previous next


AGRON´OMI (ἀγρονόμοι), magistrates (ἄρχοντες), described by Aristotle in two passages of the Politics (6.8, 6; 7.12, 8) as identical with the ὑλωροὶ or foresters [HYLORI]. Aristotle does not tell us in what Greek states these officers. existed; and to this question no certain answer can be given. It is commonly assumed, from the frequent mention of them by Plato in his Laws, that they belonged to Attica, and formed one of the police magistracies. (Böckh, P. E. p. 303; Schömann, Antiq., p. 138, E. T.; Caillemer, ap. D. and S.) But the correspondence of Plato's ideal laws with actual Athenian legislation has been much exaggerated; and on several grounds it is unlikely that in the large and varied powers he assigns to his ἀγρονόμοι he is describing an Athenian institution. In one passage (6.760 B.) he assigns to them the defence of the frontiers, which we know to have been the duty of the Strategi; in another (8.844 B.) they have to provide for the control of unruly torrents and the escape of flood waters. They are not mentioned in a single passage of the orators or of the grammarians who are our chief sources for Attic law ; yet the speech of Demosthenes against Callicles, in an action arising out of a water-course, is precisely a case where, if the office described by Plato. had existed at Athens, we must have found it. Lastly, the scarcity of wood in Attica makes it improbable that any “foresters” or “verderers,” whether under the name of ἀγρονόμοι or ὑλωροὶ, can have been required.

[W.S] [W.W]

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