Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 November 2022



  • D. M. MacDowell


Nomophylakes (νομοφύλακες) were ‘guardians of the laws’. In Athens, according to one authority (*Philochorus), officials with this title were instituted when *Ephialtes(4) deprived the *Areopagus of most of its powers in 462/1 bce; but this statement is disbelieved by some modern scholars, and even if it is true the office cannot have become permanent, since it is not heard of again until the late 4th cent. It was probably instituted or reinstituted in the 320s. At this period there were seven nomophylakes. Their chief duty was to attend meetings of the *boulē and the *ekklēsia and veto actions or proposals which were illegal or contrary to the interests of Athens. They had some kind of power to check magistrates (see magistracy, greek) who acted illegally, and they also had some religious functions.


  • Greek Law

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription