The Nomos Debate in Athens – A Social Discourse from the 6th until the 4th Century B.C.
The nomoi (sg. nomos; law, custom, usage) were an essential element of archaic and classical Greece. Despite the eminent role they played in ancient Greek society, many ancient authors, spanning a period of almost 250 years, formulated diametrically opposing views regarding the origin, the concrete form, the scope of influence, the foundation of legitimacy, and the sanctioning of this concept. The dissertation seeks to provide a comprehensive investigation of the nomos-concept in ancient Greece, ranging from the end of the 7th century B.C. down to the middle of the 5th B.C. and especially of the changes this concept underwent during the development of the ancient poleis. While it is necessary for this purpose to analyze the large corpus of sources with regards to the use of the term, the social discourse in connection with the nomoi must also be subject to scrutiny and be evaluated. The various phases within this 'nomos-debate' are thus to be traced chronologically; reasons for change are to be laid open and explained. Thus, this dissertation aims at closing a gap in modern scholarship, which, so far, has usually limited itself to treating sub-areas or temporally restricted aspects of this topic and, as a consequence, has not yet come to terms with the broad scope of this subject.
Dissertation Project of Niklas Rempe, Department of History, University of Hamburg