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Demonax (Greek: Δημώναξ) was an ancient Greek lawmaker of the style of Solon and Lycurgus, known for reforming the constitution of the Cyrenaeans.



Besides what is mentioned in the Histories by Herodotus, close to nothing is known about Demonax. He lived in the city of Mantineia, in Arcadia, in the sixth century BCE, and must have been alive around 550 BCE.

Demonax's Reforms



During the reign of Battus III, the Lame, of Cyrene, Battus realised that Cyrenaica had become an unstable state, from the unstable relations with the Libyans, Egyptian Pharaoh Amasis II, and the attempted dethroning of his late father and himself from Learchus. Battus visited the Oracle at Delphi for advice and consulted the priestess, on what he could do about Cyrenaica. The priestess advised Battus to go and visit Mantineia Arcadia and ask for a man called Demonax, who could assist him to reform the Cyrenaean constitution. Demonax, Battus was told, was held in high regard by the Mantineians and held a high position there.


Battus returned to Cyrene with Demonax to assist him in reforming the constitution. Demonax reformed the Cyrenaean constitution and did the following. He divided Cyrenaica into three groups:

Monarchy and Senate

Demonax created a Senate which controlled Cyrenaica. The senate's members were representatives from the three groups and the king was the senatorial president. The new constitution, had reduced the powers, responsibilities and authority of the Cyrenaean King. The monarchy remained however, the king was only responsible and had the authority for to grant land to citizens and be a priest and to be in charge of religious duties. Demonax put in place Ephors to punish impostors and created a strong 300 armed police force patrolling and protecting Cyrenaica. After completing the reforms, Demonax immediately left Cyrene.


  • Histories, Herodotus of Halicarnassus, Book Four


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