Sep 27, 2008

Rapid Rhetoric: THESMOTHETE

Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

thesmothete (THEHZ-moh-theet) n. (Greek) a lawgiver or legislator; (Greek history) a junior archon of Athens.

In the city-state (polis) era of Greek history, there were originally three magistrates, or "archons," who wielded considerable authority: the archon basilieus, or "religious archon," the eponymous archon , who acted like a chief judicial leader, and the polemarch ("military archon"). The number of Athenian archons increased to nine in 683 BCE, and the additional six thesmothetes worked as scribes.

I came across the term in a reference to Hierotheos the Thesmothete, the legendary first bishop of the Christians of Athens. Saint Hierotheos is believed to have been instructed by Saint Paul the Apostle, and if you are so moved, you can celebrate his feast day next week on October 4.

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