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HOMOEI (ὅμοιοι), the Equals, were those Spartans who possessed the full rights of citizenship, and are opposed to the ὑπομείονες or those whose position was in some degree subordinate (Xen. Rep. Lac. 10, § 7; Hell. 3.3.5; Aristot. Pol. 5.7.2 = p. 1306 b, 30 ; cf. p. 1308 a, 12). This distinction seems to have rested not so much upon law as upon custom: the state of the case is well put by Schömann (Antiq. 1.217 E. T.): “As far as legal right was concerned, all Spartiatae, rich and poor, cultivated and uncultivated, formed a body of citizens in the possession of equal rights, a demos of ὅμοιοι, which, in contrast with the subject classes of Perioeci and Helots, represented a ruling and privileged nobility. But within this ennobled demos of ὅμοιοι again there were two distinct classes,--a minority of rich, influential, and cultured citizens, who to a certain extent claimed a kind of superior nobility, and a majority of poor and uncultivated members, who, though equal in the eye of the law, were in reality in an inferior position,” and might be described in contrast to them as ὑπομείονες or subordinate. The distinction appears to have grown up in later times, as it is not mentioned by any writer before Xenophon: when Aristotle, in the passage just referred to, speaks of the Partheniae as belonging to the Homoei, he probably commits an anachronism. The requisites for full Spartan citizenship, which did not begin before the age of thirty, were (1) ascertained Spartiate birth, (2) education on the Spartan system and a life in conformity with it, (3) payment of subscriptions to the syssitia. Whoever failed in any one of these particulars was excluded from the Homoei. In the institutions ascribed to Lycurgus, every citizen had a certain portion of land: the impoverishment of many through the loss of their lands seems to have been the chief cause of the dangerous discontents which prevailed after the Peloponnesian war, and showed themselves in the conspiracy of Cinadon (ὅρος δὲ τῆς πολιτείας οὗτός ἐστιν αὐτοῖς πάτριος, τὸν μὴ δυνάμενον τοῦτο τὸ τέλος φέρειν [i. e. the syssitia] μὴ μετέχειν αὐτῆς, Aristot. Pol. 2.6.21 = p. 1271 a, 35). Other passages show the insistence upon the Spartan training, and the disqualification attached to a self-indulgent or cowardly neglect of it (Xen. Rep. Lac. l.c.; Plut. Inst. Lac. 21, p. 238 E; Teles ap. Stob. Floril. xl. p. 233). Plutarch here tells us that some say (ἔνιοί φασιν) that ξένοι who underwent the Spartan discipline, “according to the intention of Lycurgus,” were accounted citizens; a vague statement, which is contradicted by all we know of the real facts of the Spartan constitution. The Homoei were probably represented in the select bodies called ἔκκλητοι and μικρὰ ἐκκλησία [ECCLETI]; the contention of Thumser that the ὑπομείονες had no share in the popular assembly (ἁλία or ἀπέλλα) is contrary to the general opinion of scholars, as he himself admits. The Homoei, however, gradually obtained possession of almost all political power. Kopstadt (ap. Gilbert, 1.42 n.) thinks that the Homoei alone were enrolled in the three genealogical tribes, the Γ̔λλεῖς, Δυμᾶνες, and Πάμφυλοι, the ὑπομείονες in the local tribes only [GEROUSIA p. 914 a]. (Schömann, Antiq. 1.217-221 E. T.; Gilbert, Staatsalterth. 1.41 f.; Busolt, Die Laked. u. ihre Bundesgenossen, 1.18; Griech. Gesch. 1.116; Thumser, Staatsalterth. p. 170 in Hermann-Blümner.)

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  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Aristotle, Politics, 2.1271a
    • Aristotle, Politics, 5.1306b
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 10
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