having or giving a name, was the surname of the first of the nine archons at
Athens, because his name, like that of the consuls at Rome, was used in
public records to mark the year [ARCHON
]. The expression ἐπώνυμοι τῶν
whose number is stated by Suidas, the
and other grammarians, to have been
forty, likewise applies to the chief archons of Athens. Every Athenian had
to serve in the army from his 20th to his 60th year, i. e. during the
archonship of forty archons. Now, as an army generally consisted of men from
the age of 20 to that of 60, the forty archons under whom they had been
enlisted were called ἐπώνυμοι τῶν
in order to distinguish them from the επώνυμοι τῶν φυλῶν.
(Compare Demosth. ap.
Harpoc. s. v. Ἐπώνυμοι,
p. 245.) At Sparta the first of the five ephors
gave his name to the year, and was therefore called ἔφορος ἐπώνυμος
It was a very prevalent tendency among the ancients in general to refer the
origin of their institutions to some ancient or fabulous hero (ἀρχηγέτης.
Orac. ap. Dem. c.
p. 1072.66), from whom, in most cases, the institution was
also believed to have derived its name, so that the hero became its ἀρχηγέτης ἐπώνυμος.
Thus each of the Attic
demi had its own eponymus or patron. In later times new institutions were
often named after ancient heroes, on account of some fabulous or legendary
connexion which was thought to exist between them and the new institutions,
and the heroes thus became, as it were, their patrons or tutelary deities. A
striking instance of this custom are the names of the ten Attic tribes
instituted by Cleisthenes, all of which were named after some national hero
p. 1397, &c.; Paus. 1.5
). These ten heroes who were at Athens,
generally called the
or ἐπώνυμοι τῶν φυλῶν,
were honoured with statues, which
stood in the Kerameikos, near the Tholos (Paus.
; Suidas and Etym. M. s. v.
). If an Athenian citizen wished
to make proposals for a new law, he exhibited them for public inspection in
front of one of these statues of the ἐπώνυμοι,
whence the expressions ἐκθεῖναι πρόσθεν τῶν ἐπωνύμων,
or πρὸς τοὺς ἐπωνύμους.
(Aeschin. c. Ctes.
§ 39; Wolf, Proleg. ad Demosth. Leptin.
Comp. Schömann, Antiq.
i. pp. 320, 367, 369, 370,
412, 454, E. T.) [L.S
. Under this head we
have to notice a new explanation of the difficult phrase ἐπώνυμοι τῶν ἡλικιῶν.
In 100.53 we read
εἰσὶ γὰρ ἐπώνυμοι δέκα μὲν οἱ τῶν φυλῶν,
δύο δὲ καὶ τετταράκοντα οἱ τῶν ἡλικιῶν
: and that
formerly the names of the ἔφηβοι
written εἰς λελευκωμένα γραμματεῖα
in the time of the writer εἰς στήλην χαλκῆν καὶ
ἵσταται ἡ στήλη πρὸ τοῦ βουλε[υτ]ηρίου παρὰ τοὺς
Mr. Kenyon observes: “It seems that for the
purposes of military service a cycle of forty-two years was arranged, to
each of which a name was given, probably chosen, like those of the
eponymi of the ten tribes, from the heroes of Athenian legendary
history. Thus when a youth was enrolled in the lists of the tribes and
became liable for military service, his name was entered on a roll, with
the name of the year according to the archon and the name of [p. 1.1069]
the eponymous hero from whom his military
service was to be dated.” (The meaning of ὁ ἐπώνυμος ὁ τῷ προτέρῳ [ἔτει] δε διαιτηκὼς
explained.) “For all official purposes, such as the indication of what
years were to be called out for service on any particular occasion,
these names were employed:”
χρῶνται δὲ τοῖς ἐπωνύμοις καὶ πρὸς τὰς
στρατείας, καὶ ὅταν ἡλικίαν ἐκπέμπωσι προγράφουσιν ἀπὸ τίνος
ἄρχοντος καὶ ἐπων[ύμου μ]έχρι τινῶν δεῖ στρατεύεσθαι.
[App. s. v. DIAETETAE
] As a
matter of fact the orators use a shorter expression: ψηφισαμένων δ᾽ ὑμῶν . . . καὶ τοὺς μέχρὶ τριάκοντ̓ ἔτη
Aeschin. F. L.
133: ἐψηφίσασθε . . . καὶ τοὺς μέχρι πέντε καὶ
τετταράκοντα ἐτῶν αὐτοὺς ἐμβαίνειν,
iii. p. 29.4: cf. Lycurg. c. Leocr.