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Listed 100 (total found 147) sub titles with search on: Information about the place  for wider area of: "ATHENS Prefectural seat ATTIKI" .

Information about the place (147)



KIRIADES (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Deme of the Hippothoontis or the Oeneis tribe.


It is positioned within the city of Athens, and more accurately to the N & NE slope of the Acropolis.

Beazley Archive Dictionary


ATHENS (Ancient city) GREECE



FLYA (Ancient demos) CHALANDRI
The ancient deme of Phlya extended to the modern municipalities of Chalandri, Agia Paraskevi, Glyka Nera and Paiania.

Commercial WebSites - Notable

Psirri Online

PSYRI (City quarter) ATHENS
The creation of PSIRRI ONLINE is an initiative by the people who work or maintain a business in the PSIRRI area, one of Athens' most historic and beautiful neighbourhoods. An initiative which aims to promote the cultural, artistic and commercial value of an area which is being rapidly being transformed into one of the most attractive locations of the Greek capital, mainly through the efforts of the people who live and work in this landmark neighbourhood.

Commercial WebSites

Educational institutions WebPages

The Ancient City of Athens

ATHENS (Ancient city) GREECE
All of the images presented here are from the personal slide collection of Kevin T. Glowacki and Nancy L. Klein of the Department of Classical Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington



AGRYLI (Ancient demos) ATHENS
At first it belonged to the Erechteid tribe. From 306 BC it belonged to the Antigonis tribe and since 200 BC to the Attalis tribe. It was located at Ardettus and up to Hymettus.

CHOLARGOS (Ancient demos) ATTIKI
It was probably located to the west of Cephisus, near the region of Kamatero and Liosia of today. The name of the ancient deme was given to the Cholargos of today by mistake (Papyrus-Larousse-Britannika encyclopedia).


The ancient deme is located beyond Cephisus river, to the northwest of Athens.


GEFYREI (Ancient demos) ATTIKI
The ancient deme was located near Iera Odos at the point where it crossed Cephisus river. There, there was a bridge, from which the Athenians crossed after their return from celebrating the Eleusinian Mysteries at Eleusis.


KILI (Ancient demos) ATHENS
The ancient deme was located between Pnyka and the hill of the Muses (Philopappou hill).


KOLLYTOS (Ancient demos) ATHENS
The ancient deme was probably located to the south of Agora.


LAKIA (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Its ancient location northwest to Cerameikos beside the Sacred Road leading to Eleusis. According to Pausanias its name derives from the heroe Lacius, according to Stephanos Byzantios from the name of the location Lakia.


LOUSSIA (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Its ancient location within modern Athens, belonging to the tribe Iniis, located in the beginning of the Holy Road.


MELITI (Ancient demos) ATHENS
It belonged to the city of Athens and its position was between the Acropolis and the hill of the Muses (today's Philopappou hill).

Oie (Oa & Oe)

OIE (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Its position was above the shrine of Pythios Apollon, west to Aegaleo mountain, north to Poikilo mountain and east to the city of Athens. According to ancient inscriptions the inhabitants belonged at first to Pandiodis and later to Andrianis tribe.

Pergassai, Pergasse

Aristophanes (Hippeis 321) gives us the information that Pergasse was on the road from the city of Athens to Aphidna. This combined with some inscriptions led the researchers to locate Pergasse to the West or North of Cephissia.


PILIKES (Ancient demos) EGALEO
Belonging to the tribe of Leontis, it was probably situated to the north of Athens, on the west side of Aegaleo and more spesifically in the area between Aegaleo and Parnitha mountain. It consisted "tricomia" along with the demes of Cropiae and Euporides.


It was located in the north-west side of the walls of Athens, inside the ancient city.


VOUTADE (Ancient demos) ATHENS
The ancient deme was located between Dipylon and Cephisus.


XYPETI (Ancient demos) MOSCHATO
The settlements of the deme should have been covering parts of the modern Kallithea, Peireaus & Moschato. Along with the demes of Peireaus, Phaliron & Thymenidae formed a religious union known as "tetrakomon" with the common worship of Hercules.

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


AGRYLI (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Agryle (Agrule, Araule, Agroile, Steph.; Harpocrat.; Suid.; Hesych.; Zonar.; Bekker, Anecd. i. p. 332), was the name of two demi, an upper and a lower Agryle. They lay immediately south of the stadium in the city. (Harpocrat. s. v. Apdettos.) It is not improbable that the district of Agrae in the city belonged to one of these demi. [See p. 302, b.]

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Agrae (Agrai), was situated south of the Ilissus, and in the SE. of the city. Respecting its site, see p. 300, b. It does not appear to have been a separate demus, and was perhaps included in the demus of Agryle, which was situated south of it.


ALIMOUS (Ancient demos) ALIMOS
(Halimous, Harpocrat.; Suid.; Steph.; Bekker, Anecd. i. p. 376; Schol. ad Aristoph. Av. 498), said to have been so called from ta halima, sea-weeds (Etym. M. s. v.), was situated on the coast between Phalerum and Aexone (Strab. ix. p. 398), at the distance of 35 stadia from the city (Dem. c. Eubulid. p. 1302), with temples of Demeter and Core (Paus. i. 31. § 1), and of Hercules. (Dem. pp. 1314, 1319.) Hence Leake places it at C. Kallimakhi, at the back of which rises a small but conspicuous hill, crowned with a church of St. Cosmas. Halimus was the demus of Thucydides the historian.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


ALOPEKES (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Alopece (Alopeke), was situated only eleven or twelve stadia from the city (Aesch. c. Timarch. p. 119, Reiske), and not far from Cynosarges. (Herod. v. 63.) It lay consequently east of Athens, near the modern village of Ambelokipo, between Lycabettus and Ilissus. It possessed a temple of Aphrodite (Bockh, Inscr. n. 395), and also, apparently, one of Hermaphroditus. (Alciphr. Ep. iii. 37.) There are some remains of an ancient building in the church at Ambelokipo, which Leake supposes may be those of the temple of Aphrodite.


ATHENS (Ancient city) GREECE


ATHMONON (Ancient demos) ATTIKI
Athmonun (Athmonon, also Athmonia, Harpocrat.; Steph. B.; Zonar.; Suid.), situated on the site of the village Marusi, which is a mile and a half from Kifisia on the road to Athens. The name of the modern village has been derived from Amarysia, a surname of Artemis, who was worshipped under this designation at Athmonum (Paus. i. 35.5). An inscription found near Marusi, in which the temenos of this goddess is mentioned, puts the matter beyond dispute. (horos Artemidos temenous Amarudias, Bockh, Inscr. n. 528.) Athmonum also possessed a very ancient temple of Aphrodite Urania (Pans. i. 14.7). The inhabitants of this demus appear to have been considered clever wine-dressers. (Aristoph. Pac. 190.)

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


DIOMIA (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Diomeia. Eth. Diomeis. A demus belonging to the tribe Aegeis, consisting, like Cerameicus, of an Outer and an Inner. Diomeia. The Inner Diomeia comprised the eastern part of city, and gave its name to one of the city-gates in this quarter. In the Outer Diomeia was situated the Cynosarges. (Steph., Suid. s. v. Diomeia; Hesych. s. v. Diomeis; Steph., Hesych. s. v. Kunosarges; Schol. ad Aristoph. Ran. 664; Plut. de Exsil. l. c.) The Outer Diomeia could not have extended far beyond the walls, since the demus Alopece was close to Cynosarges. and only eleven or twelve stadia from the walls of the city. (Herod. v. 63; Aesch. c. Tim. p. 119, Reiske.)

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


ELEOUS (Ancient demos) ATTIKI
Elaeus (Elaious, Steph.), of uncertain site, but placed by Leake at Liosia, a village two miles to the west of Aphidna, because he considers this name a corruption of Elaeus; but this is not probable.


ERMOS (Ancient demos) CHAIDARI
Hermus (Hermos), lay on the sacred road to Eleusis, between the Cephissus and the Pythium, a temple of Apollo on Mt. Poecilum, upon a rivulet of the same name. Here was the splendid monument of Pythonice, the wife of Harpalus. (Plut. Phoc. 22; Harpocrat. s. v. Hermos; Paus. i. 37.4; Athen. xiii.; Diod. xvii. 108.)

