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PERIOECI (περίοικοι). This word primarily denotes the inhabitants of a district lying around some particular locality, but is generally used to describe a dependent population, living without the walls or in the country provinces of a dominant city, and, although personally free, deprived of the enjoyment of citizenship and the political rights conferred by it. The words σύνοικοι and μέτοικοι are in some degree analogous; like περίοικοι, they imply co-residence with a population of higher position and generally of different nationality. Of the three words, however, μέτοικοι, meaning “resident aliens,” has the most definite connotation attached to it, while σύνοικοι is the most indeterminate [METOECI]. It was probably from the Spartan use of the term Perioeci that the [p. 2.370]notion of “subject population” became so closely attached to it. We have no evidence to show that this word was employed by any other state than Sparta to denote its local dependencies, a great deal to show that it was not. But the Lacedaemonian system of Perioeci was so much the most marked in Greece, that writers often translated the titles given to other subject populations into this Lacedaemonian nomenclature.

A political condition such as that of the Perioeci of Greece, in some measure resembling the vassalage of the Germanic nations, could hardly have originated in anything else than foreign conquest; and the Perioeci of Laconia furnish a striking illustration of this. The question of their origin as a subject population is intimately connected with the question of their nationality; and as the two main accounts of the origin of the Perioeci which have come down to us, that of Ephorus and that of Isocrates, differ both in the description of the causes of their subjection and in the statements as to their original nationality, we must be content to accept the modified conclusions which scholars have supposed may be drawn from such accounts, from other chance notices, and from the probabilities of the case. Ephorus (ap. Strab. viii. p.364) states that they were the original Achaean inhabitants of the territory, which the Lacedaemonian branch of the Dorians had invaded; that, during the first generation which followed on the invasion, they not only remained possessed of all private rights, but even shared the political franchise of the invaders. In the next generation, however, these political privileges were taken from them; they were made into a dependent population, and even forced to pay tribute to the dominant Dorians. Isocrates (Panath. § 177) draws no such distinction of race between the Spartans and the Perioeci. On the contrary, he represents the Perioeci as in their origin the δῆμος of the Spartan state, which, expelled after a period of στάσις, was reduced to the grade of a subject population by the victorious oligarchy, and scattered through the many small townships of Laconia. These accounts agree in representing the condition of the Perioeci as having been originally better than it was in historic times. The different accounts of their nationality also give us a clue to the fact, which Grote has so strongly insisted on, that in historic times there was no recognisable difference between the nationality of the Perioeci and that of the Spartans themselves. The suggestion, however, that the Perioecic population was in a large degree tinged with the old Achaean element is more than probable; and perhaps the safest theory to accept as to the origin of this people is that stated by E. Curtius in his History of Greece (bk. ii. ch. 1); namely, that, on the first Dorian immigration into Laconia, the Dorians mingled with the original Achaean populations, with whom they continued to live for some time, the original Hexapolis which they established in Laconia not being peculiarly Dorian. The second stage of Dorian history is marked by two of the ruling families (the originators of the double Spartan kingship) “succeeding in gaining over to their side the central body of the Dorian people, in eliminating it from its intermixture with the rest of the population, collecting its scattered elements at one point, and, supported by the power of the Dorians, establishing this point as the centre of the district and the seat of their government” (Curtius, l.c.). With this reaction to pure Dorism the Perioeci originate, and their nationality would thus be a mixed one, their civilisation in particular being affected by the strongly impressive character of Dorian life, precisely in the way in which Herodotus tells us that the original population of Cynuria, which was Ionian, had been “Dorised by the Argives and by time” (Hdt. 8.73). The Perioeci of Laconia in historical times were of still more varied nationality than this mixture of race implies. Amongst them we must class the Cynurians, and possibly the Sciritae, the inhabitants of the mountainous country of South Arcadia (Hesych. sub voce σκείρα: Arnold, in Thuc. 5.67); and, although the latter are sometimes called σύμμαχοι of the Spartans, and thus distinguished from the Perioeci, perhaps they were only distinguishable from the main body of the Perioecic population as a higher from a lower grade, and would have been included in the widest meaning of this term, which is a dependent population, not sharing in the political rights of the state on which it is dependent.

