The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Aetas – Aetolicum Foedus


know whether it continued to Ibe levied afterwards. (Festus, s. v.; Val. Max. ii. P. § 1 • Pint. Camffl.2.) [lex julia et papia poppaea.] AESTIMA'TIO LITIS. [JuDEx.] AESYMNE'TES (alffv^r^ from aTtra, « a just portion," hence " a person who gives every­one his just portion "), originally signified merely a judge in the heroic games, but afterwards indicated an individual who was occasionally invested volun­tarily by his fellow-citizens with unlimited power in a Greek state. His power, according to Aristotle, partook in some degree of the nature "both of kingly and tyrannical authority ; since he was appointed legally and ruled over willing subjects, but at the same time was not bound by any laws in his pub­lic administration. (Aristot. Polit. iii. 9. § 5, iv. 8. § 2 ; Hesych. s. v.} Hence Theophrastus calls the office tv pawls cuper^, and Dionysius (v. 73) compares it with the dictatorship at Rome. It was not hereditary ; but it was sometimes held

v *

for life, and at other times only till some object was accomplished, such as the reconciling of the various factions in the state, and the like. We have only one express instance in which a person received the title of Aesymnetes, namely, that of Pittacus, in Mytilene, who was appointed to this dignity, because the state had been long torn asunder by the various factions, and who succeeded in restoring peace and order by his wise regulations and laws. (Dionys. v. 73 ; Strab. xiii. p. 617 ; Plut. Solon, 4 ; Diog. Laert. i. 75 ; Plehn, Lesbiaca, pp. 4 6,48.) There were, however, no doubt many other persons who ruled under this title for a while in the various states of Greece, and those legislators bore a strong resemblance to the aesymnetes, whom their fellow-citizens appointed with supreme power to enact laws, as Dracon, Solon, Zaleucus and Charondas. In some states, such as Cyme and Chalcedon, it was the title borne by the regular magistrates. (Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alterthum. vol. i. pp. 423, 441, 2d ed. ; Tittmann, Griecli. Staatsv. p. 76, &c. ; Schomann, Antiq. Jur. Publ. Graec. p. 88 ; Hermann, Staatsaltertli. § 63.)

AETAS. [!n fans ; impubes.]

AETOLICUM FOEDUS. (Koirir TwAlrdb-Awz/.) The inhabitants of the southern coast of the country, afterwards called Aetolia, appear to have formed a sort of confederacy as early as the time of Homer. (II. ii. 638, &c., xiii. 217 &c.) In the time of Thucydides (iii. Ill), the several Aetolian tribes between the rivers Achelous and Evenus, appear to have been quite independent of one another, although they were designated by the common name of Aetolians; but we nevertheless find that, on certain occasions, they acted in concert, as for example, when they sent embassies to foreign powers, or when they had to ward off the attacks of a common enemy. (Thuc. I. c., iii. 95, &c.) It may therefore be admitted that there did not exist any definite league among the tribes of Aeto­lia, and that it was only their common danger that made them act in concert; but such a state of things, at any rate, facilitated the formation of a league, when the time came at which it was needed. But the league appears as a very powerful one very soon after the death of Alexander the Great, viz. during the Lamian war against Antipater. (Diod. xix. 66, xx. 99.) How far its organisation was then regulated is unknown, though a certain con­stitution must have existed as early as that time, since we find that Aristotle wrote a work on the


Aetolian constitution. (Strab. vii. p. 321.) But it, was certainly wanting in internal solidity, and not based upon any firm principles. In B. c. 204, two of the heads of the confederacy, Dorimachus and Scopas, were commissioned to regulate its constitu­tion, and it was perhaps in consequence of their regulation, that a general cancelling of debts was decreed two years later. (Polyb. xiii. 1, Fragm. Hist. 68.) The characteristic difference between the Aetolian and Achaean leagues, was that the former originally consisted of a confederacy of nations or tribes, while the latter was a confederacy of towns. Hence the ancient and great towns of the Aetolians, throughout the period of the league, are of no importance and exercise no influence whatever. Even Thermon, although it was the head of the league, and the place where the ordi­nary meetings of the confederates were held (Polyb. v. 8, xviii. 31, xxviii. 4 ; Strab. x. p. 463), did not serve as a fortress in times of war, and whenever the Aetolians were threatened by any danger, they preferred withdrawing to their impregnable moun­tains.

The sovereign power of the confederacy was vested in the general assemblies of all the confede-. rates (kolv})v t&v AiTCt>Aa>*/, concilium Aetoloruin), and this assembly unquestionably had the right to discuss all questions respecting peace and war, and to elect the great civil or military officers of the league. It is however clear, that those assemblies could not be attended by all the Aetolians, for many of them were poor, and lived at a great dis­tance, in addition to which the roads were much more impassable than in other parts of Greece. The constitution of the league was thus in theory a democracy, but under the cover of that name it was in reality an aristocracy, and the name Panae-tolicmn^ which Livy (xxxi. 29) applies to the Aeto­lian assembly, must be understood accordingly, as an assembly of the wealthiest and most influential persons, who occasionally passed the most arbitrary resolutions, and screened the maddest and most unlawful acts of the leading men under the fine name of a decree of all the Aetolians.

We have already mentioned that the ordinary place of meeting was Thermon, but on extraordinary occasions assemblies were also held in other towns belonging to the league, though they were not situated in the country of Aetolia Proper, e. g. at Heracleia (Liv. xxxiii. 3), Naupactus (xxxv. 12), Hypata (xxxvi. 2, 8), and Lamia (xxxv. 43, 44). The questions which were to be brought before the assembly were sometimes discussed previously by a committee, selected from the great mass, and called Apocleti (cb-o/cA^Toi, Suid. s. v. ; Liv. xxxvi. 28.) Some writers believe that the Apocleti formed a permanent council, and that the thirty men sent out to negotiate with Antiochus were only a com­mittee of the Apocleti. (Polyb. iv. 9, xx. 10,, xxi. 3 ; Tittmann, Griecli. Staatsverf. p. 727.)

The general assembly usually met in the autumn, when the officers of the league were elected. (Polyb. iv. 37.) The highest among them, as among those of the Achaean league, bore the title of crrpaT7]'y6s, whose office lasted only for one year. The first whose name is known, was Eurydamus, who com­manded the Aetolians in the war against the Gala-tians. (Paus. x. 16. § 2.) The strategus had the right to convoke the assembly ; he presided in it, introduced the subjects for deliberation, and levied the troops. (Liv. xxxviii. 4.) He had his share

About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of