The word is derived from ἐρέσσω, ἐρέτης,
and therefore originally signifies a rower; but in later times the word was
applied to the entire crew of a vessel, as distinct from the ἐπιβάται,
soldiers or marines (Thuc. 6.31
, with Classen's note; Dern. c.
p. 1214.25; Plb. 5.109.1
Sometimes, again, the ὑπηρέται
are distinguished from the ναῦται
(Dem. c. Polycl.
1216.30; Boeckh, P. E.
3 1.349; P. E.
p. 552 =
3 1.641). Thus, in the
Peloponnesian war the Athenian government had paid the wages of all on board
p. 275 = Sthh.
1.344); but in the time of Demosthenes the state paid only the ναῦται,
while the trierarchs had to find and pay
(Dem. de Cor.
p. 1229.6; Fränkel, n. 859 on Boeckh). The name
was also given to those men
by whom the hoplitae were accompanied when they took the field, and who
carried: the luggage, the provisions, and the shield of the hoplites (Xen. Cyrop. 2.1
, § 31). The more [p. 1.986]
common name for this servant of the hoplites was
At Athens the name ὑπηρέτης,
seems to have been
applied to a whole class of officers. Aristotle (Aristot. Pol. 4.15
=p. 1299 a, 20)
divides all public offices into three classes,--ἀρχαὶ
or magistracies, ἐπιμέλειαι
or administrations, and ὑπηρεσίαι
or services. Now all public officers at Athens,
in as far as they were the representatives of the people, or the executors
of its will, were appointed by the people itself or by the senate; and with
the exception of some subaltern military officers, we never find that one
public officer was appointed by another. A public officer, therefore, when
he appointed another person to perform the lower or more mechanical parts of
his office, could not raise him to the rank of a public officer, but merely
engaged him as a servant (ὑπηρέτης
on his own responsibility. These ὑπηρέται,
therefore, were not public officers, properly speaking, but only in as far
as they took a part in the functions of such officers. The original and
characteristic difference between them and real public officers was, that
the former received salaries, while the latter had none (Boeckh, P.
Among the ὑπηρέται
were reckoned the lower
classes of scribes [GRAMMATEUS
], heralds, messengers, the ministers of the Eleven [HENDECA
], and others. This class
of persons, as might be supposed, did not enjoy any high degree of
estimation at Athens (Pollux, 6.31), and it is clear that they were not
always Athenian citizens, but sometimes slaves. [DEMOSII
] (Cf. Schömann,
p. 307 ff.; Antiq. Jur. Publ.
235 f.; Antiq.
1.400, E. T.)
Other senses of ὑπηρέτης
explained in the Lexicons.