After this reduction of the larger part of the population of Laconia from freedom to partial dependence on the central state, we are told that it was forced to pay tribute to Sparta (Ephorus, ap. Strab. l.c., συντελεῖν τῇ Σπάρτῃ). Of the nature of this tribute we know nothing: but a reference of Aristotle's to the εἰσφοραὶ or property taxes of the Spartans, which, though understood to exist, were not paid by the pure Spartans themselves, has been interpreted as meaning that the tax which the Perioeci paid was merely of this nature, a land tax to the state, also understood as affecting the Spartans but evaded by them, and not therefore a tribute paid in token of subservience by a dependent population (Arist. Pol. 2.6, 23). Sir G. C. Lewis, on the other hand, held that this tax was based on the theory of territorial sovereignty; that the land was supposed to belong to the Spartans by right of conquest; and that the Perioeci paid a revenue to them for the right of possessio (Phil. Mus. vol. ii.). Other tokens of dependence were the absence of all civic privileges in the central state, and the fact that no jus conubii existed between them and Spartan citizens. So entirely were they regarded as something external to the Spartan state, that it is even said that the Ephors could put Perioeci to death without trial (Isocr. Panath. § 181). This is on the whole what we should expect from the characteristic disregard of the Spartans for rights other than civic, but the statement is rendered improbable from the difficulty of reconciling it with their general treatment of this subject population. For it does not appear that the Perioeci (especially in historic times) were generally an oppressed people, though kept in a state of political inferiority to their conquerors. They served in the Spartan armies as heavy-armed soldiers of the line, and not like the helots, as light-armed only; while at the battle of Plataea we find each of these Perioecic hoplites furnished with an attendant [p. 2.371]helot (Hdt. 8.61). Again, at Sphacteria 292 prisoners were taken, of whom 120 were Spartans, and the rest in all probability περίοικοι (Thuc. 4.38). We also read of καλοὶ κἀγαθοί, or “accomplished and well-born” gentlemen, amongst the Perioeci serving as volunteers in the Spartan service (Xen. Hell. 5.3, 9). We occasionally find a Perioecus in high command (Thuc. 8.6), and on one occasion we find one filling the responsible post of admiral, so highly esteemed by Spartans as a source of power during the closing years of the Peloponnesian war (Id. 8.22). But we never find a Perioecus in command of a Spartan; in the above case, for instance, in which the Perioecus held a high naval command, the fleet he commanded was not a Spartan but an allied fleet from Chios. But, in spite of these possibilities of attaining to high position within their own circle, it was not to be expected that men competent to the discharge of high functions in a state, and bearing its burdens, should patiently submit to an exclusion from all political rights. Accordingly we find that on the rising of the Helots in B.C. 464, some of the Perioeci joined them (Thuc. 1.101). When the Thebans invaded Laconia (B.C. 369), the Perioeci were ready to help them (Xen. Hell. 6.5, 25). In connexion with the insurrection of Cinadon we are told that the Perioeci were most bitter against the ruling Spartans (Id. 3.3, 6). From these and other facts (Clinton, F. H. Append. 22) it appears that the Perioeci of Laconia, if not an oppressed, were sometimes a disaffected and discontented class; though in cases of strong excitement, or of general danger to the whole of Greece, they identified themselves with their conquerors. The very relation, indeed, which subsisted between them, was sufficient to produce in Sparta a jealousy of her subjects, with corresponding feelings on their part. Nor can we suppose that the Dorians would willingly permit the Perioeci to acquire strength and opulence, or even to settle in large towns. In fact, it is stated by Isocrates (Panath. § 177) that the Spartan Dorians intentionally weakened the other inhabitants of Laconia by dispersing them over a great number of hamlets (μικροὶ τόποι) which they called τόλεις, though they were less powerful than the country parishes of Attica, and were situated in the most unproductive parts of Laconia, the best land of which was reserved for the Spartans. This last statement probably has some reference to the land distribution of Laconia attributed to Lycurgus (Plut. Lyc. 8). The 30,000 allotments which, we are told, were made to the Perioeci, are probably as mythical as the 9,000 equal allotments said to have been made to the Spartans (Grote, Hist. Gr. ch. 6); but Isocrates' statement points to the fact that, while the Spartans possessed the rich plateau of the interior, the lands of the Perioeci were mostly in the rugged territory that fringed this plain.

