previous next

The Late Archaic City-State

Although the Greek city-states differed among themselves in size and natural resources, over the course of the Archaic age they came to share certain fundamental political institutions and social traditions: citizenship, slavery, the legal disadvantages and political exclusion of women, and the continuing influence of aristocrats in society and politics. During this time, however, different city-states developed these shared characteristics in strikingly different ways. Monarchy had died out in Greece with the end of Mycenaean civilization, except for the dual kingship that existed in Sparta as part of its complex oligarchic system rather than as a monarchy in the ordinary sense. In Sparta and some other Greek city-states, only a rather restricted number of men exercised meaningful political power (thus creating a political system called an oligarchy, meaning “rule by the few.”) Other city-states experienced periods of domination by the kind of sole ruler who seized power in unconstitutional fashion and whom the Greeks called a tyrant. Tyranny, passed down from father to son, existed at various times across the breadth of the Greek world from city-states on the island of Sicily in the west to Samos off the coast of Ionia in the east. Still other city-states created early forms of democracy (“rule by the people”) by giving all male citizens the power to participate in governing. Assemblies of men with some influence on the king had existed in certain early states in the ancient Near East, but Greek democracy broke new ground with the amount of political power that it invested in its male citizen body. The Athenians established Greece's most renowned democracy, in which the individual freedom of citizens flourished to a degree unprecedented in the ancient world. By examining these different paths of political and social development, we can grasp the great challenge faced by the Greeks as they struggled to construct a new way of life during the Archaic Age. In the course of this struggle, they also began to formulate new ways of understanding the physical world, their relations to it, and their relationships with each other.

The Power of Sparta

The Spartans made oligarchy the political base for a society devoted to military readiness, and the resulting Spartan way of life1 became famous for its discipline, which showed most prominently in the Spartan infantry, the most powerful military force in Greece during the Archaic Age. Sparta's easily defended location2—nestled on a narrow north-south plain between rugged mountain ranges in the southeastern Peloponnese, in a region called Laconia (hence the designation of Spartans as Laconians)—gave it a secure base for developing its might. Sparta had access to the sea through a harbor3 situated some twenty-five miles south of its urban center, but this harbor opened onto a dangerous stretch of the Mediterranean whipped by treacherous currents and winds. As a consequence, enemies could not threaten the Spartans by sea, but their relative isolation from the sea also kept the Spartans from becoming adept sailors. Their interests and their strength4 lay on the land.

The Early History of Sparta

The Greeks believed the ancestors of the Spartans were Dorians5 who had invaded the Peloponnese from central Greece and defeated the original inhabitants of Laconia around 950 B.C., but no archaeological evidence supports the notion that a “Dorian invasion” actually took place. From wherever the original Spartans came, they conquered the inhabitants of Laconia and settled in at least four small villages, two of which apparently dominated the others. These early settlements later cooperated to form the core of what would in the Archaic Age6 become the polis of the Spartans. The Greeks gave the name “synoecism”7 (“union of households”) to this process of political unification, in which most people continued to live in their original villages even after one village began to serve as the center of the new city-state. One apparent result of the compromises required to forge Spartan unity was that the Spartans retained not one but two hereditary military leaders of high prestige, whom they called kings. These kings8, perhaps originally the leaders of the two dominant villages, served as the religious heads of Sparta and commanders of its army. The kings did not enjoy unfettered power to make decisions or set policy, however, because they operated not as pure monarchs but as leaders of the oligarchic institutions that governed the Spartan city-state. Rivalry between the two royal families periodically led to fierce disputes, and the initial custom of having two supreme military commanders also paralyzed the Spartan army when the kings disagreed on strategy in the middle of a military campaign. The Spartans therefore eventually decided that the army on campaign would be commanded by only one king at a time.

Spartan Oligarchy

The “few” (oligoi ) who made policy in the oligarchy ruling Sparta were a group of twenty-eight men over sixty years old, joined by the two kings. This group of thirty, called the “council of elders” ( gerousia 9), formulated proposals that were submitted to an assembly of all free adult males. This assembly had only limited power to amend the proposals put before it; mostly it was expected to approve the council's plans. Rejections were rare because the council retained the right to withdraw a proposal when the reaction to it by the crowd in the assembly presaged a negative vote. “If the people speak crookedly,” according to Spartan tradition, “the elders and the leaders of the people shall be withdrawers [of the proposal].” The council could then bring the proposal back on another occasion after there had been time to marshal support for its passage.

A board of five annually elected “overseers” ( ephors 10) counterbalanced the influence of the kings and the gerousia. Chosen from the adult male citizens at large, the ephors convened the gerousia and the assembly, and they exercised considerable judicial powers of judgment and punishment. They could even bring charges against a king and imprison him until his trial. The creation of the board of ephors diluted the political power of the oligarchic gerousia and the kings because the job of the ephors was to ensure the supremacy of law. The Athenian Xenophon later reported11: “All men rise from their seats in the presence of the king, except for the ephors. The ephors on behalf of the polis and the king on his own behalf swear an oath to each other every month: the king swears that he will exercise his office according to the established laws of the polis , and the polis swears that it will preserve his kingship undisturbed if he abides by his oath.”

The Laws of Sparta

The Spartans were sticklers for obedience to the law (nomos ) as the guide to proper behavior on matters large and small. When the ephors entered office, for example, they issued an official proclamation to the men of Sparta: “Shave your moustache and obey the laws.” The depth of Spartan respect for their system of government under law was symbolized by their tradition that Apollo of Delphi had sanctioned it with an oracle called the Rhetra12. A Spartan leader named Lycurgus, they said, had instituted the reforms that the Rhetra institutionalized. Even in antiquity historians had no firm information about the dates of Lycurgus's leadership or precisely how he changed Spartan laws. All we can say today is that the Spartans evolved their law-based political system during the period from about 800 to 600 B.C. Unlike other Greeks, the Spartans never had their laws written down. Instead, they preserved their system from generation to generation with a distinctive, highly structured way of life based on a special economic foundation.

The Dangerous Situation of Sparta

The distinctiveness of the Spartan way of life13 was fundamentally a reaction to their living in the midst of people whom they had conquered in war and enslaved to exploit economically but who outnumbered them greatly. To maintain their position of superiority over their conquered neighbors, from whom they derived their subsistence, Spartan men had to turn themselves into a society of soldiers constantly on guard. They accomplished this transformation by a radical restructuring of traditional family life enforced by strict adherence to the laws and customs governing practically all aspects of behavior. Through constant, daily reinforcement of their strict code of values, the Spartans ensured their survival against the enemies they had created by subjugating their neighbors. The seventh-century poet Tyrtaeus, whose verses exemplify the high quality of the poetry produced in early Sparta before its military culture began to exclude such accomplishments, expressed that code in his ranking of martial courage as the supreme male value: “I would never remember or mention in my work any man for his speed afoot or wrestling skill, not if he was as huge and strong as a Cyclops or could run faster than the North Wind, nor more handsome than Tithonus or richer than Midas or Cinyras, nor more kingly than Pelops, or had speech more honeyed than Adrastus, not even if he possessed every glory—not unless he had the strength of a warrior in full rush.”

