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Gennētae

οἱ γεννῆται). The Athenian term for the members of the 360 ancient families (γένναι), thirty of which made up one of the twelve φρατρίαι of the four old Ionic tribes. These families consisted of some thirty houses, who referred their origin and name to a common ancestor, and observed a common worship, with special priests to superintend it. The objects of this worship were Zeus Herkeios (the god of house and home), Apollo Patroös (the god of the family), the heroes of the family, and other tutelary deities. In case a family worship rose to the dignity of a state ceremonial, the priestly office remained hereditary in the family (γέννα). If there were no nearer relations, the members of the γέννα had a law of inheritance which they observed among themselves. Maintained by these religious and legal ties, the γένναι and the φρατρίαι survived the old Ionic tribes, after the abolition of the latter by Clisthenes. The president of the γέννα superintended the enrolment of new members into it at the feast of the Apaturia, the occasion on which the new members of the φρατρίαι were also enrolled. (See Apaturia.) A citizen who did not belong to a γένναι could only become a member of one by adoption, and under certain conditions. See Phratria.

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