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HYPE´RETES

HYPE´RETES (ὑπηρέτης). The word is derived from ἐρέσσω, ἐρέτης, and therefore originally signifies a rower; but in later times the word was applied to the entire crew of a vessel, as distinct from the ἐπιβάται, soldiers or marines (Thuc. 6.31, with Classen's note; Dern. c. Polycl. p. 1214.25; Plb. 5.109.1). Sometimes, again, the ὑπηρέται or ὑπηρεσία are distinguished from the ναῦται (Dem. c. Polycl. p. 1216.30; Boeckh, P. E. p. 280=Sthh.3 1.349; P. E. p. 552 = Sthh.3 1.641). Thus, in the Peloponnesian war the Athenian government had paid the wages of all on board (P. E. p. 275 = Sthh.3 1.344); but in the time of Demosthenes the state paid only the ναῦται, while the trierarchs had to find and pay the ὑπηρεσία (Dem. de Cor. Trier. p. 1229.6; Fränkel, n. 859 on Boeckh). The name ὑπηρέται was also given to those men by whom the hoplitae were accompanied when they took the field, and who carried: the luggage, the provisions, and the shield of the hoplites (Xen. Cyrop. 2.1, § 31). The more [p. 1.986]common name for this servant of the hoplites was σκευοφόρος (Boeckh, P. E. p. 271=Sthh.3 1.339).

At Athens the name ὑπηρέτης, or the abstract ὑπηρεσία, seems to have been applied to a whole class of officers. Aristotle (Aristot. Pol. 4.15 =p. 1299 a, 20) divides all public offices into three classes,--ἀρχαὶ or magistracies, ἐπιμέλειαι or administrations, and ὑπηρεσίαι or services. Now all public officers at Athens, in as far as they were the representatives of the people, or the executors of its will, were appointed by the people itself or by the senate; and with the exception of some subaltern military officers, we never find that one public officer was appointed by another. A public officer, therefore, when he appointed another person to perform the lower or more mechanical parts of his office, could not raise him to the rank of a public officer, but merely engaged him as a servant (ὑπηρέτης), and on his own responsibility. These ὑπηρέται, therefore, were not public officers, properly speaking, but only in as far as they took a part in the functions of such officers. The original and characteristic difference between them and real public officers was, that the former received salaries, while the latter had none (Boeckh, P. E. p. 239=Sthh.3 1.304). Among the ὑπηρέται were reckoned the lower classes of scribes [GRAMMATEUS], heralds, messengers, the ministers of the Eleven [HENDECA], and others. This class of persons, as might be supposed, did not enjoy any high degree of estimation at Athens (Pollux, 6.31), and it is clear that they were not always Athenian citizens, but sometimes slaves. [DEMOSII] (Cf. Schömann, Assemblies, p. 307 ff.; Antiq. Jur. Publ. p. 235 f.; Antiq. 1.400, E. T.)

Other senses of ὑπηρέτης are sufficiently explained in the Lexicons.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Aristotle, Politics, 4.1299a
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.31
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 2.1
    • Polybius, Histories, 5.109.1
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