This is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


EXONI (Ancient demos) GLYFADA
Aexone (Aixone), situated on the coast south of Halimus (Strab.), probably near the promontory of Colias. Aexone was celebrated for its fisheries. (Athen. vii.; Hesych., Zonar., Suid., s. v. Aixonida)

The Museium (Philopappus monument)

The Museium (to Mouseion) was the hill to the SW. of the Acropolis, from which it is separated by an intervening valley. It is only a little lower than the Acropolis itself. It is described by Pausanias (i. 25. § 8) as a hill within the city walls, opposite the Acropolis, where the poet Musaeus was buried, and where a monument was erected to a certain Syrian, whose name Pausanias does not mention. There are still remains of this monument, from the inscriptions upon which we learn that it was the. monument of Philopappus, the grandson of Antiochus, who, having been deposed by Vespasian, came to Rome with his two sons, Epiphanes and Callinicus. [Dict. of Biogr. vol. I. p. 194.] Epiphanes was the father of Philopappus, who had become an Attic citizen of the demus Besa, and he is evidently the Syrian to whom Pausanias alludes. This monument was built in a form slightly concave towards the front. The chord of the curve was about 30 feet in length: in front it presented three niches between four pilasters; the central niche was wider than the two lateral ones, concave and with a semicircular top; the others were quadrangular. A seated statue in the central niche was obviously that of the person to whom the monument was erected. An inscription below the niche shows that he was named Philopappus, son of Epiphanes, of the demus Besa (Philopappos Epiphanous Besaieus). On the right hand of this statue was a king Antiochus, son of a king Antiochus, as we learn from the inscription below it (basileus Antiochos basileos Antiochou). In the niche on the other side was seated Seleucus Nicator (basileus Eeleukos Antiochou Nikator). On the pilaster to the right of Philopappus of Besa is the inscription C.IVLIVS C. F.FAB (i. e. Caius Julius, Caii filius, Fabia) ANTIOCHVS PHILOPAPPVS, COS. FRATER ARVALIS, ALLECTVS INTER PRAETORIOS AB IMP. CAESARE NERVA TRAIANO OPTVMO AVGVSTO GERMANICO DACICO. On that to the left of Philopappus was inscribed Basileus Antiochos Philopappos, basileos Epiphanous, tou Antiochou. Between the niches and the base of the monument, there is a representation in high relief of the triumph of a Roman emperor similar to that on the arch of Titus at Rome. The part of the monument now remaining consists of the central and eastern niches, with remains of the two pilasters on that side of the centre. The statues in two of the niches still remain, but without heads, and otherwise imperfect; the figures of the triumph, in the lower compartment, are not much better preserved. This monument appears, from Spon and Wheler, to have been nearly in the same state in 1676 as it is at present; and it is to Ciriaco d'Ancona, who visited Athens two centuries earlier, that we are indebted for a knowledge of the deficient parts of the monument. (Leake, p. 494, seq.; comp. Stuart, vol. iii. c. 5; Prokesch, Denkwurdigkeiten, vol. ii. p. 383; Bockh, Inscr. no. 362; Orelli, Inscr. no. 800.)
  Of the fortress, which Demetrius Poliorcetes erected on the Museium in B.C. 229 (Paus. i. 25. § 8; Plut. Demetr. 34), all trace has disappeared.
  There must have been many houses on the Museium, for the western side of the hill is almost covered with traces of buildings cut in the rocks, and the remains of stairs are visible in several places,--another proof that the ancient city wall did not run along the top of this hill. There are also found on this spot some wells and cisterns of a circular form, hollowed out in the rock, and enlarging towards the base. At the eastern foot of the hill, opposite the Acropolis, there are three ancient excavations in the rock; that in the middle is of an irregular form, and the other two are eleven feet square. One of them leads towards another subterraneous chamber of a circular form, twelve feet in diameter at the base, and diminishing towards the top, in the shape of a bell. These excavations are sometimes called ancient baths, and sometimes prisons: hence one of them is said to have been the prison of Socrates.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


GEFYREI (Ancient demos) ATTIKI
  Gephyra (Gephura, Gephureis), a place in Attica at the bridge over the Cephissus, on the sacred road from Athens to Eleusis, where the initiated assailed passengers with vulgar abuse and raillery, hence called psephurismoi. (Strab. ix. p. 404; Suid. s. v. Gephurizon; Hesych. s. v. Gephuristai.)


Iphistiadae or Hephaestiadae (Iphistiadai, Hephaistiadai, Steph. B.; Hesych.), are the names of one demus, and not two separate demi, as Leake maintained. Iphistiadae appears to have been the correct form of the name, not only because it occurs much more frequently in inscriptions, but also because it is much more probable that a name formed from the obscure hero Iphistius should have been converted into one derived from the god Hephaestus, than that the reverse should have been the case. (Ross, p. 74.) We learn from Plato's will (Diog. Laert. iii. 41), that this demus contained an Heracleium or temple of Hercules, which has probably given its name to the modern village of Arakli, about two or three miles westward of Kivisia and Marusi. Hence Arakli indicates the site of Iphistiadae, as Marusi does that of Athmonum.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Oeum Cerameicum

ION (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Oeum Cerameicum (Oion Kerameikon), to distinguish it from Oeum Deceleicum near Deceleia. Its name shows that it was near the outer Cerameicus, and it may, therefore, be placed, with Leake, between the Sacred Way and the northern Long Wall. (Harpocrat., Suid. s. v.)


IRESSIDE (Ancient demos) ATTIKI
Eiresidae (Eiresidai, Steph. B.; Bekker, Anecd. i. p. 246), west or south-west of Cephisia, and adjacent to Iphistiadae. (Diog. Laert. iii. 41.)


Cephisia (Kephisia), was one of the ancient twelve cities of Cecrops, and continued to be an important demus down to the latest times. It retains its ancient name (Kivisia), and is situated about nine miles NE. of Athens, at the foot of Mt. Pentelicus, nearly opposite Acharnae. It was the favourite summer residence of Herodes Atticus, who adorned it with buildings, gardens, and statues. We learn from modern travellers that a fountain of transparent water, and groups of shady trees, still remain here; and that it continues to be a favourite residence of the Athenians during the heat of summer. (Strab. ix. 397; Diog. Laert. iii. 41; Philostr. Vit. Soph. ii. 1. § 12; Gell. i. 2, xviii. 10; Harpocrat.; Phot.; Wordsworth, p. 227; Stephani, Reise durch Griechenland, p. 1.)

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


KILI (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Coele (Koile), a demus belonging to the tribe Hippothoontis. It lay partly within and partly without the city, in the valley between the Museium and the hills on the southern side of Ilissus. In this district, just outside the Melitian gate, were the sepulchres of Thucydides and Cimon.


KIRIADES (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Ceiriadae, Keiriadai. A demus belonging to the tribe Hippothoontis. (Harpocrat., Suid., Steph. B., Hesych. s. v.) The position of this demus is uncertain; but Sauppe brings forward many arguments to prove that it was within the city walls. In this district, and perhaps near the Metroum, was the Barathron, into which criminals were cast.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


KOLLYTOS (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Collytus (Kollutos, not Koluttos: Eth. Kolluteis). A demus belonging to the tribe Aegeis, and probably, as we have already said, sometimes included under the general name of Melite. It appears from a passage of Strabo (i. p. 65) that Collytus and Melite were adjacent, but that their boundaries were not accurately marked, a passage which both Leake and Wordsworth have erroneously supposed to mean that these places had precise boundaries. (It is evident, however, that Collytus and Melite are quoted as an example of me onton akribon horon.) Wordsworth, moreover, remarks that it was the least respectable quarter in the whole of Athens: but we know, on the contrary, that it was a favourite place of residence. Hence Plutarch says (de Exsil. 6, p. 601), neither do all Athenians inhabit Collytus, nor Corinthians Craneium, nor Spartans Pitane, Craneium and Pitane being two favourite localities in Corinth and Sparta respectively. It is described by Himerius (ap. Phot. Cod.. 243, p. 375, Bekker), as a stenopos (which does not mean a narrow street, but simply a street, comp. Diod. xii. 10.; Hesych. s. v.), situated. in the centre of the city, and much valued, for its use of the market (agoras chreiai timomenos), by which words we, are probably to understand that it was conveniently situated for the use of the market. Forchhammer places Collytus between the hills of Pnyx and Museium, in which case the expression of its being in the centre of the city, must not be interpreted strictly. The same writer also supposes stenopos not to signify a street, but the whole district between the Pnyx and the Museium, including the slopes of those hills. Leake thinks that Collytus bordered upon Diomeia, and accordingly places it between Melite and Diomeia; but the authority to which he refers would point to an opposite conclusion, namely, that Collytus and Diomeia were situated on opposite sides of the city. We are told that Collytus was the father of Diomus, the favourite of Hercules; and that some of the Melitenses, under the guidance of Diomus, migrated from Melite, and settled in the spot called Diomeia, from their leader, where they celebrated the Metageitnia, in memory of their origin. (Plut. de Exsil. l. c.; Steph. B. s. v. Diomeia; Hesych. s. v. Diomeieis.) This legend confirms the preceding account of Collytus being situated in Melite. We have already seen that there was a theatre in Collytus, in which Aeschines played the part of Oenomaus; and we are also told that he lived in this district 45 years. (Aesch. Ep. 5.) Collytus was also the residence of Timon, the misanthrope (Lucian, Timon, 7, 44), and was celebrated as the demus of Plato.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