Spartan Neighbors and Slaves

Some of the conquered inhabitants of Laconia, the territory of Sparta, continued to live in self-governing communities. Called “those who live round about” (perioikoi ), these neighbors were required to serve in the Spartan army and pay taxes but lacked citizen rights. Perhaps because they retained their personal freedom and property, however, the perioikoi 14 never rebelled against Spartan control. Far different was the fate of the conquered people who ended up as helots 15, a word derived from the Greek term for “capture.” Later ancient commentators described the helots as “between slave and free” because they were not the personal property of individual Spartans but rather slaves belonging to the whole community, which alone could free them. Helots had a semblance of family life because they were expected to produce children to maintain their population, which was compelled to labor as farmers and household slaves as a way of freeing Spartan citizens from any need to do such work. Spartan men in fact wore their hair very long to show they were “gentlemen” rather than laborers, for whom long hair was an inconvenience.

In their private lives, helots could keep some personal possessions and practice their religion, as could slaves generally in Greece. Publicly, however, helots lived under the threat of officially sanctioned violence.16lived under the threat of officially sanctioned violence. Every year the ephors formally declared a state of war to exist between Sparta and the helots, thereby allowing any Spartan to kill a helot without any civil penalty or fear of offending the gods by unsanctioned murder. By beating the helots frequently, forcing them to get drunk in public as an object lesson to young Spartans, marking them out by having them wear dogskin caps, and generally treating them with scorn, the Spartans consistently emphasized the otherness of the helots compared to themselves. In this way, the Spartans erected a moral barrier between themselves and the helots to justify their harsh treatment of fellow Greeks.

The Helots of Messenia

When the arable land of Laconia, which was predominately held by aristocrats, proved too small to support the full citizen population of Sparta, the Spartans attacked their Greek neighbors to the west in the Peloponnese, the Messenians17. In the First Messenian War18 (c. 730-710 B.C.) and then in the Second (c. 640-630 B.C.), the Spartan army captured the territory of Messenia, which amounted to forty percent of the Peloponnese, and reduced the Messenians to the status of helots. With the addition of the tens of thousands of people in Messenia, the total helot population now more than outnumbered that of Sparta, whose male citizens at this time amounted to perhaps between 8,000 and 10,000. The terrible loss felt by the Messenians at their fate is well portrayed by their legend of King Aristodemus19, whom the Messenians remembered as having sacrificed his beloved daughter to the gods of the underworld in an attempt to enlist their aid against the invading Spartans. When his campaign of guerrilla warfare at last failed, Aristodemus is said to have slain himself in despair on her grave. Deprived of their freedom and their polis , the Messenian helots were ever after on the lookout for a chance to revolt against their Spartan overlords.

The Contribution of Helots

Their labor made helots valuable to the Spartans. Laconian and Messenian helots alike primarily farmed plots of land that the state had originally allotted to individual Spartan households for their sustenance. Some helots also worked as household servants. By the fifth century, helots would also accompany Spartan hoplite warriors on the march to carry their heavy gear and armor. In the words of the seventh-century B.C. poet Tyrtaeus, helots worked “like donkeys exhausted under heavy loads; they lived under the painful necessity of having to give their masters half the food their ploughed land bore.”20 This compulsory rent of fifty percent of everything produced by the helots working on each free family's assigned plot was supposed to amount to seventy measures of barley each year to the male master of the household and twelve to his wife, along with an equivalent amount of fruit and other produce. In all, this food was enough to support six or seven people. The labor of the helots allowed Spartan men to devote themselves to full-time training for hoplite warfare in order to protect themselves from external enemies and to suppress helot rebellions, especially in Messenia. Contrasting the freedom of Spartan citizens from ordinary work with the lot of the helots , the later Athenian Critias commented “Laconia is the home of the freest of the Greeks, and of the most enslaved.”

The Existence of Spartan Boys

The entire Spartan way of life was directed toward keeping the Spartan army at tip-top strength. Boys lived at home only until their seventh year, when they were taken away to live in communal barracks with other males until they were thirty. They spent most of their time exercising, hunting, training with weapons, and being acculturated to Spartan values by listening to tales of bravery and heroism at the common meals presided over by older men21. The standard of discipline was strict, to prepare young males for the hard life of a soldier on campaign. For example, they were not allowed to speak at will. (Our word “laconic” meaning “of few words” comes from the Greek word “Laconian,” one of the terms for a Spartan; another is Lacedaimonian, from the name Lacedaimon applied to Sparta). Boys were also purposely underfed so that they would have to develop the skills of stealth by stealing food. Yet if they were caught, punishment and disgrace followed immediately. One famous Spartan tale taught how seriously boys were supposed to fear such failure: having successfully stolen a fox, which he was hiding under his clothing, a Spartan youth died because he let the panicked animal rip out his insides rather than be detected in the theft. By the Classical period, older boys would be dispatched to live in the wilds for a period as members of the “secret band”22 whose job it was to murder any helots who seemed likely to foment rebellion.

The Equals

Spartan boys who could not survive the tough conditions of their childhood training fell into social disgrace and were not certified as Equals23 (homoioi), the official name for adult males entitled to full citizen rights of participation in politics and the respect of the community. Only the sons of the royal family were exempted from this training, perhaps to avoid a potential social crisis if a king's son failed to stay the course.

The Spartan Common Messes

Each Spartan Equal had to gain entry to a group that dined together at common meals, in a “common mess”24 (sussition), each of which had about fifteen members. If not blackballed when he applied, the new member was admitted on the condition that he contribute a regular amount of barley, cheese, figs, condiments, and wine to the mess from the produce provided by the helots working on his family plot. Some meat was apparently contributed, too, because Spartan cuisine was infamous for a black, bloody broth of pork condemned as practically inedible by other Greeks. Perhaps it was made from the wild boars Spartan men loved to hunt, an activity for which messmates were formally excused from the compulsory communal meals. If any member failed to keep up his contributions, he was expelled from the mess and lost his full citizen rights. The experience of spending so much time in these common messes schooled Sparta's young men in the values of their society. There they learned to call all older men “father”25 to emphasize that their primary loyalty was to the group and not to their genetic families. There they were chosen to be the special favorites of males older than themselves to build bonds of affection, including physical love, for others at whose side they would have to march into deadly battle. There they learned to take the rough joking of army life for which Sparta was well known. In short, the common mess took the place of a boy's family and school when he was growing up and remained his main social environment once he had reached adulthood. Its function was to mold and maintain his values consistent with the demands of the one honorable occupation for Spartan men: a soldier obedient to orders. Tyrtaeus enshrined the Spartan male ideal in his poetry: “Know that it is good for the polis and the whole people when a man takes his place in the front row of warriors and stands his ground without flinching.”

