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date: 29 November 2022



  • Bruno Helly


  • Greek Law

Tagos (ταγός‎‎), considered the official title of the supreme civil and military magistrate of the Thessalians (see thessaly) since E. Meyer, who tried to establish a list of these alleged leaders in the 6th and 5th cents. bce. But this sense is attested once only, in Xenophon(1), for Jason(2) of Pherae when he mobilized the Thessalians in order to extend his domination of the region and prop up his foreign policy. All other texts present these chiefs as ἀρχός‎‎, ἄρχων‎‎, or τέτραρχος‎‎ (archos, archōn, or tetrarchos); as distinct from the title basileus, used by the aristocratic families, e.g. the Aleuadae. Contrary to the traditional view, two inscriptions from the late 6th and the 5th cents. bce set the tagoi among other civic magistrates: here they are not eponymous, and their duties concern mobilization and the military function of the citizens; their activities belong to wartime. Etymology suggests that the tagoi were responsible for the taxeis, ‘companies’, the smaller units within the phalanx. As such they were always in charge of mobilized citizens.

The evolution of the art of war and the opening up of office to the mass of citizens enhanced the role of the tagoi in the Thessalian federal army (Jason (2) assumed this title on reforming the army and increasing its efficacy) and in the cities. The tagoi, becoming (probably from c. 300 bce) the chief civic magistrates, lasted as long as the cities—to the close of the imperial period.


  • E. Meyer, Theopomps Hellenika (1909).
  • M. Sordi, La lega tessala (1958).
  • B. Helly, L'état thessalien, Aleuas le Roux, les tétrades et les tagoi (1995).