KOLONOS (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Colonus (Kolonos), celebrated as the demus of Sophocles, and the scene of one of the poet's tragedies, was situated ten stadia from the gate of the city, called Dipylum, near the Academy and the river Cephissus. (Thuc. viii. 67; Cic. de Fin. v. 1.) It derived its name from two small but conspicuous heights, which rise from the plain a little to the north of the Academy. Hence it is called by Sophocles the white Colonus (ton argeta Kolonon, Oed. Col. 670). It was under the especial care of Poseidon, and is called by Thucydides the hieron of this god. It is frequently called Colonus Hippius, to distinguish it from the Colonus Agoraeus in Athens. Besides the temple of Poseidon, it possessed a sacred inclosure of the Eumenides, altars of Athena, Hippia, Demeter, Zeus, and Prometheus, together with sanctuaries of Peirithous, Theseus, Oedipus, and Adrastus. (Paus. i. 30.4.) The natural beauties of the spot are described by Sophocles in the magnificent chorus, beginning with the words:
euippou, xene, tasde choras
hikou ta kratista gas epaula
ton argeta Kolonon.


Cydathenaeum, Kudathenaion: Eth. Kudathenaieis. A demus belonging to the tribe Pandionis. (Harp. Suid. Steph. Phot.) The name is apparently compounded of kudos glory, and Athenaios, and is hence explained by Hesychius as endoxos Athenaios.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  Cynosarges (Kunosarges), was a sanctuary of Hercules and a gymnasium, situated to the east of the city, not far from the gate Diomeia. It is said to have derived its name from a white dog, which carried off part of the victim, when sacrifices were first offered by Diomus to Hercules. (Paus. i. 19. § 3; Herod. v. 63, vi. 116; Plut. Them. 1; Harpocrat. s. v. Herakleia; Hesych. Suid. Steph. B. s. v. Kunosarges.) Antisthenes, the founder of the Cynic school, taught in the Cynosarges. (Diog. Laert. vi. 13.) It was surrounded by a grove, which was destroyed by Philip, together with the trees of the neighbouring Lyceium, when he encamped at this spot in his invasion of Attica in B.C. 200. (Liv. xxxi. 24.) Since Cynosarges was near a rising ground (Isocr. Vit. X. Orat. p. 838), Leake places it at the foot of the south-eastern extremity of Mount Lycabettus, near the point where the arch of the aqueduct of Hadrian and Antoninus formerly stood. The name of this gymnasium, like that of the Academy, was also given to the surrounding buildings, which thus formed a suburb of the city.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


LAKIA (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Laciadae (Lakiadai), on the Sacred Way between Sciron and the Cephissus, and near the sacred fig-tree. It is celebrated as the demus to which the family of Miltiades and Cimon belonged. (Paus. i. 37. §2; Plut. Cim. 4, Alc. 22; Cic. de Off. ii. 1. 8; Hesych.; Suid.)


  Lycabettus (Lukabettos), was the name of the lofty insulated mountain overhanging the city on its north-eastern side, and now called the Hill of St. George, from the church of St. George on its summit. This hill was identified by the ancient geographers with Anchesmus (Anchesmos), which is described by Pausanias (i. 32. § 2) as a small mountain with a statue of Zeus Anchesmius. Pausanias is the only writer who mentions Anchesmus; but since all the other hills around Athens have names assigned to them, it was supposed that the hill of St. George must have been Anchesmus. But the same argument applies with still greater force to Lycabettus, which is frequently mentioned by the classical writers; and it is impossible to believe that so remarkable an object as the Hill of St. George could have remained without a name in the classical writers. Wordsworth was, we believe, the first writer who pointed out the identity of Lycabettus and the Hill of St. George; and his opinion has been adopted by Leake in the second edition of his Topography, by Forchhammer, and by all subsequent writers. The celebrity of Lycabettus, which is mentioned as one of the chief mountains of Attica, is in accordance with the position and appearance of the Hill of St. George. Strabo (x. p. 454) classes Athens and its Lycabettus with Ithaca and its Neriton, Rhodes and its Atabyris, and Lacedaemon and its Taygetus. Aristophanes (Ran. 1057), in like manner, speaks of Lycabettus and Parnassus as synonymous with any celebrated mountains:
en oun su legeis Lukabettous
kai Parnason hemin megethe, tout esti to chresta didaskein.

  Its proximity to the city is indicated by several passages. In the edition of the Clouds of Aristophanes, which is now lost, the Clouds were represented as vanishing near Lycabettus, when they were threatening to return in anger to Parnes, from which they had come. (Phot. Lex. s. v. Parnes.) Plato (Critias, p. 112, a) speaks of the Pnyx and Lycabettus as the boundaries of Athens. According to an Attic legend, Athena, who had gone to Pallene, a demus to the north-eastward of Athens, in order to procure a mountain to serve as a bulwark in front of the Acropolis, was informed on her return by a crow of the birth of Erichthonius, whereupon she dropt Mount Lycabettus on the spot where it still stands. (Antig. Car. 12) Both Wordsworth and Leake suppose Anchesmus to be a later name of Lycabettus, since Pausanias does not mention the latter; but Kiepert gives the name of Anchesmus to one of the hills north of Lycabettus.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


MELITI (Ancient demos) ATHENS
Melite (Eth. Meliteis), was a demus of the tribe Cecropis, west of the Inner Cerameicus. The exact limits of this demus cannot be ascertained; but it appears to have given its name to the whole hilly district in the west of the Asty, comprising the hills of the Nymphs, of the Pnyx and of the Museium, and including within it the separate demi of Scambonidae and Collytus. Melite is said to have been named from a wife of Hercules. It was one of the most populous parts of the city, and contained several temples as well as houses of distinguished men. In Melite were the Hephaesteium, the Eury-saceium, the Colonus Agoraeus; the temple of Hercules Alexicacus; the Melanippeium, in which Melanippus, the son of Theseus, was buried (Harpocrat. s. v. Melanippeion); the temple of Athena Aristobula, built by Themistocles near his own house (Plut. Them. 22); the house of Callias (Plat. Parmen. p. 126, a.; Schol. ad Aristoph. Ran. 504); the house of Phocion, which still existed in Plutarch's, time (Plut. Phoc. 18); and a building, called the House of the Melitians, in which tragedies were rehearsed. (Hesych. Phot. Lex. s. v. Meliteon oikos.) This is, perhaps, the same theatre as the one in which Aesohines played the part of Oenomaus, and which is said to have been situated in Collytus (Harpocrat. s. v. Ischandros; Anonym. Vit. Aesch.); since the district of Melite, as we have already observed, subsequently included the demus of Collytus. It is probable that this theatre is the one of which the remains of a great part of the semicircle are still visible, hewn out of the rock, on the western side of the hill of Pnyx. The Melitian Gate at the SW. corner of the city were so called, as leading to the district Melite. Pliny (iv. 7. s. 11) speaks of an oppidum Melite, which is conjectured to have been the fortress of the Macedonians, erected on the hill Museium.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


PENTELI (Ancient demos) PENTELI
Pentele (Pentele, Steph.), was situated at the north-eastern extremity of the Athenian plain, at the marble quarries of Mt. Brilessus, which was called Mt. Pentelicus from this place. [See p. 322, a.] The fact of Pentele being a demus rests upon the authority of Stephanus alone, and has not yet been confirmed by inscriptions.