Women at Sparta

Spartan women26 were renowned throughout the Greek world for their relative freedom. Other Greeks regarded it as scandalous that Spartan girls exercised with boys and did so wearing minimal clothing. Women at Sparta were supposed to use the freedom from labor provided by the helot system to keep themselves physically fit to bear healthy children and raise them to be strict upholders of Spartan values. A metaphorical formulation of the male ideal for Spartan women appears, for example, in the poetry of Alcman in the late seventh century, who wrote songs for the performances of female and male choruses that were common on Spartan civic and religious occasions. The dazzling leader of a women's chorus, he writes, “stands out as if among a herd of cows someone placed a firmly-built horse with ringing hooves, a prize winner from winged dreams.”

Land Ownership at Sparta

Spartan women, like men, could own land27 privately. Ordinary coined money28 was deliberately banned to try to discourage the accumulation of material goods, but the ownership of land remained extremely important in Spartan society. More and more land came into the hands of women in later Spartan history because the male population declined29 through losses in war, especially during the Classical Age. Moreover, Spartan women with property enjoyed special status as a result of the Spartan law forbidding the division of the portion of land originally allotted to a family. This law meant that, in a family with more than one son, all the land went to the eldest son. Fathers with multiple sons therefore needed to seek out brides for their younger sons who had inherited land and property from their fathers because they had no brother surviving. Otherwise, younger sons, inheriting no land from their own family, might fall into dire poverty.

Reproduction at Sparta

The freedom of Spartan women from some of the restrictions imposed on them in other Greek city-states had the same purpose as the men's common messes30: the production of manpower for the Spartan army. By the Classical Age, the ongoing problem of producing enough children to keep the Spartan citizen population from shrinking had grown acute.31 Men were legally required to get married32, with bachelors subjected to fines and public ridicule. Women who died in childbirth were apparently the only Spartans allowed to have their names placed on their tombstones, a mark of honor for their sacrifice to the state.

With their husbands so rarely at home, women directed the households, which included servants, daughters, and sons until they left for their communal training. As a result, Spartan women exercised more power in the household than did women elsewhere in Greece. Until he was thirty, a Spartan husband was not allowed to live with his family, and even newly-wed men were expected to pay only short visits to their brides by sneaking into their own houses at night. This tradition was only one of the Spartan customs of heterosexual behavior that other Greeks found bizarre. If all parties agreed, a woman could have children by a man other than her husband, so pressing was the need to reproduce in this strictly ordered society.

The Obligations of Spartans

All Spartan citizens were expected to put service to their city-state before personal concerns because Sparta's survival was continually threatened by its own economic foundation, the great mass of helots33. Since Sparta's well-being depended on the systematic exploitation of these enslaved Greeks, its entire political and social system by necessity had as its aim a staunch militarism and a conservatism in values. Change meant danger at Sparta. As part of its population policy, however, Spartan conservatism encompassed sexual behavior34 seen as overly permissive by other Greeks. The Spartans simultaneously institutionalized a form of equality as the basis for their male social unit, the common mess35, while denying true social and political equality to ordinary male citizens by making their government an oligarchy. Whatever other Greeks may have thought of the particulars of the Spartan system, they admired the Spartans' unswerving respect for their laws 36 as a guide to life in hostile surroundings, albeit of their own making.

Tyranny in the City-States

Opposition to oligarchic domination brought the first Greek tyrants37 to power in numerous city-states, although Sparta never experienced a tyranny. Greek tyranny represented a distinctive type of rule for several reasons. For one, although tyrants were by definition rulers who usurped power by force rather than inheriting it like legitimate kings, they then established family dynasties to maintain their tyranny, with sons inheriting their fathers' position as the head of state. Also, the men who became tyrants were usually aristocrats, or at least near-aristocrats, who nevertheless rallied support from non-aristocrats for their coups. In places where propertyless men may have lacked citizenship or at least felt substantially disenfranchised in the political life of the city-state, tyrants perhaps won adherents by extending citizenship and other privileges to these groups. Tyrants moreover sometimespreserved the existing laws and political institutions38 of their city-states as part of their rule, thus promoting social stability.

Tyranny at Corinth

The most famous early tyranny arose at Corinth39, a large city-state in the northeastern Peloponnese, around 657 B.C. in opposition to the rule of the aristocratic family called the Bacchiads. Under Bacchiad rule in the eighth and early seventh centuries B.C., Corinth had blossomed into the most economically advanced city40 in Archaic Greece. The Corinthians had forged so far ahead in naval engineering41, for instance, that other Greeks contracted with them to have ships built. Corinth's strong fleet helped the Bacchiads42 in founding overseas colonies at Corcyra43 in northwest Greece and Syracuse44 on Sicily, city-states which would themselves become major naval powers.

The Bacchiads became unpopular despite the city's prosperity because they ruled violently. Cypselus45, himself an aristocrat whose mother was a Bacchiad, readied himself to take over by becoming popular with the masses: “he became one of the most admired of Corinth's citizens because he was courageous, prudent, and helpful to the people, unlike the oligarchs in power, who were insolent and violent,” according to a later historian. Cypselus engineered the overthrow of Bacchiad rule with popular support and a favorable oracle from Delphi. He then ruthlessly suppressed rival aristocrats, but his popularity with the people remained so high that he could govern without the protection of a bodyguard. Corinth added to its economic strength during Cypselus' rule by exporting large quantities of fine pottery, especially to markets in Italy and Sicily. Cypselus founded additional colonies along the sailing route to the western Mediterranean to promote Corinthian trade in that direction.

When Cypselus died in 625 B.C., his son Periander46 succeeded him. Periander aggressively continued Corinth's economic expansion by founding colonies on the coasts both northwest and northeast of Greek territory to increase trade with the interior regions there, which were rich in timber and precious metals. He also pursued commercial contacts with Egypt, an interest commemorated in the Egyptian name Psammetichus he gave to one of his sons. The city's prosperity encouraged flourishing development in crafts, art, and architecture. The foundations of the great stone temple to Apollo begun in this period can still be seen today. Unlike his father, however, Periander lost the support of Corinth's people by ruling harshly. He kept his power until his death in 585 B.C., but the hostile feelings that persisted against his rule led to the overthrow of his successor, Psamettichus, within a short time. The opponents of tyranny thereupon installed a government based on a board of eight magistrates and a council of eighty men.

