Law Against Tyranny

In the fourth century B.C. the Athenians were faced with the dangerous possibility of tyranny. Although the Macedonian king had guaranteed Athenian democracy in the peace following the battle of Chaironeia (338 B.C.), there was still fear, more than justified a few years later, that ambitious men, seeking the favor of the Macedonian, might subvert the government. Two years later, in 336 B.C., a law was enacted (20):

20. Law against Tyranny with a relief of Democracy crowning Demos (the people of Athens), 337/6 B.C.

“Be it resolved by the Nomothetai (lawgivers): If anyone rise up against the People with a view to tyranny or join in establishing the tyranny or overthrow the People of the Athenians or the democracy in Athens, whoever kills him who does any of these things shall be blameless. It shall not be permitted for anyone of the councilors of the Council of the Areopagus—if the Demos (the People) or the democracy in Athens has been overthrown—to go up into the Areopagus or sit in the Council or deliberate about anything. If anyone, the Demos or the democracy in Athens having been overthrown, of the councilors of the Areopagus does go up into the Areopagus or sits in the Council or deliberates about anything, both he and his progeny shall be deprived of civil rights and his substance shall be confiscated and one tenth given to the Goddess. The secretary of the Council shall inscribe this law on two steles of stone and set one of them by the entrance into the Areopagus . . . and the other in the Assembly. For the inscribing of the steles the treasurer of the People shall give 20 drachmas from the moneys expendable by the People according to decrees.”

Excavations in the Athenian Agora are conducted by the American School of Classical Studies.
Primary funding is provided by the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI).