previous next

These were the causes, therefore, that led the people to trust in Cleisthenes. And when this time he had become Chief of the multitude, in the fourth year after the deposition of the tyrants, in the archonship of Isagoras, [2] he first divided the whole body into ten tribes instead of the existing four, wishing to mix them up, in order that more might take part in the government1; from which arose the saying, 'Don't draw distinctions between tribes,' addressed to those who want to inquire into people's clans. [3] Next he made the Council to consist of five hundred members instead of four hundred, fifty from each Tribe, whereas under the old system there had been a hundred. This was the reason why he did not arrange them in twelve tribes, in order that he might not have to use the existing division of the Thirds2 (for the four Tribes contained twelve Thirds), with the result that the multitude would not have been mixed up. [4] He also portioned out the land among the demes into thirty parts, ten belonging to the suburbs, ten to the coast, and ten to the inland district; and he gave these parts the name of Thirds, and assigned them among the Tribes by lot, three to each, in order that each Tribe might have a share in all the districts. And he made all the inhabitants in each of the demes fellow-demesmen of one another,3 in order that they might not call attention to the newly enfranchised citizens by addressing people by their fathers' names, but designate people officially by their demes; owing to which Athenians in private life also use the names of their demes as surnames.4 [5] And he also appointed Demarchs, having the same duties as the former Ship-commissioners,5 for he put the demes in the place of the Ship-comissions. He named some of the demes from their localities, but others from their founders, for the demes were no longer all corresponding to the places. [6] The clans and brotherhoods6 and priesthoods belonging to the various demes he allowed to remain on the ancestral plan. As eponymous deities of the Tribes he instituted ten tutelary heroes selected by an oracle of the Pythian priestess from a previously chosen list of a hundred.

1 Less incompletely stated in Aristot. Pol. 275b 37ff. Members of the same class might now belong to different tribes; and a number of new citizens were enrolled (see Aristot. Ath. Pol. 4), free-born aliens and emancipated slaves, who were not members of clans.

2 See Aristot. Ath. Pol. 8.3 n.

3 i.e. he made the deme a social group, united by almost a family feeling.

4 C.f., e.g., Aristot. Ath. Pol. 28.3 'Callicrates of the Paeanian deme,' and subsequent designations of persons by their demes; up to that point the father's name is used.

5 See Aristot. Ath. Pol. 8.3 n.

6 In Aristot. Pol. 1319b 23 it is said that 'Cleisthenes increased the number of the brotherhoods,' but that no doubt refers to the new citizens.

load focus Greek (Kenyon)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (8 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 5.69
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 5.81
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (5):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 28.3
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 4
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 8.3
    • Aristotle, Politics, 3.1275b
    • Aristotle, Politics, 6.1319b
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: