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date: 27 January 2023



  • Percy Neville Ure
  •  and Simon Hornblower


Aisymnētēs, according to *Aristotle (Pol. 1285a), a supreme ruler appointed by some early city-states in times of internal crisis, for life, for a prescribed period, or till the completion of the task, e.g. *Pittacus at *Mytilene (IACP no. 798 at 1027). Aristotle defines the office as an elective *tyranny; *Dionysius (7) of Halicarnassus (5. 73) compares the Roman *dictator. If Aristotle's account is accurate (and his definition has been questioned), these aisymnētai have affinities with the early lawgivers (*Solon, *Zaleucus, *Demonax, etc. ), the difference presumably being one of local nomenclature. Inscriptions (Syll.3 38, 57, 272, 642, 955) show regular magistrates so called in Teos, Miletus, Naxos, Megara, Selinus, and Chalcedon. The word first occurs in Od. 8. 258, meaning a referee (see Hainsworth's note; cf. also Il. 24. 347 with Richardson's note for the related word αἰσυμνητήρ).


  • Greek Law

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