PILIKES (Ancient demos) EGALEO
Peleces (Pelekes), three demi forming a community, as trikomol (Steph. B. s. v. Eurupidai), and probably, therefore, adjacent. If the reading in Thucydides (ii. 19) is correct, dia Kropeias, these demi should be placed in the north of the Athenian plain, but many editors read dia Kekropias. Stuart, who has been followed by most modern writers, was led, by similarity of name, to place Peleces at the modern Belikas, near Marusi; but Ross maintains that the name of this Albanian village has no connexion with Peleces.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Scambonidae, Skambonidai. A demus belonging to the tribe Leontis. In consequence of a passage of Pausanias (i. 38. § 2). Muller placed this demus near Eleusis; but it is now admitted that it was one of the city demi. It was probably included within the district of Melite, and occupied the Hills of the Nymphs and of Pnyx. Its connexion with Melite is intimated by the legend, that Melite derived its name from Melite, a daughter of Myrmex, and the wife of Hercules; and that this Myrmex gave his name to a street in Scambonidae. (Harpocrat. s. v. Melite; Hesych., s. v. Murmekos atrapos; comp. Aristoph. Thesm. 100; and Phot Lex.) This street, however, the Street of Ants, did not derive its name from a hero, but from its being crooked and narrow, as we may suppose the streets to have been in this hilly district. Scambonidae, also, probably derived its name from the same circumstance (from skambos, crooked.)

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


XYPETI (Ancient demos) MOSCHATO
Xypete (Eupete, also Eupeteon, Strab. xiii. p. 604), said to have been likewise called Troja (Troia), because Teucrus led from hence an Attic colony into Phrygia. (Dionys. i. 61; Strab. l. c.; Steph. B.) It was apparently near Peiraeeus or Phalerum, since Xypete, Peiraeeus, Phalerum, and Thymoetadae formed the tetrakomoi (Pollux, iv. 105), who had a temple of Hercules in common (tetrakomon Herakleion, Steph. B. s. v. Echelidai; Bockh, Inscrip. vol. i. p. 123). Leake places Xypete at a remarkable insulated height, a mile from the head of the harbour of Peiraeeus, where are still seen some Hellenic foundations; but Ross remarks that this cannot be correct, since Xenophon (Hell. ii. 4. § 34) mentions this hill without giving its name, which he certainly would not have done if it had been Xypete.

This extract is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

Plato's Academy

Academia, (Akademeia). A public garden or grove in the suburbs of Athens, about six stadia from the city, named from Academus or Hecademus, who left it to the citizens for gymnastics. It was surrounded with a wall by Hipparchus, adorned with statues, temples, and sepulchres of illustrious men; planted with olive and plane trees, and watered by the Cephissus. The olive-trees, according to Athenian fables, were reared from layers taken from the sacred olive in the Erechtheum, and afforded the oil given as a prize to victors at the Panathenaean festival. Few retreats could be more favorable to philosophy and the Muses. Within this enclosure Plato possessed, as part of his patrimony, a small garden, in which he opened a school for the reception of those inclined to attend his instructions. Hence arose the Academic sect, and hence the term Academy has descended to our times. The appellation Academia is frequently used in philosophical writings, especially in Cicero, as indicative of the Academic sect. Sextus Empiricus enumerates five divisions of the followers of Plato. He makes Plato founder of the first Academy, Arcesilaus of the second, Carneades of the third, Philo and Charmides of the fourth, Antiochus of the fifth. Cicero recognizes only two Academies, the Old and New, and makes the latter commence as above with Arcesilaus. In enumerating those of the Old Academy, he begins, not with Plato, but Democritus, and gives them in the following order: Democritus, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Parmenides, Xenophanes, Socrates, Plato, Speusippus, Xenocrates, Polemo, Crates, and Crantor. In the New, or Younger, he mentions Arcesilaus, Lacydes, Evander, Hegesinus, Carneades, Clitomachus, and Philo. If we follow the distinction laid down by Diogenes, and alluded to above, the Old Academy will consist of those followers of Plato who taught the doctrine of their master without mixture or corruption; the Middle will embrace those who, by certain innovations in the manner of philosophizing, in some measure receded from the Platonic system without entirely deserting it; while the New will begin with those who relinquished the more obnoxious tenets of Arcesilaus, and restored, in some measure, the declining reputation of the Platonic school.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


ALIMOUS (Ancient demos) ALIMOS
A deme of Attica, a little south of Athens, and belonging to the tribe Leontis.


ALOPEKES (Ancient demos) ATHENS
A deme of Attica belonging to the tribe Antiochis


   The hill of Ares. A rocky eminence lying to the west of the Athenian Acropolis. To account for the name, various stories were told. Thus, some said that it was so called from the Amazons, the daughters of Ares, having encamped there when they attacked Athens; others again, as Aeschylus, from the sacrifices there offered by them to that god; while the more received opinion connected the name with the legend of Ares having been brought to trial there by Poseidon for the murder of his son, Halirrhothius .
    To no legend, however, did the place owe its fame, but rather to the ancient criminal court or council (he en Areioi pagoi boule) which held its sittings there, and sometimes received the name of he ano boule, to distinguish it from the Solonian Senate of Four Hundred, or the later Clisthenian Senate of Five Hundred. Solon's legislation raised the Areopagus into one of the most powerful bodies by transferring to it the greater part of the jurisdiction of the Ephetae, as well as the supervision of the entire public administration, the conduct of magistrates, the transactions of the popular assembly, religion, laws, morals, and discipline, and giving it power to call even private persons to account for offensive behaviour.