Tyrants and Popular Support

As in the case of the Cypselid tyranny at Corinth, most tyrannies needed to cultivate support among the masses of their city-states to remain in power because their armies were composed primarily of non-aristocrats. The dynasty of tyrants47 on the island of Samos48 in the eastern Aegean Sea, for example, who came to power about 540 B.C., built enormous public works to benefit their city-state and provide employment. They began construction of a temple to Hera49 meant to be the largest in the Greek world, and they dramatically improved the water supply of their urban center by excavating a great tunnel connected to a distant spring. This marvel of engineering with a channel eight feet high ran for nearly a mile through a 900-foot high mountain. The later tyrannies that emerged in city-states on Sicily50 similarly graced their cities with beautiful temples and public buildings.

By working in the interests of their peoples, some tyrannies, like that founded by Cypselus at Corinth, maintained their popularity for decades. Other tyrants experienced bitter opposition from aristocrats jealous of the tyrant's power or provoked civil war by ruling brutally and inequitably. The poet Alcaeus of the city-state of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos in the northeastern Aegean, himself a rebellious aristocrat, described such strife around 600 B.C.: “Let's forget our anger; let's quit our heart-devouring strife and civil war, which some god has stirred up among us, ruining the people but bestowing the glory on our tyrant for which he prays.” In short, the title tyrant in Archaic Greece did not automatically label a ruler as brutal or unwelcome, as the use of the same word in English implies. Greeks evaluated tyrants as good or bad depending on their behavior as rulers.

Theseus and Democracy at Athens

It was a traditional Greek practice to explain significant historical changes such as the founding of communities or the codification of law as the work of an individual “inventor” from the distant past. Just like the Spartans, for whom the legendary Lycurgus51 was remembered as the founder of their city-state, the Athenians also believed their polis owed its start to a single man in the distant past. Athenian legends made Theseus52 responsible for founding the polis of Athens at a remote date by the synoecism of villages in Attica, the name given to the peninsula at the southeastern corner of the mainland of Greece that formed the territory of the Athenian polis. Since Attica had several fine ports along its coast, the Athenians were much more oriented to seafaring and communication with other peoples than were the almost-landlocked Spartans. Theseus made an appropriate mythical founder because he was described as a traveling adventurer, sailing, for example, to the island of Crete to defeat the Minotaur53, a cannibalistic monster, half-human and half-bull. This exploit, like his other legendary adventures, or “labors” as they are called in imitation of those of Heracles, became favorite subject matter for vase painters. There can be no historical reality to the story of Theseus as the founder of Athenian democracy, but the civilizing nature of his legendary labors—he defeated many monsters who threatened travelers and polis residents alike—made his story appropriate to the aspirations of Athenian civic life.

The Athenian Population in the Dark Age

Unlike most other important sites inhabited in the Mycenaean period, Athens had apparently not suffered any catastrophic destruction at the end of the Mycenaean period. Nevertheless, it is difficult to believe that Athens wholly escaped the troubles of this period, and its population shrank in the early Dark Age. By around 850 B.C., however, archaeological evidence such as the model granary from a woman's burial54 mentioned elsewhere in the Overview shows that the Athenian agricultural economy was reviving. When the population of Attica apparently expanded at a phenomenal rate during the century from about 800 to 700 B.C., the free peasants constituted the fastest-growing segment of the population as economic conditions improved in the early Archaic Age. These small agricultural producers apparently began to insist on having a say in making Athenian policies because they felt justice demanded at least a limited form of political equality. Some of these modest land owners became wealthy enough afford to afford hoplite55 armor, and these men probably made strong demands on the aristocrats who had previously ruled Athens as what amounted to a relatively broad oligarchy56. Rivalries among the aristocrats for status and material wealth prevented them from presenting a united front, and they had to respond to these pressures to insure the allegiance of the hoplites, on whom depended Athenian military strength.

The Beginnings of Athenian Democracy

By the late seventh century B.C., Athens' male citizens rich, middle-class, and poor had established the first beginnings of a limited form of democratic government57. Determining why they moved toward democracy instead of, for example, toward a narrow oligarchy like that of Sparta remains a difficult problem. Two factors perhaps encouraging the emergence of the Athenian polis as an incipient democracy were rapid population growth and a rough sense of egalitarianism among male citizens that survived from the frontier-like conditions of the early Dark Age, when most people had shared the same meager existence. These same factors, however, do not necessarily differentiate Athens from other city-states that did not evolve into democracies because the same conditions pertained across the Greek world in the Archaic Age. Perhaps population growth was so rapid among Athenian peasants that they had greater power than at other places to demand a share in governing. Their power and political coherence was evident, for example, in about 632 B.C. when they rallied “from the fields in a body” to foil the attempted coup of an Athenian nobleman named Cylon58. A former champion in the Olympics and married to a daughter of Theagenes, tyrant of Megara, Cylon and some of his aristocratic friends had planned to install a tyranny. Athens also had some influential aristocrats like Solon and Cleisthenes who worked to strengthen Athenian democracy for differing reasons.

The Institutions of Incipient Democracy

The scanty evidence seems to indicate that by the seventh century all free-born adult male citizens of Athens had the right to attend open meetings, in a body called the assembly59 (ekklesia ), which elected nine magistrates called archons (rulers) each year. The archons, still all aristocrats in this early period, headed the government60 and rendered verdicts in disputes and criminal accusations. As they had earlier, aristocrats at this time still dominated Athenian political life by using their influence to secure election as archons , perhaps by marshaling their traditional bands of followers as supporters and by making alliances with other aristocrats. The right of middle-class and poor men to serve as members of the assembly as yet had only limited value because little business besides the election of archons was conducted in its gatherings, which probably met rarely in this period and then only when the current archons decided the time was right.

The Laws of Draco

Aristocratic political alliances often proved temporary in Athenian politics, as elsewhere, and rivalries among aristocrats jealous of each other's status continued under early Athenian democracy. In the aftermath of Cylon's attempted tyranny, an Athenian named Draco was appointed in 621 B.C., perhaps after pressure by the hoplites, to establish a code of laws promoting stability and equity. Unfortunately, Draco's laws61 somehow further destabilized the political situation; the Athenians later remembered them as having been as harsh as the meaning of his name (drakon, “dragon, serpent”), and our word Draconian, meaning excessively severe, reflects this view. A deterioration in the well-being of Athens's free peasants, which had been slowly building for a long time, also further undermined social peace. Later Athenians did not know what had caused this economic crisis, only that it pitted the rich against the middle-class and the poor.62

Economic Crisis and Subsistence Agriculture

One cause of the economic crisis that plagued Athens in the later seventh century around the time of Draco63 may have been that the precariousness of agriculture in this period could sometimes lead to the gradual accumulation of the available farm land in the hands of fewer and fewer people. In subsistence agriculture, the level at which many Athenian farmers operated, a lean year could mean starvation. Moreover, farmers lacked any easy method to convert the surplus of a good year into imperishable capital, such as coined money, which could be then be stored up to offset bad years in the future, because coinage was not even invented until late in the seventh-century B.C.64 in Lydia in Anatolia and took a long time to become common in Greece. Failed farmers had to borrow food and seed to survive. When they could borrow no more, they had to leave their land to find a job to support their families, most likely by laboring for successful farmers. Under these conditions, farmers who became more effective than others, or simply more fortunate, could acquire the use and even the ownership of the land of failed farmers. In any case, many poor Athenians had apparently lost control of their land to wealthier proprietors by the late seventh century. The crisis became so acute that impoverished peasants were even being sold into slavery to pay off debts65. Finally, twenty-five years after Draco's legislation, conditions had become so acute that a civil war threatened to break out.

