Mythische Vorbilder des sakralen Gesetzgebers bei Platon (Nomoi I-IV): eine Einführung in den religiösen Hintergrund der Nomoi Articles uri icon



publication date

  • April 2010

start page

  • 105

end page

  • 124


  • 2


  • 62

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0044-3441

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1570-0739


  • 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.