This text is cited Sep 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


ATHENS (Ancient city) GREECE
   The chief city of Attica. The long southeastern triangle of the northern peninsula of Greece, which terminates in the abrupt promontory of Sunium (mod. Cavo Colonnais), has its most interesting and important division, topographically as well as historically, on the western side, facing the Saronic Gulf. Here, at a point midway between Sunium and the promontory that faces Salamis, the low Cape Zoster terminates the Anhydros range, a lower continuation of Hymettus. The long continuous ridge of Anhydros and Hymettus (1027 metres at its greatest height) extends, in a slightly northeasterly direction, towards the range of Pentele (Pentele), the ancient Brilessos (Brilessos) or Pentelicon (Pentelikon sc. oros, Lat. Mons Pentelicus), from which it is separated by the pass through which the modern railway runs southeasterly towards the ancient mines of Laurium, near Sunium. The Pentelicus range (1086.6 metres high) extends northwest and southeast, and forms with Hymettus and Anhydros a well-nigh continuous dividing-wall between the eastern plain of Attica, the Mesogaea (Mesogaia), and the middle plain; while the plain of Marathon in the northeast is approachable from the Mesogaea only by a narrow way between Pentelicus and the sea towards Euboea, and from the middle plain by two difficult mountain ways between Pentelicus and Parnes. This last range (1412 metres high) lies to the northwest of Pentelicus and extends nearly east and west. Passable only by way of Decelea (mod. Tatoi) in the east and Phyle in the west, it effectually cuts off Attica from Boeotia. In its furthest extent towards the west, where it continues in the Cithaeron range, it divides the western Attic plain, the Eleusinian, from Boeotia. The middle Attic plain is separated from the Eleusinian by a lower mountain mass, Aegaleos (Aigaleos) or Corydallos (Korudallos) (467 metres high), which, leaving easy way between itself and Parnes, continues southwest, broken midway by the pass of Daphne, till it terminates in "the rocky brow which looks o'er sea-born Salamis." Within these natural ramparts lies that which we may call par excellence the Attic plain, a great V-shaped recess open towards the sea. Its more important internal features, which, taken in connection with its enclosed character on the one hand and its free access to the sea on the other, rendered it an ideal theatre for the development of a Greek state, we must now examine in detail.
    From the offshoots of Parnes and Pentelicus in the northeast rises the most considerable waterway of the plain--the Cephissus, which afforded in ancient as in modern times a perennial source of irrigation for the fields of the Attic farmer. As it approaches the sea, below the heights of the city, it seems to have been met by another stream from the east--the Ilissus, which, rising from Hymettus, is in modern times, owing to the denudation of its parent mountain, a much more insignificant stream than in ancient times, hardly more than a dry bed in summer. Hence the difficulty of determining its entire course. The Eridanus mentioned by ancient authors seems to have been a stream from the delicious and wholesome fountain of Kaisariane (Kaisariane, anc. Kullou pera), southeast of the sources of the Ilissus, into which the stream emptied east of the city.
     Between the Cephissus and the Ilissus, about midway of the plain, a short range of hills, formed like the other heights of the plain of bluish-gray limestone and bearing to-day the name Tourkovoun. (Tourkobouni, "Turk Mountain," anc. perh. Anchesmos) (339 metres high), terminates at the southwest in the bold separate peak of Lycabettus (277 metres high), from the pyramidal summit of which, crowned by a chapel of St. George, one commands the most splendid view of the Attic plain, the gulf with its islands, and the Peloponnesian mountains beyond. Some 1000 paces to the southwest of this height, too sharp and steep for habitation, rises a double group of hills of about half the height of Lycabettus. The first and highest of these is the famous Acropolis, the citadel of Athens (156 metres high). Under its western brow lies the lower rock of the Areopagus (Areios pagos, "Mars' Hill") (115 metres high). From northwest to south of this extends the group of the Museum (Mouseion, "Muses' Hill"), the Pnyx, and the "Nymphs' Hill" (so called from an inscription), separated by depressions. The highest point is at the southeast extremity of the group, in the summit of the Museum (147 metres high), crowned by the monument of the Syrian Antiochus Philopappus. This triple group of hills seems to have been called collectively in ancient times Pnyx (Pnux, "conglomeration"). Lycabettus, the Acropolis, and the Pnyx were manifestly formed by the action of water, which, forcing its way east and west, left the hard bluegray limestone projecting in three great protuberances, "like bones of a wasted body," as Plato says.
    Between four and five English miles southwest of the Acropolis we find as outpost on the sea the rocky peninsula of Acte or Munichia, which, originally an island, like Salamis, was gradually united to the plain by the soil washed from above. North of it lies the secure landlocked harbour of Piraeus (Peiraieus); east, the larger open roadstead of Phalerum (Phaleron), the earlier port of Athens, into which the Cephissus and Ilissus drain, and which is terminated on the southeast by Cape Colias (Kolias akra).
    If we examine the soil of the plain from the sea inland, we find that the sandy coast is succeeded by a swampy alluvial strip, the Halipedon (Halipedon, "salt-plain" or"sea-plain"). This again gives place to the plain proper, which, though "light of soil" and requiring diligent cultivation, is yet the natural home of the olive, and is not ill adapted to the growth of wheat and vegetables. The stony foot-hills above the plain (Phelleus) were terraced and utilized for the cultivation of the vine; while the fragrant mountain-plants, particularly of purple Hymettus, furnished pasturage not only for sheep, but for the bees that have made Attic honey proverbial. The fig-tree, too, was made to flourish so well in the plain that Attic figs were as famous as the oil and honey from the same region.
    To these resources we must add the abundance of potter's-clay, and the wealth of material for the architect and the sculptor afforded by the quarries of Pentelicus, Hymettus, and Eleusis, as well as by those of the hills of the city and the heights of Piraeus.
    In his efforts to wring from the soil its uttermost, the farmer was aided by a climate exceptionally favourable. In the Attic year there are, on the average, not more than thirty-five days on which the sun does not show itself; and though the north winds from snowy Parnes render the winter cold most penetrating, their steady breath by day during the greater part of the year, alternating with the equally steady sea-breeze by night, combined with a wonderful purity and dryness of air, gave to Attica--and still gives to her, though in a less degree--a climate at once physically and mentally exhilarating. Justly, then, might "the children of Erechtheus" be called "blessed of old, and children of the happy gods,""lightly walking through brightest and clearest air," where the goddess of all fertility "irrigated the soil from the streams of ever-flowing Cephissus, and breathed over them temperate breezes."
    We turn now to the development of the little city which grew up in the midst of this exceptional environment.
    As in the case of other ancient Grecian settlements, so in that of Athens we find an avoidance of immediate proximity to the sea, such as would have been obtained by a settlement on the height of the Piraeus. The natural centre for the development of a town neither remote from the sea nor yet immediately accessible from it--such, too, as to be commanded by a natural asylum in the event of hostile inroads--is afforded, in the case of Athens, by the group of hills below Lycabettus. Not only do we find here a central and isolated position in a plain set apart from the rest of the world by nature, but also, within a narrow compass, arable land with a water-supply, the material for the primitive artisan, and an airy and wholesome position for habitation upon a foundation of native rock, thus leaving the cultivable area unencumbered.
    It is not of special moment to us, in tracing the material development of the little community which has done more than any other towards the promotion of civilization, whether we give to the earliest inhabitants any other name than Athenians. The term Pelasgian itself needs interpretation; and, so far as any precise knowledge goes, we might as well regard these early occupants of the "land unsacked" as quite as truly an outgrowth of "the ground itself" as their symbolic cicada. It is evident from the mere consideration of their environment that we must accept the view of Thucydides, that Attica was exceptionally stable in population, and trace, so far as possible, the gradual accretions upon the primitive nucleus, by whatever name we choose to designate it.
    The earliest and most permanent traces of human habitation to be found at Athens are the foundations of houses cut in the rock of the group of hills designated by the general name of Pnyx. These are extensive enough to warrant the belief that this region, which in historical times lay waste for the most part, was the seat of a thriving town, according to the conditions of that primitive period. Whether the remarkable rock-cuttings and the semicircular Pelasgic wall upon the hill called par excellence Pnyx be the monuments of a prehistoric worship of the primeval god of the sunny sky of Greece as well as of its stormier phenomena, Zeus Hypsistos, or whether we are to see here, as has been the prevailing fashion, the place of the Athenian popular assembly (that which under the former supposition is the altar becoming under the latter the famous bema, from which the orators "shook th' arsenal and fulmin'd over Greece"), to any one who has been upon the ground the extreme antiquity of these imposing works is at once obvious. To the early period under discussion seem to belong also the rock-hewn chambers, one of which is traditionally known as the "Prison of Socrates"--an impossible designation.
    We cannot suppose that the inhabitants of this first rock-city, or Cranaa (Kranaa), concerned themselves with the sea, if at all, beyond the demands of their daily existence, which would hardly lead them beyond fishery. It was only enterprising accretions from without that could utilize and develop the entire resources of nature.
    Further traces of the early city are to be found in the ancient names, which, attached to the several districts in and about the later city, maintained themselves, not only in the mouth of the people, but in public records, through the entire history of Athens. Among the most certainly distinguishable of these primitive divisions (demoi) is that known, as far back as we can trace, as Ceramicus (Kerameikos), so called from the potter's-clay which here furnished abundant material for one of the earliest of human industries. This region stretches northward from the rocky brow of the Areopagus. Melite (Melite) seems to have lain to the south of Ceramicus, and to have embraced the Hill of the Nymphs as well as the Areopagus. Collytus (Kol-lutos) stretched to the northeast of the Acropolis, bordering on the west not only upon Ceramicus, but also upon Melite, as seems proved by a mention of a boundary-stone in Strabo. Diomea (Diomeia) may be placed next to Collytus, and between the Acropolis and Lycabettus. Ceriadae (Keiriadai), within the border of which, just below the precipice of the Nymphs' Hill, lay the depression, formed partly by nature, partly by quarrying, called the Barathrum (Barathron), adjoined Melite on the west; while Coele (Koile), consonant with its name, occupied the gully between the Hill of the Nymphs and the bed of the Ilissus. The core of these ancient districts is the rock-city in Melite. To the north of Ceramicus, and, apparently, at all times outside the city limits, lay Colonos Hippios, called from its hill (kolonos).
    While the ancient city thus maintained itself in the little inland district just described, those influences were beginning to make themselves felt from the coast which were to govern the destiny of the future state. The Phoenician traders appear to have established their customary trading-posts at an early date not merely on Salamis (which has preserved its Phoenician name), but also on the coast opposite and on the heights of the Piraeus and Phalerum. Ancient rock-cuttings in the citadel of Piraeus seem to attest early settlement there. It was, indeed, such a position as we know, not only from Thucydides, but also from various material remains, to have been most likely to be chosen by these early navigators of the Mediterranean, and mediators between Orient and Occident. To this source, a mixed Oriental coast-settlement in which Ph?nicians played the leading part, appears to be due the addition of Aphrodite and Heracles (Astarte and Melkart) to the primitive native worship of Zeus and the Nymphs, "daughters of aegisholding Zeus,"whose cult attached to springs and water-courses. The ritual of these two foreign deities, as carried on in the historical period, certainly points to a very early introduction of their worship. As to the primitive worship of Zeus, reference has already been made to what may, not improbably, be deemed his primeval sanctuary on the Pnyx; concerning a second early seat of his worship, not far removed, we are better informed. Southeast of the Acropolis, above the fountain Callirrhoe and the bed of the Ilissus, was shown in ancient times an opening in the rock into which, according to the legend, the last vestiges of Deucalion's flood had sunk. Here Deucalion was said to have "built the ancient sanctuary of Olympian Zeus," whose worship remained fixed at this spot through all the subsequent history of the city. Cleft rock and spring are fit emblems of the worship of Zeus and his daughters at this spot by the primeval Cranai.
    The gradual influences of the influx into Attica, both overland from the north and oversea from the west, may be traced in the gods added to the Athenian pantheon. The Minyan Artemis, the Pelasgic Hermes, the Thracian Ares who gave his name to the Areopagus, Hephaestus the handicraftsman's god, gradually encroached upon the domain of the older cults; while Poseidon gained a seat at Phalerum, and later disputed, according to the legend, the possession of the land with Athene, the intellectual development of the old Oriental mother-goddess, who retained her guardianship of the olive-tree even after she had resigned her care of the fields to Eleusinian Demeter.