The Reforms of Solon

In desperation, the Athenians in 594 B.C. gave Solon special authority to revise their laws66 to deal with the economic crisis and its dire social consequences that had brought their society to the brink of internecine war. As he explains in his autobiographical poetry, Solon tried to steer a middle course67 between the demands of the rich to preserve their financial advantages and the call of the poor for a redistribution of land to themselves from the holdings of the large landowners. His famous “shaking off of obligations”68 somehow freed those farms whose ownership had become formally encumbered without, however, actually redistributing any land. He also forbade the selling of Athenians into slavery for debt and secured the liberation of citizens who had become slaves69 in this way, commemorating his success in the verses he wrote about his reforms: “To Athens, their home established by the gods, I brought back many who had been sold into slavery, some justly, some not ...”70

Attempting to balance political power between rich and poor, , Solon ranked male citizens into four classes according to their income71: “five-hundred-measure men” (pentakosiomedimnoi , those with an annual income equivalent to that much agricultural produce), “horsemen” (hippeis , income of three hundred measures), “yoked men” (zeugitai , two hundred measures), and “laborers” (thetes, less than two hundred measures). The higher a man's class, the higher the governmental office for which he was eligible, with the laborer class barred from all posts. Solon did reaffirm the right of this class to participate in the assembly (ekklesia ), however. Solon probably created a council (boule) of four hundred72 men to prepare an agenda for the discussions in the assembly, although some scholars place this innovation later than Solon's time. Aristocrats could not dominate the council's deliberations because its members were chosen by lot, probably only from the top three income classes. Solon may also have initiated a schedule of regular meetings for the assembly. These reforms gave added impetus to the assembly's legislative role and thus indirectly laid a foundation for the political influence that the “laborer” (thete ) class would gradually acquire over the next century and a half.

Solon and Democracy

Despite the restriction on office holding by the lowest income class, Solon's classification scheme supported further development of conditions leading to democracy because it allowed for upward social mobility: if a man managed to increase his income, he could move up the scale of eligibility for office. The absence of direct taxes on income made it easier for entrepreneurial citizens to better their lot. From Solon's reforms, Athenian male citizens gained a political and social system far more open to individual initiative and change than that of Sparta.

Equally important to restoring stability in a time of acute crisis was Solon's ruling that any male citizen could bring charges on a wide variety of offenses against wrongdoers on behalf of any victim of a crime.73 Furthermore, he provided for the right of appeal74 to the assembly by persons who believed a magistrate had rendered unjust judgments against them. With these two measures, Solon made the administration of justice the concern of ordinary citizens and not just of still predominately aristocratic magistrates. He balanced these judicial reforms favoring the people, however, by granting broader powers to the “Council which meets on the Hill of the god of war Ares,” the Areopagus (meaning “Ares' hill”). Archons became members of the Areopagus75 after their year in office. This body of ex-archons could, if the members chose, exercise great power because at this period it judged the most serious judicial cases, in particular accusations against archons themselves. Solon probably also expected the Areopagus to use its power to protect his reforms.

Opposition to Democracy

For its place and time, Athens' emerging democracy was remarkable, even at this early stage in its development, because it granted all male citizens the possibility of participating meaningfully in the making of laws and the administration of justice. But not everyone found the system admirable. A visiting foreign king is reputed to have expressed the scornful opinion that he found Athenian democracy ludicrous.76 Observing the procedure in the Athenian assembly, he expressed his amazement that leading aristocratic politicians could only recommend policy in their speeches, while the male citizens as a whole voted on what to do: “I find it astonishing,” he remarked, “that here wise men speak on public affairs, while fools decide them.” Some Athenians who agreed with the king that aristocrats were wise and the poor foolish did their best to undermine Solon's reforms77 after their creation in 594 B.C., and such oligarchic sympathizers continued to challenge Athenian democracy at intervals throughout its history.

Tyranny at Athens

Strife among aristocrats, combined with the continuing discontent of the poorest Athenians, lay behind the period of strife in the mid-sixth century following Solon's reforms that led to Athens' first tyranny. At this time an Athenian aristocrat named Pisistratus78 began a violent effort to make himself sole ruler with the help of his upper-class friends and the poor, whose interests he championed. He finally established himself securely as tyrant at Athens in 546 B.C. Pisistratus made funds available to help peasants acquire needed farm equipment and provided employment for poorer men while benefiting Athens by building roads and initiating major public works, such as a great temple to Zeus and fountains to increase the supply of drinking water. The tax that he imposed on agricultural production79, one of the rare instances of direct taxation in Athenian history, financed the loans to farmers and the building projects. He also arranged for judicial officials to go on circuits through the outlying villages of Attica to hear cases, thus saving farmers the trouble of having to leave their fields to seek justice in Athens, the urban center of the polis. Like the earlier tyrants of Corinth, he promoted the economic, cultural, and architectural development of Athens. Athenian pottery, for example, now began to crowd out Corinthian in the export trade.

Hippias80, the eldest son of Pisistratus, continued the tyranny after his father's death in 527 B.C. He governed by making certain that his relatives and friends occupied magistracies, but for a time he also allowed his aristocratic rivals to hold office, thereby defusing some of the tension created by their jealousy of his superior status. Eventually, however, the aristocratic family of the Alcmaeonids arranged to have the Spartans send an army to expel Hippias.81

The Struggle between Isagoras and Cleisthenes

In the ensuing vacuum of power at Athens after the expulsion of the tyrant Hippias, the leading member of the aristocratic Alcmaeonid family, a man named Cleisthenes, sought support among the masses by promising dramatic democratic reforms. The promise of such reforms seems to have been a response to the success of Cleisthenes' bitterest rival, Isagoras, an aristocrat from a different family, in becoming archon in 508 B.C. Cleisthenes had apparently despaired of winning political success other than by appealing to the non-aristocratic masses at Athens. When Isagoras tried to block Cleisthenes' reforms82 by calling in the Spartans again, the Athenian people united to force Isagoras and his Laconian allies out83. The ensuing conflict between Athens and Sparta ended quickly but sowed the seeds of mutual distrust between the two city-states.

