ARTICLE | The Public Payment of Magistrates in Fourth-Century Athens

David M. Pritchard

Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies / Volume 54 / Issue 01 / 2014 / pp 1-16

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The Public Payment of Magistrates in Fourth-Century Athens

THAT THE ATHENIAN DEMOCRACY did not give magi- strates misthos, pay, in the fourth century B.C. has long been argued by M. H. Hansen. This article questions his argument and makes the opposite case that fourth-century Athenians paid their officials with public funds as their fore- bears had certainly done from the late 430s.1 Hansen founds his case on the silence of our ancient sources.2 In 411/0 the oligarchic regime of the Four Hundred made Athenian magistrates, excepting the nine archons, amisthoi or unsalaried ([Arist.] Ath.Pol. 29.5; cf. Thuc. 8.65.3, 67.3). If, after they were ousted, this form of remuneration was restored, it was once more taken away by the oligarchic regime of 405/4.3 For Hansen there is simply no evidence that the democracy in the following year, that is, immediately after its second restoration, or at any point in the fourth century started to pay all of its magistrates again. In his account of the Athenian constitution of the 320s Aristotle’s pupil noted the remuneration of only a fraction of the 329 arkhontes, magistrates, which he got around to describing.4


1 The earliest evidence of misthos for Athenian magistrates is IG I3 32.8–9.

2 M. H. Hansen, “Misthos for Magistrates in Classical Athens,” SymbOslo 54 (1979) 5–22, at 14–19; “Perquisites for Magistrates in Fourth-Century Athens,” ClMed 32 (1980) 105–125; “Seven Hundred Archai in Classical Athens,” GRBS 21 (1980) 151–173, at 167; The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes (Oxford/Cambridge [Mass.]) 240–242.

3 Hansen, SymbOslo 54 (1979) 13; Athenian Democracy 240–241.
4 I follow P. J. Rhodes in seeing the author of the Ath.Pol. as a pupil of Aristotle: A Commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia (Oxford 1981) 59– 63.

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