    The incursions from the north and from the sea, which gradually brought in these new divinities, forced the growing state of the Cranai to take up a securer position on the rock of the Acropolis, which, falling off precipitously on all sides except the west, readily lent itself to the fortifications which the early inhabitants of Greece knew so well how to build, and which we can understand now that the ruins of Tiryns and Mycenae, as well as the Acropolis itself, have been submitted to careful excavation and study. Here, on the top of the rock, which was levelled and provided with retaining-walls, as well as with a surrounding fortification, was established the ancient Polis (Polis, a term long retained as the official designation of the Acropolis), the seat of the worship of Zeus Polieus. Here, on the north side, where we now see the ruins of the later Erechtheum, were the old sanctuary of the local daemon Erechtheus and the palace of the royal race of the Cecropid and Erechtheid kings, the foundations of which, as well as of private dwellings of the same epoch, have been traced. Up to this palace led from the north a stairway, unearthed in the recent excavations, and in the enclosure west of the present Erechtheum was the sacred olive-tree, the gift of Athene, and hard by it the tomb of Cecrops, both under the protection of the old local nymph Pandrosos (Cecropium and Pandroseum). Under the northwest brow of the Acropolis, below the "long rocks" (makrai petrai), was the grotto of Pan; and still farther to the west, within the modern bastion of Odysseus, a spring called Clepsydra (Klepsudra, "she that hides her water"), popularly supposed to pass underground to Phalerum. This spring was and still is approached from above by a remarkable fortified winding stairway cut in the rock. Under the south face of the Acropolis were a cave and spring, with which the worship of the healer Asclepius came to be associated; and in the southwest spur of the sacred rock, whence Aegeus was said to have flung himself down, Athene was established as goddess of victory (Nike), worshipped in an uncouth primitive idol with the sacrifice of a perfect cow, as so beautifully represented on the marble balustrade about the later Ionic temple.
    Thus by the sacred olive and the hollow in the rock with its mysterious trident-mark--where the waves could be heard when the south-wind blew-- flourished the old priestly and kingly race, hemmed in not only by the wall of the Polis proper, but also, as it seems, by a lower wall enclosing the skirts of the Acropolis, and called from its nine gates Enneapylon (Enneapulon), the area within which and below the ramparts of the citadel was known as the Pelargicon (to Pelargikon). The main entrance was then, as it has always been perforce, at the west end of the citadel, a fortified way winding up towards the right, the ancient warrior's exposed side, below the bastion of Athene Nike.
    The Ionians who immigrated from across the Aegean brought in the Delian Apollo, the god of Ionic colonization and civilization. This new and important factor in the Athenian state established itself south of the Acropolis in what Thucydides regarded as old Athens, in the region called Cydathenaeum (Kudathenaion), extending some 2000 metres around the southeast flank of the Acropolis and up towards Lycabettus. Under the south face of the Acropolis, close to the later Dionysiac Theatre, the northern Dionysus of Eleutherae was established in the Lenaeum, near the sanctuary of the "public" Aphrodite (Aphrodite pandemos). To the south of this seems to have lain the old marketplace, the agora of the Ionic astu. Here was established the first town-hall--the Prytaneum or Basileum--by which, under the auspices of Themis, the "sceptre-bearing" kings administered justice. The solemn court of murder, so soon as the taking of human life came to be recognized as a state offence, was established on the Areopagus, in a cleft beneath which the Eumenides ("the gracious")--as the avengers of blood, the Erinyes, were here called--were solemnly worshipped. The bodies of the executed, as well as purificatory offerings and offscourings, were thrown into the deep recess of the Barathrum. Thus the highest priesthood was associated with the Acropolis, while the king came down to preside in his political function over the Ionic nobility of Cydathenaeum. The Thesean nobles, true to their Ionic instinct, encouraged closer intercourse with the sea, and Cydathenaeum was linked by a high-road to Phalerum, whence they trafficked abroad; whereas the influence of the Tyrian traders seems to have made itself felt upon the Cranaan city of Melite by a way leading up from the Salaminian Strait.
    In the meantime the germ of the later city was rapidly maturing in the industrial settlement northwest of the Acropolis in Ceramicus, which seems to have kept pace in its development with the growing opposition of the lower classes to the encroachments and extortions of the Ionic nobility. After the period of ferment followed by the Solonian legislation, at the opening of the sixth century, came the first great period of the Athenian state--the democratic despotism of the Pisistratidae.
    The centre of gravity of the city now shifted to the point at which it remained ever afterwards-- to the centre of the settlement of the Ceramicus, which rapidly outgrew in importance the effete Cydathenaeum. Here was established the altar of the Twelve Gods, from which, as from the golden milestone of Rome, distances were reckoned; and here, too, was the focus of Athenian polupragmosune. On the Acropolis, Pisistratus probably built the temple of Athene Polias, "the old temple," on the site between the later Parthenon and Erechtheum, where its plan has lately been made out. From this period, too, we date the institution of the great Panathenaea and the carrying of the sacred ship from the outer Ceramicus around and into the citadel. Thus did Pisistratus add new glory to the cult of his patron goddess. Upon the terrace above Callirrhoe, Pisistratus began a great temple to Olympian Zeus, but did not carry out his ambitious design. He also built in, or led an aqueduct from, Callirrhoe, which thus became Enneacrunos (Enneakrounos, "the fountain with nine pipes"), and long continued to be, as it had been, the main water supply of the town. The encouragement, if not the introduction, of the Dionysiac worship, which bore such abundant fruit in the succeeding century, seems also to have been an object of especial care to Pisistratus.
    Close upon the downfall of the Pisistratidean tyrannis and the struggles of the Clisthenean reform came the Persian wars and the sack of the Acropolis by the barbarians. The remains of the ruined shrines of the pre-Persian period, with curious painted pediments of soft stone, and the statues of Parian marble, executed by artists under the patronage of the Pisistratidae, are among the most precious treasures brought to light by the excavation of the Acropolis.
    The wide-reaching schemes of naval empire which sprang from the fertile brain of Themistocles, who fostered the growth of the Athenian navy and first saw the strategic importance of the Piraeus, were destined never to be fully realized. Before the Persian wars, Themistocles had caused the Piraeus to be fully fortified and made a strong naval station, invested with heavy fortress-walls about the citadel of Munichia, and with its harbours (Cantharos, the largest, Munichia, and Zea) narrowed and easily closed. After the devastation of the city, he whose merit it was that he "fastened the city to the Piraeus, the land to the sea," would fain have made the Piraeus the centre of the new city-development--impregnable by land and sea. But the machinations of the Peloponnesians necessitated the hurried fortification of the old site with an effective wall, and thus enabled the conservative party of Aristides and Cimon to carry out their design of maintaining the "wheel-shaped" city about the Acropolis, with a separate porttown and naval station at the Piraeus.
    The Themistoclean wall, the successor of older fortifications, passed, as well as can be made out, over the Pnyx hill from the Barathrum to the peak of the Museum, skirted the Ilissus, which lay like a moat without it to the south, curved southeast of the Acropolis, coming around towards the northeast, so as to avoid the foot of Lycabettus, and finally passed from east to west across the plain, taking in the little water-courses from Lycabettus, and finally bending about to the point from which we started. It included Collytus and Diomea, cut Melite in twain, formed an "inner" and an "outer" Ceramicus, and excluded Coele. The dimensions of the space thus enclosed were about 2000 metres east and west by 1500 metres north and south, the Acropolis lying some 500 metres nearer the south side. Of the gates, we note two in Melite--the Melitid Gate (Melitides pulai) and the "Gate of the Horsemen" (Hippades pulai); then the gate on the south leading to Phalerum (Itoniai pulai); the Gate of Diochares (Diocharous pulai) and the Diomean Gate (Diomeis pule) in the east; the Acharnian Gate (Acharnike pule) in the north; and the Dipylon (Dipulon), the most important, between the inner and outer Ceramici, where considerable remains of the ancient foundations are still to be seen. South of the last was the Piraic Gate (Peiraike pule).
    To unite the city thus fortified with the Piraeus, the Long Walls were begun, about B.C. 460--a northern, run from the Hill of the Nymphs to Munichia, and a southern, connecting the city with Phalerum. Between these, under Pericles, a second Piraic Wall was built, parallel to the northern, completing the system and linking city and port by a long double fortification--the skele, or "legs."
    Without and near the gates, particularly the Dipylon, the dead were interred; and public funerals were solemnized over the ashes of military heroes in the outer Ceramicus. Beautiful remains of the tombs of the period succeeding the Periclean, but bearing abundant traces of the Phidian art, have been fortunately preserved to us near the Dipylon, and form one of the most striking monuments of the ancient city.
    To the Cimonian period seems to belong the imposing temple, the best preserved of all Greek buildings of classical times, on the hill overlooking the Ceramicus from the west--the so-called Theseum, not improbably to be named the Heracleum.
    On the Acropolis, in connection with a new and extensive plan of walling, levelling, and enlargement of area, preparations seem to have been made by Cimon for an imposing new temple on the site now occupied by the Parthenon. Here not only was the irregular edge of the precipice raised and reinforced by a high wall outside the Pelasgian rampart supporting a deep inner grading, but a heavy foundation was built up from the bed-rock as support for a great temple structure, destined not to be completed according to the original design. On the north side, also, the plateau of the Acropolis was built up and walled, drums of columns and portions of architraves being freely used in the construction of the wall, and architectural fragments, inscribed marble tablets, and even statues employed as grading material. The bastion of Nike was also newly fortified. Though the nature of Cimon's whole undertaking was decorative rather than strategic, it might yet be truly said that the Acropolis was walled by the Pelasgians and Cimon.
    Pericles, having at his disposal the treasures of the Attic League, which were transferred to Athens (B.C. 454) and apparently kept in the Opisthodomos--as the "ancient" Pisistratidean temple of the Polias, commonly called from its length the Hecatompedon (Hekatompedon), and apparently rebuilt, at least in part, on its original site, was henceforth termed--reared upon Cimon's foundation the new and magnificent Doric Parthenon (dedicated B.C. 438). The architecture was intrusted to Ictinus and the sculpture to Phidias, whose chryselephantine statue of the Parthenos adorned the room to which alone the term Parthenon ("the virgin's chamber") strictly applied. The Propylaea, a massive ornamental entrance to the Acropolis, in which the Doric and Ionic styles were happily blended, rose under the guidance of the brilliant architect Mnesicles; and, although never completed according to the architect's design, it remained among the greatest wonders of the city.
    Of the host of statues of all kinds which fast thronged the Acropolis, particularly during the fifth century--among them the great bronze statue of Athene as champion (promachos), the bronze figure of the Wooden Horse, the heifer of Myron, and many others mentioned by ancient writers--we can take but passing notice. Their number was constantly increasing down to the times of the Roman Empire.
    Some time in the period covered by the first Athenian empire the stately little Ionic temple of Athene Nike seems to have been reared upon the southwest bastion of the Acropolis, and surrounded on three sides with the exquisite marble balustrade, fragments of which are still preserved on the Acropolis.
    The new Erechtheum, with its famous porch of the Maidens or Caryatides, was in course of construction at the close of the fifth century.
    The agora of the inner Ceramicus, bounded on the south by the abrupt brow of the Areopagus, under which stood the statues of the Eponymi, the namesake-heroes of the ten Clisthenean tribes, seems to have been divided by a line of stone Hermae into a northern and a southern half. About the southern half stood various public buildings, the Council-hall (Bouleuterion), the Royal Stoa (Stoa Basileios), the Painted Stoa (Stoa poikile), the Metroon, the temple of Apollo Patroos, as well as the altar of the Twelve Gods and the statues of the democratic heroes Harmodius and Aristogiton. In its wider extent the agora of Ceramicus is bounded on the west by the hill of the so-called Theseum, and on the east by the gate of Athene Archegetis. Its chief existing monument is the later Stoa of Attalus, king of Pergamos. The mention of these public works needs to be complemented by a word in regard to private structures. The dwelling-houses of the city during the period of Athenian greatness stood in striking contrast with the public structures. Built along narrow, irregular, and ill-kept streets, they gave but little indication of the social position or wealth of their occupants. In this respect the old city seems to have been inferior to the Piraeus, which was better laid out and contained more sumptuous private buildings. At all times, however, in both towns, houses and house-furniture were, for the most part, extremely simple, and the bustling open-air life of the male population was not conducive to private luxury.
    The Long Walls, destroyed at the close of the Peloponnesian War, were re-erected at the birth of the new Athenian empire, under which, and during the subsequent period of the Hellenistic successors of Alexander, the state received further adornment. Lycurgus completed the great stone theatre within the Lenaeum, overlapping the ancient Orchestra or "dancing-ring,"traces of which are still discernible. The Street of the Tripods, winding about the southeastern foot of the Acropolis, is still marked by the delicate choragic monument of Lysicrates (B.C. 334). The Stoa of Eumenes lies to the west of the great theatre. The eastern side of the market of Ceramicus is marked by the great stone bazaar of Attalus, previously noticed. Building was carried on by Antiochus Epiphanes till his death (in B.C. 164) upon the site of the old sanctuary of Zeus on the Ilissus, where Hadrian finally reared his colossal Corinthian temple, the few remaining columns of which (the stuloi) are one of the most prominent Athenian landmarks. Near it, towards the Acropolis, Hadrian set the gate, still standing, which should separate, according to its inscription, "the Athens of Theseus" from "the Athens of Hadrian." An octagonal tower with waterclock within and weather-vane on the summit, and bearing on its several faces reliefs representing the winds (Horologium or "Tower of the Winds"), was erected by Andronicus Cyrrhestes southeast of the agora, where it still stands. The famous Herodes Atticus built, in honour of his dead wife Regilla, the great Odeum, adjoining the Stoa of Eumenes, under the southwestern slope of the Acropolis. These are among the most prominent monuments of the later Greek and the GraecoRoman period that still attract the visitor to the ancient site.
    The subsequent history of the monuments is one of rapine, defacement, and destruction. The traces of the Valerian wall, forming a great loop north of the Acropolis, and the mediaeval and modern fortifications, that have been removed from the approach to the Acropolis, are melancholy witnesses to barbarian invasion, medi?val slavery, and the struggle of reawakening liberty. The archives of the story of the material growth and development of the Athens that has influenced the world had been laid up for a curious posterity long before these structures arose.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