The Democratic Reforms of Cleisthenes

His popular support gave Cleisthenes the authority to begin to install the democratic system for which Athens has become famous, and the importance of his reforms84 led later Athenians to think of him as a principal founder of their democracy. First, he made the pre-existing villages of the countryside and the neighborhoods of the city of Athens (both called “demes85,” demoi ) the constituent units of Athenian political organization. Organized in their demes, the male citizens participated directly in the running of their government: they kept track in deme registers of which males were citizens and therefore eligible at eighteen to attend the assembly to vote on laws and public policies. The demes in turn were grouped for other administrative functions into ten so-called tribes (phylai ), replacing an earlier division into four tribes. Cleisthenic democracy used its ten tribes for purposes such as choosing fifty representatives by lot from each tribe to serve for one year on the council (boule ) of five hundred, which replaced Solon's council of four hundred. The number of representatives from each deme was proportional to its population. Athenian men were also called up for service in the citizen militia by tribal affiliation. Most importantly, the ten men who served each year as “generals” (strategoi ), the officials with the highest civil and military authority, were elected one from each tribe. Cleisthenes' reorganization was complex, but its general aim seems to have been to undermine existing political alliances among aristocrats in the interests of greater democracy.

Persuasion and Cleisthenic Democracy

By about 500 B.C. Cleisthenes had succeeded in devising an Athenian democracy based on direct participation by as many adult male citizens as possible. That he could put such a system in place successfully in a time of turmoil and have it endure, as it did, means that he must have been building on pre-existing conditions favorable to democracy. Certainly, as an aristocrat looking for popular support, Cleisthenes had reason to invent the kind of system he thought ordinary people wanted. That he based his system on the demes, the great majority of which were country villages, suggests that some conditions favoring democracy may have stemmed from the traditions of village life. Possibly, the notion of wide-spread participation in government gained support from the custom village residents often have of dealing with each other on relatively egalitarian terms. That is, each man in a village is entitled to his say in running local affairs and must persuade, not compel, others of the wisdom of his recommendations. Since many aristocrats increasingly seem to have preferred to reside in the city, their ability to dominate discussion in the demes was reduced. In any case, the idea that persuasion86, rather than force or status, should constitute the mechanism for political decision-making in the emerging Athenian democracy fit well with the spirit of the intellectual changes which were taking place during the late Archaic Age. That is, the idea that people had to present plausible reasons for their recommendations corresponded to one of the period's new ways of thought. This development has proved one of the most influential legacies of Greek civilization.

Lyric poetry

Poetry represented the only form of Greek literature until the late Archaic Age. The earliest Greek poetry, that of Homer and Hesiod, had been confined to a single rhythm. A much greater rhythmic diversity characterized the new form of poetry, called lyric, that emerged during the Archaic Age. (These texts are not yet available to Perseus.) Lyric poems were far shorter than the narrative poetry of Homer or the didactic poetry of Hesiod, and they encompassed many forms and subjects, but they were always performed with the accompaniment of the lyre87 (a kind of harp that gives its name to the poetry). Choral poets like Alcman88 of Sparta wrote songs to be performed by groups on public occasions to honor the gods, to celebrate famous events in a city-state's history, for wedding processions, and to praise victors in athletic contests. Lyric poets writing songs for solo performance on social occasions stressed a personal level of expression on a variety of topics. Solon and Alcaeus89, for example, wrote poems focused on contemporary politics. Others self-consciously adopted a critical attitude toward traditional values such as strength in war. For instance, Sappho90, a lyric poet from Lesbos born about 630 B.C. and famous for her poems on love, wrote, “Some would say the most beautiful thing on our dark earth is an army of cavalry, others of infantry, others of ships, but I say it's whatever a person loves.” In this poem Sappho was expressing her longing for a woman she loved, who was now far away. Archilochus91 of Paros, whose lifetime probably fell in the early seventh century, became famous for his range of poems on themes as diverse as friends lost at sea, mockery of martial valor, and love gone astray. The bitter power of his poetic invective reportedly caused a father and his two daughters to commit suicide when Archilochus ridiculed them in anger after the father had put an end to Archilochus's affair with his daughter Neobule. Some modern literary critics think the poems about Neobule and her family are fictional, not autobiographical, and were meant to display Archilochus's dazzling talent for “blame poetry,” the mirror image of lyric as the poetry of praise. Mimnermus of Colophon92, another seventh century lyric poet, rhapsodized about the glory of youth and lamented its brevity, “no longer than the time the sun shines on the plain.” Lyric poetry's focus on the individual's feelings represented a new stage in Greek literary sensibilities, one that continues to inspire poets.

The Ionian Thinkers

Thinkers usually referred to today as philosophers, but who could equally well be described as theoretical scientists studying the physical world, gave impetus to new ways of thinking in the late Archaic age. These thinkers, who came from the city-states of Ionia93 along the eastern Aegean coast, were developing radically new explanations of the world of human beings and its relation to the world of the gods. In this way began the study of philosophy in Greece. Ionia's geographical location next to the non-Greek civilizations of Anatolia, which were in contact with the older civilizations of Egypt and the Near East, meant Ionian thinkers were in a position to acquire knowledge and intellectual inspiration from their neighbors94 in the eastern Mediterranean area. Since Greece in this period had no formal schools at any level, thinkers like those from Ionia had to make their ideas known by teaching pupils privately and giving public lectures. They also used writing to record their doctrines, and some of them developed prose in Greek to express their new ways of thought. Some Ionian thinkers composed poetry as well to explain their theories and gave public recitations of their works. People who studied with these thinkers or heard their presentations would then help to spread knowledge of the new ideas.

Near Eastern Influence on the Ionian Thinkers

Knowledge from the ancient Near East influenced the Ionian thinkers, just as it had influenced Greek artists of the Archaic Age. Greek vase painters and specialists in decorating metal vessels imitated Near Eastern designs depicting animals and luxuriant plants; Greek sculptors produced narrative reliefs like those of Assyria and statues with the stiff, frontal poses familiar from Egyptian precedents; Egypt also gave inspiration to Greek architects to employ stone for columns, ornamental details, and, eventually, entire buildings. In a similar process of the transfer of knowledge from east to west, information about the regular movements of the stars and planets developed by astronomers in Babylonia proved especially important in helping Ionian thinkers reach their conclusions about the nature of the physical world. The first of the Ionian theorists, Thales95 (c. 625 - 545 B.C.) from the city-state of Miletus96, was said to have predicted a solar eclipse in 585 B.C., an accomplishment implying he had been influenced by Babylonian learning. Modern astronomers doubt Thales actually could have predicted an eclipse, but the story shows how influential eastern scientific and mathematical knowledge was to the thinkers of Ionia. Working from knowledge such as the observed fact that celestial bodies moved in a regular pattern, scientific thinkers like Thales and Anaximander97 (c. 610- 540 B.C.), also from Miletus, drew the revolutionary conclusion that the physical world was regulated by a set of laws of nature rather than by the arbitrary intervention of divine beings. Pythagoras98, who emigrated from Samos to south Italy about 530 B.C., taught that the entire world was explicable through numbers. His doctrines inspired systematic study of mathematics and the numerical aspects of musical harmony.

