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On Eunomia

Now, one of Tyrtaeus’ elegies, later called “Eunomia” and perhaps mentioning this term (1-4W), included a summary of the Rhetra, which thus was identified with the ideal of eunomia and presented as a solution to the crisis described in the same poem. Solon’s famous programmatic elegy that perhaps bore the same title (4W), similarly addresses the need to overcome crisis and civil strife and concludes with striking lines of praise of eunomia. Author authors emphasize the same ideal: Hesiod introduces Eunomia as daughter of Zeus and Themis and sister of Dike and Eirene (Theog. 901-3); Alcman praises her as sister of Persuasion (Peitho) and daughter of Foresight (Promathea, 64P). Spartan tradition maintained that an early state of stasis and disorder (kakonomia) had been transformed into one of eunomia that secured lasting stability (Hdt. 1.65-6; Thuc. 1.18). The ideal of eunomia thus stands not only for a good social order, but for the political resolution of crisis and stasis and for the integration of the polis; it represents the aim of the archaic lawgivers and encapsulates the main concern of early Greek political thinking. ~Kurt A. Raaflaub [1]

These things my spirit bids me
teach the men of Athens:
that Dysnomia
brings countless evils for the city,
but Eunomia brings order
and makes everything proper,
by enfolding the unjust in fetters,
smoothing those things that are rough,
stopping greed,
sentencing hybris to obscurity,
making the flowers of mischief to whither,

and straightening crooked judgments.
It calms the deeds of arrogance
and stops the bilious anger of harsh strife.
Under its control, all things are proper
and prudence reigns human affairs. ~ Solon [2]

6 Comments (Open | Close)

6 Comments To "On Eunomia"

#1 Comment By Jon Luker On December 23, 2004 @ 12:05 pm

Wow! Great start, Daniel. Looking forward to more eunomious thoughts. 🙂

#2 Comment By Michael Schweppe On December 23, 2004 @ 1:11 pm

Cool looking banner image.

#3 Comment By Daniel Larison On December 23, 2004 @ 3:29 pm

My thanks to both of you for your comments. Actually, Michael, the banner image is all Jon’s doing, but I’m pleased that you like it. It suits the theme and the style of the site very well. I hope to add some more posts before the New Year. Posting may slow down in January for a little bit, but I hope to have a great deal to say about Xenophon when I am finished with my current paper on the Cyropaedia. Merry Christmas! Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

#4 Comment By Jon Luker On December 23, 2004 @ 4:24 pm

Glad you guys like the banner. I hunted around for quite a while looking for the right image to turn into a banner. Used Photoshop to add a little character. I almost wanted to steal it for myself. 🙂 Did you notice the favicon? That turned out nicely as well.

#5 Comment By Michael Schweppe On December 23, 2004 @ 5:05 pm

I didn’t notice the favicon. Now that you mention it, nice touch.

#6 Comment By lordticklish On February 3, 2007 @ 7:16 pm

What did you think of Phillip Allott’s take on the principle of Eunomia in international Law?