A homologous series of macrocyclic oligoamides has been prepared in high yield by reaction of isophthaloyl chloride with m-phenylenediamine under pseudo-high-dilution conditions. The products were characterized by infrared and H-1 NMR spectroscopies, matrix assisted laser desorption-ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and gel permeation chromatography (GPC). A series of linear oligomers was prepared for comparison. The macrocycles ranged in size from the cyclic trimer up to at least the cyclic nonamer (90 ring atoms). The same homologous series of macrocyclic oligomers was prepared in high yield by the cyclodepolymerization of poly(m-phenylene isophthalamide) (Nomex). Cyclodepolymerization was best achieved by treating a 1% w/v solution of the polymer in dimethyl sulfoxide containing calcium chloride or lithium chloride with 3-4 mol % of sodium hydride or the sodium salt of benzanilide at 150 degreesC for 70 h. Treatment of a concentrated solution of the macrocyclic oligomers (25% w/v) with 4 mol % of sodium hydride or the sodium salt of benzanilide in a solution of lithium chloride in dimethyl sulfoxide at 170 degreesC for 6 h resulted in efficient entropically driven ring-opening polymerizations to give poly(m-phenylene isophthalamide), characterized by infrared and H-1 NMR spectroscopies and by GPC. The molecular weights obtained were comparable with those of the commercial polymer.