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Headword: Νομογράφοι
Adler number: nu,469
Translated headword: law-drafters
Vetting Status: high
Among [the] Romans in the three-hundred-first year after the unification of the city,[1] when the office of consul had been abolished, ten law-drafters wielded the authority over the affairs of state. For a certain length of time, governing for the profit and pleasure of the citizens, they seemed moderate and to rule most advantageously of all. They wrote up the ten tablets from both native and Greek laws and set them up on the so-called crested stelae.[2] In the second year of their governance they were removed from office, after Appius[4] in particular had stirred the multitude up to hostility toward the decarchy; he intended to violate the daughter of a certain man Verenius,[4] well known for his martial accomplishments, being in the grip of a hot passion for the girl. Her father killed her with his own hand, for he feared the power of Appius would disgrace the girl once that man was roused up to use force. The entire army, moved by this, deposed the ten and forced them to pay the penalty for the misdeeds in their administration.
Greek Original:
Νομογράφοι: παρὰ Ῥωμαίοις τριακοσιοστῷ πρώτῳ ἐνιαυτῷ μετὰ τὸν συνοικισμὸν τῆς πόλεως παραλυθείσης τῆς τῶν ὑπάτων ἀρχῆς δέκα νομογράφοι τὴν τῶν κοινῶν ἐπιτρέπονται προστασίαν: οἳ χρόνον δή τινα πρὸς τὸ λυσιτελὲς καὶ ἡδὺ τῶν πολιτῶν ἐξηγούμενοι μέτριοί τε ἐδόκουν καὶ ἄρχειν μάλιστα πάντων ἐπιτήδειοι: οὗτοι γάρ που καὶ τὰς δέκα δέλτους ἐπιχωρίοις τε καὶ Ἑλληνικοῖς νόμοις ἀναγράψαντες εἰς τὰς καλουμένας κύρβεις ἀνέθηκαν. δευτέρῳ δὲ ἔτει τῆς ἡγεμονίας βαρύτητος τυραννικῆς αἰτίαν ἀπενεγκάμενοι διελύθησαν, Ἀππίου μάλιστα τὸ πλῆθος εἰς ἀπέχθειαν τῆς δεκαρχίας κινήσαντος: ὃς Οὐερηνίου τινος ἀνδρὸς οὐκ ἀσήμου τὰ πολεμικὰ θυγατέρα φθεῖραι παρθένον ἐπενόει, ἔρωτι γεγονὼς θερμῷ τῆς κόρης κατάσχετος: ἣν ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοχειρὶ διεχρήσατο δείσας τὴν τοῦ Ἀππίου δυναστείαν αἰσχῦναι τὴν κορὴν πρὸς βίαν ὡρμημένου. ἐφ' ᾧ κινηθὲν τὸ στρατιωτικὸν ἅπαν ἀφείλετο τοὺς δέκα τὰ τῆς ἐξουσίας δίκας τε ἀποτῖσαι τῶν κατὰ τὴν ἀρχὴν πεπλημμελημένων ἠνάγκασε.
The Greek is literally 'law-drafters, nomographoi, but the Latin is decemviri ('committee of ten'), or, more fully, decemviri consulari imperio legibus scribundis, 'the committee of ten with consular power for writing laws.' See generally Andrew Drummond in OCD(4) s.v. ''Decemvirates, First and Second' (p.419).
There are a number of Greek sources for this story, as well as Latin ones. The Suda's original Adler guessed to be John of Antioch; now his fr. 86 Roberto.
[1] 451-450 BCE.
[2] For 'crested stelae,' an expression probably not appropriate in a Roman context, see kappa 2744 and kappa 2745. These ten tables would later be expanded to become the famous Twelve Tables. See web address 1 below.
[3] In full, Appius Claudius Crassus Inregillensis Sabinus, who was decemvir 451-449. See generally John Briscoe in OCD(4) s.v. 'Claudius Crassus Inregillensis Sabinus, Appius' (p.326).
[4] In other sources Vergenius, the 'g' softened to a 'y' sound before 'i' and 'e' by a process known as velar palatization, as in modern Greek, and then disappearing here. His daughter, unnamed here, is the Verginia (in unreformed Latin orthography, 'Virginia') made famous by Livy 3.44 f. See web address 2 below; also Tim Cornell in OCD(4) s.v. 'Verginia' (p.1541).
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; children; chronology; constitution; definition; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; law; military affairs; women
Translated by: Oliver Phillips ✝ on 25 November 2002@05:06:58.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 25 November 2002@05:39:25.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 11 November 2005@06:06:07.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 10 April 2008@07:49:32.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking; raised status) on 17 June 2013@04:14:07.
Catharine Roth (tweaked notes) on 18 September 2013@23:51:06.
David Whitehead (updated some refs) on 7 August 2014@04:47:05.
David Whitehead on 29 January 2015@11:19:00.


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