(Epikephesia). A deme of Attica belonging to the tribe Oeneis.


ERMOS (Ancient demos) CHAIDARI
(to Hermos). A deme of Attica, belonging to the tribe Acamantis, on the road from Athens to Eleusis.


A deme of Attica belonging to the tribe Acamantis.


Ceramicus. One of the most considerable and important parts of the city of Athens. Its name was derived from the hero Ceramus (Pausan. i. 3), or perhaps from some potteries which were formerly situated there. It included probably the Agora, the Stoa Basileios, and the Poekile, as well as various other temples and public buildings. Antiquaries are not decided as to the general extent and direction of this part of the ancient city, since scarcely any trace remains of its monuments and edifices; but we may certainly conclude, from their researches and observations, that it lay entirely on the south side of the Acropolis.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


A deme of Attica, at the foot of Mount Brilessus, and near the source of the Cephissus. It was the favourite residence of Herodes Atticus, who had a beautiful villa here.


KILI (Ancient demos) ATHENS
An Attic deme a little beyond the Militian Gate at Athens. Cimon and Thucydides were buried here.


KOLLYTOS (Ancient demos) ATHENS
A deme of Attica belonging to the tribe Aegeis, and forming one of the districts into which the city of Athens was divided. It was the deme of Plato the philosopher.


KOLONOS (Ancient demos) ATHENS
A deme of Attica, ten stadia, or a little more than a mile, northwest of Athens, near the Academy; celebrated for a temple of Poseidon, a grove of the Eumenides, the shrine of Oedipus, and as the birthplace of Sophocles, who describes it in his Oedipus Coloneus.


   A place in the suburbs of Athens, where the school of the Cynics was held. It derived its name from a white dog (kuon argos), which, when Diomus was sacrificing to Heracles, snatched away part of the victim. It was adorned with several temples. The most remarkable thing in it, however, was the Gymnasium, where all strangers, who had but one parent an Athenian, had to perform their exercises, because Heracles, to whom it was consecrated, had a mortal for his mother and was not properly one of the immortals. Cynosarges is supposed to have been situated at the foot of Mount Anchesmus.

This text is cited Sep 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


LAKIA (Ancient demos) ATHENS
(Lakia) or Laciadae (Lakiadai). A deme of Attica belonging to the tribe Oeneis.


(Lukabettos). The modern Mount St. George, a mountain in Attica, belonging to the range of Pentelicus, close to the walls of Athens on the northeast of the city.


