), the celebrated lawgiver of the Epizephyrian Locrians, is said to have been originally a slave employed as a shepherd, and to have been set free and appointed lawgiver by the direction of an oracle on his enunciating some excellent laws which he represented Athene as having communicated to him in a dream. (Suid. s.v. Schol. ad Pind. O. 10.17
. p. 241, ed. Böckh). On the other hand, Diodorus (12.20
) describes him as a main of good family and admired for his culture.
But in calling him a disciple of Pythagoras (comp. Suid. l.c. ;
xc. ; D. L. 8.16
; Iamblichus, 100.7, 24, 27, 30), he has made a great anachronism (see Bentley, Dissertation on the Epistles of Phalaris,
p. 334, &c.).
The story of this connection probably arose in much the same way as in the case of Numa Pompilius. Suidas also states that the birthplace of Zaleucus was Thurii. Timaeus, with more rashness than judgment, denied the personal existence of Zaleucus (Cic. de Leg.
2.6, ad Att.
vi. l; comp. Arist. Pol.
2.10; Clem. Al. Strom. i. p. 352
The date of the legislation of Zaleucus is assigned by Eusebius (Chron.
Anno 1356, Ol. 30. 1) to B. C. 660. (Comp. Bentley, l.c. ;
Wesseling, ad Diod.
12.20; Clinton, Fasti Hellenici,
vol. i. anno 660.)
The code of Zaleucus is stated to have been the first collection of written laws that the Greeks possessed (Strab. vi. p.259
; Clem. Al. Strom. i. p. 309
); nor does there seem sufficient reason for restricting this statement to the Greeks of Italy (Fabric. Bibl. Gr.
vol. ii. p. 2, note 2).
According to Ephorus (ap. Strab. vi. p.260
) the laws of Zaleucus were founded on those of Crete, Sparta, and the Areiopagus.
The character of his laws generally speaking was severe (Zenobius, 4.10 ; Diogenianus, 4.94). They were, however, observed for a long period by the Locrians, who obtained, in consequence, a high reputation for legal order. (Pind. O. 10.17
, νέμει γὰρ Ἀτρέκεια πόλιν Λοκρῶν Ζεφυρίων
; comp. Plat. Tim.
The account preserved by the scholiast on Pindar (l.c.
) from Aristotle indicates that a period of civil strife and confusion was the occasion which led to the legislation of Zaleucus. One feature of that legislation was that definite penalties were attached to the violation of the laws, which appears to have been a novelty in law-making, penalties having else-where and till then been determined either by ancient custom or by the tribunals before which the offender was tried (Strab. vi. p.260
). Stobaeus (Serm.
44.20. 21; comp. Diod. 12.20
. &c.) professes to give the preface with which Zaleucus introduced his code (Cicero also, de Leg.
2.6, speaks of having seen such a preface 1
) and various regulations.
The authenticity of these is in the highest degree suspicious.
In their present shape at any rate they are modern productions (Bentley, l.c.
It is possible that one or two of the regulations may have been derived from authentic sources, but the preface itself, and the collection of laws, as a whole, are unquestionably spurious. From other authorities however we get at one or two points in the laws of Zaleucus.
He first made particular enactments concerning the rights of property (Strab. vi. p.398
), and interdicted certificates of debt (Zenob. Prov.
5.4). Land could not be alienated among the Locrians without proof of absolute necessity (Arist. Pol.
The penalty of adultery is said to have been the loss of the eves (Aelian, Ael. VH 13.24
; V. Max. 5.5.3
There is a famous story told by the above-named authors of the son of Zaleucus having become liable to this penalty, and the father himself suffering the loss of one eye that his son might not be utterly blinded.
The prohibition against dwelling in foreign lands (Stob. l.c.
) may perhaps be genuine, as it is analogous to what we find at Sparta (Müller, Dorians,
It is also probable that the code made provision against hasty attempts at in-novation. Whether the law on this subject was what Stobaeus (l.c.
) describes may be doubted. Diodorus ( 12.17
) attributes the same law to Charondas. Zaleucus also enacted various sumptuary laws. Among these is said to have been a prohibition of the use of pure wine (Aelian, Ael. VH 2.37
; Athen. 10.429
). Suidas says that Zaleucus fell, fighting for his country. Eustathius (ad Il.
i. p. 62) connects with Zaleucus the story, that among his laws was one forbidding any citizen under penalty of death to enter the senate house in arms. On one occasion however, on a sudden emergency in time of war, Zaleucus transgressed his own law, which was remarked to him by one present; whereupon he fell upon his own sword, declaring that he would himself vindicate the law. Other authors (Diod. 12.19
; V. Max. 6.5.4
) tell the same story of Charondas, or of Diocles. (Fabric. Bibl. Gr.
ii. p. l, &c.; Müller, Dorians, l.c.
&c.; Heyne, Opusc. Acad.