The Cosmos and Logos

The Ionian thinkers insisted that the workings of the universe could be explained because the phenomena of nature were neither random nor arbitrary. The universe, the totality of things, they named cosmos 99 because this word meant an orderly arrangement that is beautiful (hence our word “cosmetic”). The order characteristic of the cosmos, perceived as lovely because it was ordered, encompassed not only the motions of the heavenly bodies but also everything else: the weather, the growth of plants and animals, human health and psychology, and so on. Since the universe was ordered, it was intelligible; since it was intelligible, explanations of events could be discovered by thought and research. The thinkers who conceived this view believed it necessary to give reasons for their conclusions and to persuade others by arguments based on evidence. They believed, in other words, in logic (a word derived from the Greek term logos 100 meaning, among other things, a reasoned explanation). This way of thought based on reason represented a crucial first step toward science and philosophy as these disciplines endure today. The rule-based view of the causes of events and physical phenomena developed by these thinkers contrasted sharply with the traditional mythological view of causation. Naturally, many people had difficulty accepting such a startling change in their understanding of the world, and the older tradition explaining events as the work of gods lived on alongside the new ideas.

The ideas of the Ionian thinkers probably spread slowly because no means of mass communication existed, and few men could afford to spend the time to become followers of these thinkers and then return home to explain these new ways of thought to others. Magic101 remained an important preoccupation in the lives of the majority of ordinary people, who retained their notions that gods and demons frequently and directly affected their fortunes and health as well as the events of nature. Despite their perhaps limited immediate effect on the ancient world at large, the Ionian thinkers had initiated a tremendously important development in intellectual history: the separation of scientific thinking from myth and religion. Some modern scholars call this development the birth of rationalism, but it would be unfair to label myths and religious ways of thought as irrational if that term is taken to mean “unthinking” or “silly.” Ancient people realized that their lives were constantly subject to forces beyond their control and understanding, and it was not unreasonable to attribute supernatural origins to the powers of nature or the ravages of disease. The new scientific ways of thought insisted, however, that observable evidence had to be sought and theories of explanation had to be logical. Just being old or popular no longer bestowed veracity on a story purporting to explain natural phenomena. In this way, the Ionian thinkers parted company with the traditional ways of thinking of the ancient Near East as found in its rich mythology and repeated in the myths of early Greece.

Rational Thinking

Developing the view that people must give reasons to explain what they believe to be true, rather than just make assertions that they expect others to believe without evidence, was the most important achievement of the early Ionian thinkers. Along with the invention of democracy based on citizenship, their achievement gave real distinction to the Greek Archaic Age. The insistence of the Ionian thinkers on rationality, coupled with the belief that the world could be understood as something other than the plaything of divine whim, gave human beings hope that they could improve their lives through their own efforts. As Xenophanes102 from Colophon103 (c. 580 - 480 B.C.), put it, “The gods have not revealed all things from the beginning to mortals, but, by seeking, human beings find out, in time, what is better.” Xenophanes, like other Ionian thinkers, believed in the existence of gods, but he nevertheless assigned the opportunity and the responsibility for improving human life squarely to human beings themselves. Human beings themselves were to “find what is better.”

1 Xen. Const. Lac. 1.1

2 Sparta [Site], Perseus Encyclopedia entry for Laconia, Perseus Encyclopedia entry for Spartans,

3 Paus. 3.21.6, References to Gythium

4 Thuc. 1.10.2

5 Paus. 3.2.6, TRM OV 3.2

6 Paus. 3.1.1 ff on Sparta's early history

7 Thuc. 2.15.1

8 Hdt. 6.52, Xen. Const. Lac. 13.1

9 Dem. 20.107, Aristot. Pol. 2.1270b 24

10 Xen. Const. Lac. 8.3-4

11 Xen. Const. Lac. 15.6-7

12 Hdt. 1.65.2, Xen. Const. Lac. 1.2

13 Xen. Const. Lac. 1.2

14 Hdt. 6.58.2, Strab. 8.5.4

15 References to helots

16 Thuc. 4.80.2

17 Perseus Encyclopedia entry for Messenia

18 Paus. 4.4.4, References to Messenians

19 Paus. 4.9.6, References to Aristodemus

20 Paus. 4.14.4

21 Xen. Const. Lac. 2.1

22 Plat. Laws 633b

23 Xen. Hell. 3.3.5, Xen. Const. Lac. 13.1

24 Hdt. 1.65.5, Xen. Const. Lac. 5.2

25 Xen. Const. Lac. 6.1-2

26 Xen. Const. Lac. 1.4

27 Aristot. Pol. 2.1270a

28 Xen. Const. Lac. 7.5

29 Plat. Laws 780b

30 TRM OV 6.11

31 Plat. Laws 780b, Aristot. Pol. 2.1270a

32 Xen. Const. Lac. 1.5

33 Aristot. Pol. 2.1269b 7

34 Xen. Const. Lac. 1.7

35 TRM OV 6.11

36 Hdt. 7.104.4

37 TRM OV 5.18, Hdt. 3.53.3 on Periander's dynasty, Hdt. 5.92B.1 ff on rise of Cypselus of Corinth, Thuc. 1.13 on rise of tyrannies, Thuc. 1.17 on his view of tyrants

38 Hdt. 1.59.6, Thuc. 6.54.5, Aristot. Ath. Pol. 16.2


Corinth [Site], Corinthian pottery, Corinthian coins, Paus. 2.2.6, Thuc. 1.13.5 on Corinth, Perseus Encyclopedia entry for Corinth, References to Corinth

