent men from killing one another. Draco, the author of most of the laws on homicide, therefore made the act of killing an object of fear and terror. Because homicide was the most serious offense, the laws, oaths, sacrifices, proclamations and procedures were very different from those for other offenses; it was so heinous that it was considered a crime against both gods and men (.