Search Results

Abstract

This paper focuses on the religious background of lawgiving and its mythical models in books I-IV of the Laws. This latest of Plato's Works deals with the main tasks of a legislator in the ideal political community. In this dialogue, the lawgiver (nomothetes) is the heir of a long Greek tradition with mythical and historical forerunners (Solon, Lycurgus, Epimenides, etc.) who had a special relation with the divinity. Perhaps the best example of this kind of divine lawgiver is Minos, who was able of knowing the Gods' will and received from them the holy laws. In that aspect, Plato depends on the legendary nomothetai from myth and dwells heavily in oracular procedures as a way of communication with divinity and acquisition of decrees or confirmation of laws. If our view is correct, the model for the best possible constitution comes from Divine Wisdom (i.e. Philosophy) through oracular mediation from their mythical origins in Crete and Egypt. The medium between Gods and Men and its mantic practices – as the holy men (theioi andres) from myth and archaic Greek politics – seems a key figure for a better understanding of Plato's most complex dialogue.

In: Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte
In: Brill’s Companion to Nonnus of Panopolis 
In: Nonnus of Panopolis in Context II: Poetry, Religion, and Society
In: Fakes and Forgers of Classical Literature