40 TRM OV 5.11, Strab. 8.6.20

41 Thuc. 1.13.2

42 Hdt. 5.92

43 Corcyra [Site], Hdt. 3.49.1, References to Corcyra

44 Syracuse [Site], Syracusan coins, Paus. 5.7.2, Strab. 8.6.22, References to Syracuse

45 Perseus Encyclopedia entry for Cypselus

46 Hdt. 5.92f.1

47 Hdt. 3.39.1

48 Thuc. 1.115.2, revolt of Samos in Plut. Per. 24.1, Photos of Samos

49 Samos, Great Hera Temple [Building], Hdt. 3.60.1

50 Hdt. 7.153.1

51 Hdt. 1.65.2

52 Thuc. 2.15.2, Plut. Thes. 3.1

53 Apollod. 3.1.4, Plut. Thes. 15.2-16, References to the Minotaur, Minotaur on Vases

RISD 25.083 [Vase], [Vase], Delphi, Athenian Treasury Metopes [Sculpture]

54 TRM OV 4.3

55 TRM OV 5.16

56 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 3, Plut. Thes. 32.1

57 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 3-4, Plut. Thes. 24.2

58 Hdt. 5.71, Thuc. 1.126.3

59 Aristoph. Ach. 19

60 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 3, Plut. Thes. 24.2

61 Aristot. Pol. 2.1274b, Aristot. Ath. Pol. 4, Plut. Sol. 17.1

62 Plut. Sol. 13.2

63 TRM OV 6.22

64 Hdt. 1.94.1

65 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 5-6, Plut. Sol. 13.2

66 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 5-12, Plut. Sol. 15-25

67 Plut. Sol. 15.1

68 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 6.1, Plut. Sol. 15.3

69 Plut. Sol. 15.5

70 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 12.4

71 Aristot. Ath. Pol. .3-4, Plut. Sol. 18.1-2

72 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 8.4, Plut. Sol. 19.1

73 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 9.1, Plut. Sol. 18.5

74 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 9.1, Plut. Sol. 18.2

75 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 3.6, Plut. Sol. 19.1

76 Plut. Sol. 5.3

77 Aristot. Ath. Pol. 12.5-13.1, Plut. Sol. 29.1

78 Hdt. 1.59-1.64, Aristot. Ath. Pol. 14-16, Perseus Encyclopedia entry for Pisistratus, Other references to Pisistratus

79 Thuc. 6.54.5-6

80 Thuc. 6.55.1, Other references to Hippias

81 Hdt. 5.62, Thuc. 6.59.4

82 Hdt. 5.66.1, Aristot. Ath. Pol. 20

83 Hdt. 5.72

84 Hdt. 5.66.2, Aristot. Ath. Pol. 21-22.2

85 Hdt. 5.69.2

86 Plat. Gorg. 454b, Plat. Apol. 17a, Aesch. Eum. 970

87 Hdt. 1.24.5, Perseus Encyclopedia entry for lyres, Boston 13.194 [Vase], Lyres on vases

88 Paus. 3.15.2

89 Hdt. 5.95

90 Hdt. 2.135.1, Strab. 10.2.9 C 452

91 Hdt. 1.12.2

92 Strab. 14.1.28 C 643

93 TRM OV 3.1

94 Hdt. 2.109.3, Plat. Laws 819a

95 Hdt. 1.170.3, Hdt. 1.74.2, Hdt. 1.75.3, Strab. 14.1.7 C 635

96 Miletus [Site]

97 References to Anaximander

98 Hdt. 4.95.1, Plat. Rep. 600b

99 Plat. Gorg. 508a, Greek dictionary entry for cosmos

100 Plat. Crito 46b, Plat. Laws 714d, Greek dictionary entry for logos

101 Hom. Od. 10.210, Hes. Th. 418, Aristoph. Cl. 749, Plat. Laws 933b

102 Plat. Soph. 242d

103 References to Colophon

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Gytheion (Greece) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (134 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (134):
    • Aeschylus, Eumenides, 970
    • Pseudo-Apollodorus, Library, 3.1.4
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 12.4
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 12.5
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 14
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 16.2
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 20
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 21
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 3
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 3.6
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 4
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 5
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 6.1
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 8.4
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 9.1
    • Aristotle, Politics, 2.1269b
    • Aristotle, Politics, 2.1270a
    • Aristotle, Politics, 2.1270b
    • Aristotle, Politics, 2.1274b
    • Demosthenes, Against Leptines, 107
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.12.2
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.170.3
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.24.5
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.59
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.59.6
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.65.2
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.65.5
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.74.2
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.75.3
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.94.1
    • Herodotus, Histories, 2.109.3
    • Herodotus, Histories, 2.135.1
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.39.1
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.49.1
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.53.3
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.60.1
    • Herodotus, Histories, 4.95.1
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.62
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.66.1
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.66.2
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.69.2
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.71
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.72
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.92
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.92b
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.92f
    • Herodotus, Histories, 5.95
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.52
    • Herodotus, Histories, 6.58.2
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.104.4
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.153.1
    • Hesiod, Theogony, 418
    • Homer, Odyssey, 10.210
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.2.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.15.2
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.1.1
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.21.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.2.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4.14.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4.4.4
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4.9.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.7.2
    • Plato, Laws, 633b
    • Plato, Laws, 714d
    • Plato, Laws, 780b
    • Plato, Laws, 819a
    • Plato, Laws, 933b
    • Plato, Republic, 600b
    • Plato, Apology, 17a
    • Plato, Crito, 46b
    • Plato, Sophist, 242d
    • Plato, Gorgias, 454b
    • Plato, Gorgias, 508a
    • Strabo, Geography, 10.2.9
    • Strabo, Geography, 14.1.28
    • Strabo, Geography, 14.1.7
    • Strabo, Geography, 8.5.4
    • Strabo, Geography, 8.6.20
    • Strabo, Geography, 8.6.22
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.10.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.115.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.126.3
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.13
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.13.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.13.5
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.17
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.15.1
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.15.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 4.80.2
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.54.5
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.55.1
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.59.4
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.3.5
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 13.1
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 15.6
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 1.1
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 1.2
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 1.4
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 1.5
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 1.7
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 2.1
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 5.2
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 6.1
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 7.5
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 8.3
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 19
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 749
    • Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 3.1
    • Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 3.2
    • Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 4.3
    • Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 5.11
    • Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 5.16
    • Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 5.18
    • Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 6.11
    • Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 6.22
    • Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, ko/smos
    • Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, lo/gos
    • Plutarch, Pericles, 24.1
    • Plutarch, Solon, 13.2
    • Plutarch, Solon, 15
    • Plutarch, Solon, 15.1
    • Plutarch, Solon, 15.3
    • Plutarch, Solon, 15.5
    • Plutarch, Solon, 17.1
    • Plutarch, Solon, 18.1
    • Plutarch, Solon, 18.2
    • Plutarch, Solon, 18.5
    • Plutarch, Solon, 19.1
    • Plutarch, Solon, 29.1
    • Plutarch, Solon, 5.3
    • Plutarch, Theseus, 15.2
    • Plutarch, Theseus, 24.2
    • Plutarch, Theseus, 32.1
    • Plutarch, Theseus, 3.1
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: