: the form γυναικοκόσμοι
only in Pollux, 8.112) were
magistrates in many Greek states, who exercised a certain censorship over
the conduct of women and to some extent of men also, especially the young.
At Sparta there were παιδονόμοι,
[PAEDONOMI]; the far-reaching 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 Politics
(4.12 (15) § 9=p.
1300, 4 ff.; 6.5 (8) § 13=p. 1323, 3 ff.), 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 (see below). We find them at Chaeronea
(Plut. Sol. 21
; cf. Att. Process,
p. 30, n. 51); it is to his native town, and not to Athens, that the words
of Plutarch refer, that besides women they had also to restrain those men
who showed their effeminate character by frantic or immoderate wailing at
their own or other people's misfortunes. They occur also at Syracuse
(Phylarch. ap. Ath. xii. p. 521 b; Gilbert, Staatsalterth.
ii. p. 255); and are traced through inscriptions at Samos (Gilbert, 2.152,
7.79); Andania, where their control of women's
dress is mentioned (Gilbert, 2.337, cf. Dittenberger, Syll.
p. 388, 25 ff.); and Gambreion near Pergamum (ib.; cf.
C. I. G.
3562). The legislation of Solon included many
regulations for the government of the Athenian women. They were forbidden to
go abroad with more than three changes of apparel and a stated quantity of
provisions, to pass though the streets by night otherwise than in a carriage
and with a light carried before them, to disfigure their faces, to wail
extravagantly at funerals (Plut. Sol. 21
Thirlwall, H. G.
2.51). These rules were no doubt enforced by
the Areiopagus, then at the height of its power. It was formerly assumed
that the γυναικονόμοι
were here indicated
as dating from the time of Solon; but the language of Plutarch, rightly
understood, leads to the opposite conclusion. After enumerating the above
particulars, he adds: ὧ τὰ πλεῖστα καὶ τ ο ῖ ς
ἡμετέροις νόμοις ἀπηγόρευται: πρόσκειται δὲ τ ο ῖ ς ἡμετέροις
ζημιοῦσθαι τοὺς τὰ τοιαῦτα ποιοῦντας ὑ π ὸ τῶν
These words, it will be seen, really refer to
Chaeronea in Plutarch's time, not to Solonian Athens. The theory of Boeckh
(Ueber den Plan der Atthis des Philochoros,
p. 24 f.,
also in his Kleine Schriften,
5.422 ff.) that the Athenian
were first instituted by
Demetrius Phalereus (B.C. 317--307), is now universally accepted
1.535, E. T.; Gilbert,
1.154; Lipsius, n. 204 on Att.
p. 109). Besides the indirect evidence of Aristotle and
Plutarch just noticed, and the argument from the total silence of the
orators on the subject, we have the direct testimony of three writers all
contemporary with Demetrius; the comic poets Timocles (fr.
32 M.) and Menander (fr.
265 M.) [p. 1.932]
and the historian Philochorus, all cited by
Athenaeus (vi. p. 245 b, c). All three describe the γυναικονόμοι
as acting under a recent law (καινὸς νόμος
): they were now associated with
the Areiopagus 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 (Philoch.
). 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; that they also took down the names of
the cooks in order to estimate the number of guests, is perhaps only a joke
of Menander's. 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
: Hesychius, s. v. πλάτανος
: Pollux, l.c.
). The number of
these officers and the mode of their appointment are alike unknown. The
authors of the Attische Process,
arguing from analogy, regard
them as an ἀρχὴ κληρωτή
§ 150, n. 5) contends that they
were elected by χειροτονία,
referring to a
passage in the rhetorician Menander (περὶ
3.2, p. 204 Walz), who however, as Lipsius points out,
is not speaking of Athens. (Schömann, Antiq.
498, 535, E. T.; Gilbert, ubi supra
pp. 108-110, Lipsius.)