Still, the grievances of the Perioeci were not after all intolerable, nor do they seem to have been treated with wantonness or insolence. The distance at which many of them lived from Sparta must have rendered it impossible for them to share in the administration of the state, or to attend the public assemblies: a circumstance which must in some measure have blunted their sense of their political inferiority; nor were they subjected to the restraints and severe discipline which the necessity of maintaining their political supremacy imposed upon the Spartans (Sosib. ap. Athen. 15.674). By way of compensation, too, the Perioeci enjoyed many advantages (though not considered as privileges) which the Spartans did not. The trade and manufactures of the country were exclusively in their hands, and carried on by them with the more facility and profit as they occupied maritime towns. Similarly the island of Cythera, the nucleus of the maritime trade of Laconia, and the port at which the merchants trading from Egypt and Libya usually touched, was a Perioecic settlement (Thuc. 4.53; 7.57). The cultivation of the arts, also, as well in the higher as in the lower departments, was confined to the Perioeci, the Spartans considering it beneath themselves; and many distinguished artists, such as embossers and brass-founders, were found in the Laconian schools, all of whom were probably Perioeci (Müller, Dor. 3.2, 3). Nor is there wanting other evidence, though not altogether free from doubt, to show that the Spartan provincials were not in the least checked or shackled in the development of their intellectual powers (Müller, l.c.). Moreover, it seems natural to suppose that they enjoyed civil rights in the communities to which they belonged, and which otherwise would scarcely have been called πόλεις: but whether or no these cities had the power of electing their own chief magistrate or magistrates, what was the form of their constitution or whether it was in all cases uniform, can only be a matter of conjecture. It has been thought possible that the 20 harmosts mentioned by the Scholiast on Pindar (Pind. O. 6.154) were Spartan governors sent to preside over Perioecic districts (Schömann, Antiq. jur. publ. Gr. 4.1, 5). [HARMOSTES] From the single instance of Cythera, to which we know a magistrate was sent from Sparta with the title κυθηροδίκης (Thuc. 4.53), no general conclusion can be drawn; but in any case it is probable that, if governors were appointed from Sparta, they were governors, not of the several πόλεις, but of districts amongst which these πόλεις were distributed for administrative purposes. Such a theory does not necessarily imply that the internal administration of each πόλις was not in the hands of its Perioecic inhabitants themselves.

The number of Laconian (as they are called) or subject cities is said to have formerly amounted to 100 (Λακεδαίμων ἑκατόμπολις, Strab. viii. p.557; Steph. Byz. s. vv. Αἰθαία and Αἰτωλία). Several of these lay on the coast, as Gythium, the port of Sparta, whence the whole coast of Laconia is called περιοικίς (Thuc. 3.16). Many, however, lay more inland, as Thyrea, the chief town of the Thyreatid as it is often called, a part of Cynuria, which was a comparatively late acquisition of the Spartans, not having been finally wrested from Argos until about the year 550 B.C. It was a long and fertile strip of teriitory east of the Eurotas, extending down to Cape Malea, and including the island of Cythera (Hdt. 1.82). But besides the fact, known to historic times, of the late acquisition of Cynuria, there is a great deal of evidence to show that the possession of [p. 2.372]the Perioecic territory by Sparta was a slow and gradual process. It has been noticed that some of the towns mentioned by Strabo as belonging to the Lacedaemonian ἑκατόμπολις were in Messenia, and cannot therefore have been settled until after the conquest of that territory, about 635 B.C. (Schömann, l.c.). When we remember further that it was not until the reign of king Teleclus, about three centuries after the original foundation of Sparta, that such towns as Amyclae, Pharis, and Geronthrae on the Eurotas were conquered (Paus. 3.2, 6), it is impossible to believe that the distribution of the Perioecic territory was such a rapid and easily completed process as the statements of Ephorus and Isocrates would lead us to believe.

Connected with the accounts of the conquest of the Perioecic territory, there are some statements which would lead us to conjecture that there was some difference of status amongst the Perioecic towns themselves. Amyclae, Pharis, and Geronthrae, for instance, are said to have been colonised from Sparta (Paus. 3.22, 5). Boeae, which Curtius supposes to have been one of the cities forming the original Hexapolis of Laconia, was said to have been founded by a Heracleid chief (Strabo viii. p.364). Whether such considerations led to a difference of political status in the case of such towns, it is impossible to say; but still it seems probable that a town like Amyclae, in which was the temple of the Hyacinthian Apollo, and which was one of the great religious centres of Dorian worship (Thuc. 4.18), would claim a preference, based on religious sentiment, over other Perioecic towns; and there is some evidence to show that the inhabitants of such towns received more considerate treatment than the general mass of Perioeci (Xen. Hell. 4.5, 11).

The number of the Perioecic population of Laconia is not known; but an attempt has been made by Clinton to determinate it approximately at one stage of its history: namely, at the time of the Persian war (F. I. App. 100.22). He says, “At the battle of Plataea in B.C. 479, the Perioeci supplied 10,000 men. If we assume this proportion to be the same as that which the Spartan force bore to the whole number on the same occasion, or five-eighths of the whole number of citizens, this would give 16,000 for the males of full age, and the total population of this class of the inhabitants of Laconia would amount to about 66,000 persons.” It will be seen, however, that this conclusion, somewhat doubtful in itself, is based on the supposition that the 10,000 Lacedaemonians who served with the Spartans at Plataea were all Perioeci. It seems more probable, however, on a comparison of two passages in Herodotus (9.11 with 61), that the 5,000 whom it is so difficult to account for, and who are only mentioned as making up the total sum, were Helots, and that each Perioecic hoplite was attended by one lightarmed helot, just as each Spartan hoplite was attended by seven of the same class.

