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ASTY´NOMI (ἀστυνόμοι), public officers in most of the Greek states, who had to preserve order in the streets, to keep them clean, and to see that all buildings, both public and private, were in a safe state, and not likely to cause injury by falling down (Arist. Pol. 6.5.3 = p. 1321 b, 19; Plato, Legg. 6.759 A, 763 C; Dig. 43. tit. 10, s. 1). Among the cities where inscriptions bearing the name ἀστυνόμοι have been found are Athens, Ancyra, Cnidus, Eumeneia in Phrygia, Heraclea in Bithynia, Olbia, Rhodes, Sinope, and Teuthrania. In Plato's ideal Laws the functions of the astynomi are enlarged beyond what was actually the case at Athens; he assigns them the control of paving and of the public water supply, which we know to have been under the care of the ὁδοποιοὶ and the ἐπιστάται τῶν ὑδάτων (Boeckh, P. E. p. 203 ff.). The astynomi at Athens formed a street police, and were ten in number, corresponding with the number of the tribes, and appointed by lot, five for the city and five for the Peiraeus (Harpocrat., Suid. s.v. Bekk. Anecd. p. 455, 24; C. I. G. 1.337). Aristotle states (ap. Harpocrat. l.c.) that they had the superintendence of the scavengers (κοπρολόγοι), which would naturally belong to them as charged with the cleansing of the streets; as also of musicians of both sexes, mountebanks, and the like. It is probable, however, that they had only to do with the latter in virtue of their duty of preserving order in the streets, since the regulation of public prostitutes belonged to the agoranomi [AGORANOMI]. We must regard the supervision of buildings as a part of their functions; the opinion that the Areiopagus was empowered to deal with such matters, and prevent the streets being made too narrow, or encroached upon by balconies (δρύφακτοι), has been proved to be erroneous (Schömann, Antiq. p. 415, E. T. ; J. H. Lipsius in Att. Process, note 198*). It would likewise appear from a story told of the philosopher Crates by Diogenes Laërtius (6.90), that they could prevent a person from appearing in public in luxurious or indecent apparel. The office was regarded as burdensome, and no one could be compelled to serve in it a second time (Dem. Prooem. 55, p. 1461). It is mentioned on one occasion that a will was deposited with one of the astynomi (Isaeus, Or. 1 [Cleon.], § 15); but this was clearly no part of their official duties, and must be regarded simply as an instance of private confidence. There was, in fact, no regular place for the custody of wills at Athens. The notion of an ἀστυνόμιον or public building for the astynomi rests only on the fancy sketch of Plato, Legg. 11.918 A, and is not supported by definite statements (Meier and Schömann, Att. Process, pp. 93-96, with Lipsius' notes; K. F. Hermann, Staatsalterth., § 150, n. 8, 9; Boeckh, Public Economy, and Schömann, Antiq. as above). [W.S] [W.W]

(Appendix). We have further proof (Ath. Pol. 50) that the Astynomi, and not the Areiopagus, were charged with preventing encroachments of private buildings upon the streets. From the same passage it is clear that windows were not allowed to open back into the street: cf. DOMUS p. 663 b; JANUA p. 987 b.

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