n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Athenian Law and the Will of the People in the Fourth Century BC

Volume 46, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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The status of the &lt;I&gt;nomoi&lt;/I&gt; was redefined in the aftermath of the oligarchic coup of 404/3, with the intention that the laws which survived the initial review would prevail, and could not easily be repealed or replaced. But Aristotle complained that there was a progressive shift from &lt;I&gt;nomoi&lt;/I&gt; to <I>psephismata</I>, as the lower classes gradually asserted their power in the fourth century (<I>Ath. Pol.&lt;/I&gt; 41.2). Evidence of abuse of the system can be found in the diminished role of <I>probouleusis</I>, misuse of the court of the Nomothetai, impeachments for unconstitutional proposals, and the blurring of the distinction between laws and decrees. Nevertheless, measures were progressively developed to offset weaknesses in the law relating to <I>nomothesia</I>.

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