15.Such a life had been characteristic of them, more than of any other Hellenic people,
from very early times.In the1 days of Cecrops and the first kings, down to the reign of Theseus, Attica was
divided into communes, having their own town halls and magistrates.Except in case of alarm the whole people did not assemble in council under the king,
but administered their own affairs, and advised together in their several townships.Some of them at times even went to war with him, as the Eleusinians under
Eumolpus with Erectheus.
But when Theseus came to the throne, he, being a powerful as well as a wise ruler,
among other improvements in the administration of the country, dissolved the councils
and separate governments, and united all the inhabitants of Attica in the present city,
establishing one council and town hall.They continued to live on their own lands, but he compelled them to resort to Athens as
their metropolis, and henceforward they2 were all inscribed in the roll of her citizens,.A great city thus arose which was handed down by Theseus to his descendants, and from
his day to this the Athenians have regularly celebrated the national festival of the
Synoecia, or 'union of the communes' in honour of the Goddess Athenè.
Before his time, what is now the Acropolis and the ground lying under it to the south
was3 the city.
Many reasons may be urged in proof of this statement:—The temples of
Athenè and of other divinities are situated in the Acropolis itself, and
those which are not lie chiefly thereabouts; the temples of Olympian Zeus, for example,
and of the Pythian Apollo, and the temple of Earth and of Dionysus in the Marshes, in
honour of whom the more ancient Dionysia are celebrated on the twelfth day of the month
Anthesterion4, a festival which also
continues to be observed by the Ionian descendants of the Athenians.
In the same quarter are other ancient temples, and not far off is the fountain now
called Enneacrounos, or the Nine Conduits, from the form given to it by the tyrants, but
originally, before the springs were covered in, Callirrhoe, or the Fair Stream.The water of this fountain was used by the ancient Athenians on great occasions, it
being near the original city; and at marriage rites and other ceremonies the custom is
To this day the Acropolis or Citadel is called by the Athenians
Polis, or City, because that neighbourhood was first inhabited.
but reluctantly, for they had ever loved a country life. In old times they lived
in separate communes, until Theseus united them into the one city of
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