In the later times of Spartan history, the Perioecic towns of the coast (Laconicae orae castella et vici) were detached from Sparta by T. Quinctius Flaminius, and placed under the protection of the Achaean league (Müller, Dor. 3.2, 1; Liv. 34.29, 30, and 38.31). Subsequently to this the Emperor Augustus released 24 towns from their subjection to Sparta, and formed them into separate communities under laws of their own. They were consequently called Eleuthero-Lacones (Paus. 3.21, 6). But even in the time of Pausanias some of the Laconian towns were not αὐτόνομοι, but dependent upon Sparta (συντελοῦσαι εἰς Σπάρτην).

From the account given above of the probable origin of the Perioeci of Sparta we should naturally expect to find a subject population of this kind existing in most Greek states, which are known to have experienced immigrations not resulting in a total change of population, but in a combined residence of populations of different nationality. Immigrations of this kind, which resulted in combined settlements, were in a high degree the characteristic of Dorian movements; and accordingly we should expect to find a Perioecic population as the basis of the early Dorian states. This is in the main verified by facts. In Argos, for instance, we have an undoubted Perioecic population; and although no true Perioeci can be identified in cities like Sicyon and Corinth, or most of the later Dorian colonies, this is easily explained by the fact that these states were created after the movement of the great Dorian migration was over. The Perioeci of Argos were called Orneatae from the town of Orneae, apparently the first or the most important town reduced to this condition by the Argives (Hdt. 8.73). These Orneatae are called σύμμαχοι of the Argives by Thucydides (5.67, and Arnold's note), and with them are classed the inhabitants of Cleonae; but that they were Perioeci appears from the passage of Herodotus, in which he is evidently translating the less familiar Argive term Orneatae into the more familiar Spartan one Perioeci, to show the status of the Cynurian population he is describing. How large the Perioecic population of Argolis was we do not know. A large part of it, Cynuria, was taken by the Spartans (Hdt. 1.82); and the two great Achaean townships, Mycenae and Tiryns, were certainly not Perioecic towns at the time of the Persian war (Id. 7.102, 9.28). After their destruction by Argos about 468 B.C. (Diod. 11.65), they may possibly have been reduced to this condition.

Amongst Dorian states outside Greek proper, we find Perioeci on the largest scale connected with the cities of Crete, which resembled Sparta in having a large subject population. But whether the so-called “Perioeci” of Crete were closely analogous to those of Sparta is an open question. [See COSMI] Amongst the later Dorian foundations there is some evidence of the existence of Perioeci in Leucadia and Anactorium (Thuc. 2.81, οἱ μετὰ τούτων, Arnold); and in a non-Dorian country, but one that resembled a Dorian state in its foundation, namely Elis, we have evidence of a Perioecic population (Thuc. 2.25).

There were various other classes of dependent communities in Greece, which we find described as Perioeci; and others that bear a strong resemblance to the Perioeci of Laconia in being permanent dependencies on other states: but neither of these are we quite justified in calling “Perioeci” in the Dorian sense. Of the former class, for instance, are the native population [p. 2.373]surrounding Greek colonies like Cyrene (Hdt. 4.159); and among dependent populations of the latter kind we may class many of the states of Thessaly. These are called ὑπήκοοι (Thuc. 4.78; Arist. Pol. 2.9, 3), and include the populations of what was in historical times Thessaly, such as the Perrhaebi, Magnetes, and Achaeans (of Phthiotis), which were subdued after the Thessalian migration.

[References for fuller particulars on this question may be made to Arnold's Thucydides, vol. i. app. ii., “On the Constitution of Sparta,” and to a review of this work by Sir G. C. Lewis in the second volume of the Philological Museum, p. 39. The most exhaustive treatment of the subject will be found in O. Müller's History of the Dorians, bk. iii. See also Schömann, Antiquit. Juris Pub. Graec. 4.1.5; A. Kopstadt, De rerum Laconicarum Constitutionis Lycurgeae Origine et Indole; Gilbert, Staatsalterth. 1.37. The nationality of the Perioeci is discussed chiefly in Curtius, Hist. of Greece, bk. ii. ch. 1, and Grote, Hist. of Greece, part ii. ch. 6.]

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