previous next


AGORAN´OMI (ἀγορανόμοι) were public functionaries in most of the Grecian states, whose duties corresponded in many respects to those of the Roman aediles ; whence Greek writers on Roman affairs call the aediles by this name. Under the Roman empire, the agoranomi were called λογισταί (Schol. ad Aristoph. Ach. 688); they enjoyed in later times great honour and respect, and their office seems to have been regarded as one of the most honourable in the Greek states. We frequently read in inscriptions of their being rewarded with crowns, of which many instances are given by Müller (Aeginetica, p. 138). They were called by the Romans curatores reipublicae. (Cod. 1, tit. 54, s.3.)

Agoranomi existed both at Sparta and Athens, and, as inscriptions prove, in almost every Greek state. Our knowledge of the Spartan agoranomi is very limited, and derived almost entirely from inscriptions. They stepped into the place of the ancient empelori (ἐμπέλωροι) in the time of the Romans. They formed a collegium (συναρχία), with one at their head called πρέσβυς (Böckh, Corp. Inscr. vol. i. p. 610; and Sauppe in Rheinisches Museum, vol. iv. p. 159, new series). The Athenian agoranomi were regular magistrates during the flourishing times of the republic. They were ten in number, five for the city and five for the Peiraeus, and were chosen by lot, one from each tribe. (Dem. c. Timocr. p. 735.112; Aristoph. Ach. 689.) The reading in Harpocration (s. v. ἀγορανόμοι), which mentions twenty agoranomi--fifteen for the city, and five for the Peiraeus--is false. (Böckh, Corp. Inscr. vol. i. p. 337.)

The principal duty of the agoranomi was, as their name imports, to inspect the market, and to see that all the laws respecting its regulation were properly observed. They had the inspection of all things which were sold in the market, with the exception of corn, which was subject to the jurisdiction of the σιτοφύλακες. [SITOPHYLAKES.] The agoranomi had in fact chiefly to attend to retail trade (καπηλεία); wholesale trade was not much carried on in the market-place, and was under the jurisdiction of the ἐπιμεληταὶ τοῦ ἐμπορίου. They regulated the price and quantity of all things which were brought into the market, and punished all persons convicted of cheating, especially by false weights and measures. They had in general the power of punishing all infraction of the laws and regulations relating to the market, by imposing a slight fine (ἐπιβολὴ) upon the citizens. That they had the further power of inflicting personal chastisement upon foreigners and slaves, and even bore whips as a badge of office, must be pronounced very doubtful, as contrary to what we know of Athenian police regulations. The statement rests only on the authority of scholiasts and grammarians (Schol. Aristoph. Ach. 724; Pollux, 10.177).1 They had the care of all the temples and fountains in the market-place, and received the tax (ξενικὸν τέλος) which foreigners and aliens were obliged to pay for the privilege of exposing their goods for sale in the market. (Schol. ad Aristoph. Ach. 689 ; Plat. Leg. vi. p. 763, viii. p. 849, xi. pp. 917, 918; Liban. Declam. 46; ἀγορᾶς τέλος, Aristoph. Ach. 861, and Schol.; Phot. s. v. κατὰ τὴν ἀγοράν.) The public prostitutes were also subject to their regulations, as was the case at Corinth (Just. 21.5), and they fixed the πορνικὸν τέλος or license duty which they paid; not, as late grammarians like Suidas and Zonaras (s. v. διάγραμμα) absurdly represent, the remuneration which they were to receive. The duties of the agoranomi resembled those of the astynomi. [ASTYNOMI] (Meier and Schömann, Att. Process, pp. 89-92; Böckh, Publ. Econ. of Athens, pp. 48, 333.) [W.S] [W.W]

(Appendix). The statement as to their number, five for the city and five for the Peiraeus, is in accordance with the text (Ath. Pol. 51).

1 Schömann, in his later writings (Antiq. p. 416, E. T.) appears to have changed his views on this point, which however has escaped the attention of the recent editor of the Att. Process, 101-104.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: