- 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