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γυναικονόμοι). Magistrates in many Greek States, who exercised a censorship over the conduct of women and to some extent of men also, especially the young. At Sparta there were παιδονόμοι, but not γυναικονόμοι. The farreaching Spartan discipline brought both sexes alike under the control of the authorities, and such special officers may not have been required. Aristotle mentions them as a well-known institution in two passages of the Politica (iv. 12 [15]. 9; vi. 5 [8]. 13), and each time observes that they were characteristic of aristocracies rather than of oligarchies or democracies—a remark which alone is almost sufficient to prove that they did not exist at Athens in his time. We find them at Chaeronea, Syracuse, Andania, and at Gambreion near Pergamum.

They were associated with the Areopagus in the maintenance of public decency and the enforcement of sumptuary laws. They superintended even the meetings of friends in their private houses—e. g. at weddings, and on other festive occasions. Meetings of this kind were not allowed to consist of more than thirty persons, and the γυναικονόμοι had the right of entering any house and sending away all the guests above that number. They also controlled the eccentricities of female attire; women who went unsuitably dressed in public were liable to a fine of 1000 drachmas, and these fines were recorded on a tablet suspended to a plane-tree in the Ceramicus (Harpocrat. s. v. ὅτι χιλιάς; Hesychius, s. v. πλάτανος). The number of these officers and the mode of their appointment are alike unknown.

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