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The Duties Of The Gunaikonomoi: A Rejected Suggestion

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Chapter Summary

Demetrius of Phalerum's gunaikonomoi have been associated in some modern discussions with the arbitration of dowry disputes. Two passages from Menander, both presenting grave difficulties, are the key. The first passage in fact comes not straight from Menander but from Plautus' Aulularia, which contains at line 504 a reference to a moribus praefectus mulierum. Some, but not all, have seen in this a reference to the Greek office of the gunaikonomos and have supposed that Plautus was working from an original play by Menander. An involvement by Athenian gunaikonomoi in dowry issues was suggested also by Garland, in her doctoral thesis on these magistrates. Her argument is based upon a second passage of Menander, this time from Epitrepontes. In sum, these two passages, even if from Menander, do not add a new competence to the brief of the Phalerean gunaikonomoi.

Keywords: Demetrius of Phalerum; gunaikonomoi; Menander



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