MELITI (Ancient demos) ATHENS
A deme of Attica which gave its name to one of the city gates.

   Melite seems to have lain to the south of Ceramicus, and to have embraced the Hill of the Nymphs as well as the Areopagus. Collytus stretched to the northeast of the Acropolis, bordering on the west not only upon Ceramicus, but also upon Melite, as seems proved by a mention of a boundary-stone in Strabo. Diomea (Diomeia) may be placed next to Collytus, and between the Acropolis and Lycabettus. Ceriadae (Keiriadai), within the border of which, just below the precipice of the Nymphs' Hill, lay the depression, formed partly by nature, partly by quarrying, called the Barathrum (Barathron), adjoined Melite on the west; while Coele (Koile), consonant with its name, occupied the gully between the Hill of the Nymphs and the bed of the Ilissus. The core of these ancient districts is the rock-city in Melite. To the north of Ceramicus, and, apparently, at all times outside the city limits, lay Colonos Hippios, called from its hill (kolonos).

This extract is cited Sep 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


A mountain in Attica, celebrated for its marble; a branch of Mount Parnes, from which it runs in a southeasterly direction between Athens and Marathon to the coast. It was also called Brilessus


(Skambonidai). A demus in Attica, between Athens and Eleusis, belonging to the tribe Leontis.


XYPETI (Ancient demos) MOSCHATO
A deme of Attica belonging to the tribe Cecropis, to the west of Athens.


(Humettos). A mountain in Attica, about three miles south of Athens, celebrated for its marble and its honey.



ATHENS (Ancient city) GREECE
  Athens is the capital city of Attica, a province of central Greece, northeast of the Isthmus of Corinth. Athens is the most famous of all Ancient Greek cities, not so much by its political role --though for a while during the Vth century B. C it was the head of an empire that dominated a large part of the eastern Mediterranean world-- as by its cultural legacy. It reached the peak of its glory between the Persian wars and the Peloponesian war (431-404) so much so that this period in history has become known as the Century of Pericles, by the name of the man who ruled Athens from 443 till his death in 429. Between the late VIth century B. C. and the rise of the Macedonian empire of Alexander the Great Athens not only invented democracy, but gave the world such famed artists as the tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the comedian Aristophanes, the historian Thucydides, the sculptor Phidias, the orators Isocrates and Demosthenes, the writer Xenophon and the philosophers Socrates and Plato.
  Origins and legendary traditions of Athens
  Attica seems to have been populated by the first wave of invaders from Thracia (today's Balkans) that came to be known as the Greeks (or Hellenes) toward the beginning of the IInd millenium B. C. and is the only part of mainland Greece where these invaders, calling themselves Ionians, managed to stay when later invaders, such as the Achaeans, the Aeolians and eventually the Dorians who became prominent in Peloponnese, displaced earlier Greek populations. Athenians of classical times were proud of this remote origin and immemorial occupancy of the same land and, for this reason, called themselves autochthonoi, that is, sons of the earth itself that they were inhabiting.
  Athens was under the protection of the goddess Athena, the giver of the olive-tree, and Poseidon, the god of the sea. It was keeping alive the memory of its “founding fathers”, legendary kings of old, from Cecrops down to Theseus and Codrus, the last of them. Cecrops, half-man, half-snake, was said to have been born from the soil of Attica. It is under his reign that the gods challenged one another for cities to be honored in. Athens was coveted by both Athena and Poseidon. Poseidon came to Attica and had seawater spring from the Acropolis by stricking the rock with his trident while Athena grew the first olive-tree on its slopes. Cecrops was chosen by Zeus as arbiter between them and opted for Athena, whose gift was more useful to the people. Cecrops' son Erysichthon died young and without children. Cranaus, who succeeded Cecrops after his son Erysichthon had died, was said to be too a “son of the soil”. In his time the city, then mostly limited to the rock of Acropolis, was called Cranaa (meaning “rocky” in Greek) and its people Cranaans. The area then took the name Attica after one of his daughters, named Atthis, when she died before being wed.
  Erichthonius was said to be the son born from Hephaestus' desire for Athena: one day Athena had come to his shop to order weapons, he fell in love with her and tried to rape her. In the fight that ensued, some of Hephaestus' semen fell on Athena's leg. The goddess threw it to the ground. From the god's semen thus thrown to her, Gaea (the Earth) bore a child who was named Erichthonius, a name that suggests wool (eri ), or fight (eris), and the earth (chthon), and who was raised by Athena herself in her temple of the Acropolis and became king of Athens after retaking power from Amphictyon. Erichthonius was succeeded by Pandion, the son he had had with his wife, the Naiad Praxithea. Erechtheus, grandson of Erichthonius and son of Pandion, succeded his father on the throne of Athens. Erechtheus had a wife named Praxithea, from whom he had several children: Cecrops, Pandorus, Metion, Thespius, Protogenia, Chtonia, Creusa, Procris, and Orithuia.
  While Erechtheus was king of Athens, a war broke out between Athens and Eleusis. Erechtheus consulted the oracle of Delphi for a means to win the war. He was told that he should offer one of his daughters in sacrifice, which he did. As a result of this sacrifice, Erechtheus won the war. Erechtheus was succeeded by his son Cecrops, who married Metadiousa, then by their son Pandion. After Pandion's death, his four sons reclaimed the throne of Athens from the sons of Metion and divided Attica between themselves. Aegeus, the first-born, took the largest share, including Athens. After two successive marriages, Aegeus had not been able to beget a child, despite his introduction in Athens of the cult of Aphrodite Urania, the goddess of childbearing. So, he went to Delphi to ask the oracle what to do to beget a son and, on his way back, visited Pittheus, king of Troezen, renowed for his wisdom, to consult him about the meaning of the oracle he had received. There, Pittheus, seeing through the oracle, managed to get him drunk and to have him sleep with his daughter Aethra, from which union Theseus was born.
  Theseus. the son of Aegeus, whom he succeeded on the throne, was indeed the most famous of the legendary kings of Athens. He freed Athens from Cretan dominion. But, above all, he unified all the villages of Attica (except Eleusis and Salamis) under a single government located in Athens, an achievement known under the name of synoecism (from a Greek word that means etymologically “bringing all the houses together”). He is said to have organized the city in three classes: noblemen, farmers and craftsmen and was honored as the father of democracy.
   Hard to locate in that succession of kings is Ion, the eponym of the Ionians, who is also listed as a king of Athens. He was a son of Erechtheus's daughter Creusa and either Apollo or the Thessalian Xouthus. After Xouthus' death Ion married Helice, the daughter of Selinus, king of Aegialus, and succeeded him at his death. He built there a city to which he gave the name of his wife and called his people “Ionians”. The last legendary king of Athens was Codrus. His father Melanthus, a descendant of Neleus, settled in Attica after being ousted from Pylos by the Heraclidae. The king of Athens at the time, a descendant of Theseus named Thymoetes, offered him his throne in reward for having volunteered to fight in single combat Xanthus, the king of Thebes to end a war between the two cities, and having defeated him. When Melanthus died, Codrus succeeded him on the throne of Athens. During his reign, the Peloponnesians waged war against Athens and were promised victory by the oracle of Delphi on condition that they not kill the king. Informed of the oracle, Codrus decided to sacrifice his life for his country and, under a disguise, provoked an ennemy patrol in the countryside, and got killed.
   One underlying theme that can be read behind these legends is the continued struggle in the history of Athens between an agrarian tradition of citizens born from, and for, the earth, represented by Athena, goddess of the mother city, of the olive-tree and the crafts, dispenser of wisdom, and a maritime aspiration, looking toward the sea and leading to imperialism, represented by Poseidon.
History of Athens' institutions
To move toward a more “historical” Athens and a description of its institutions at the time of Socrates and Plato, we may use as a thread the summary of the successive constitutions that led the city from kingship to democracy as given by Aristotle in his Constitution of the Athenians, 46. He lists 11 reforms down to and including the restoration of democracy in 403 after the short episode of the regime of the Thirty Tyrants at the end of the Peloponnesian War:
  •Ion's organization of the people in four tribes named after his four sons: Geleontes, Hopletes, Argades and Aegicores, led by a tribal king and divided each in three “thirds”.
  •Theseus' reform gathering all of Attic under one single government that was still close to monarchy.
  •Draco's reform, around 620 B. C., which led to the first written code of laws in Athens, a code mostly concerned with criminal law.
  •The reforms of Solon, who was Archon in 594-593 and had to deal with land ownership problems and the fate of those who had to make themselves slaves to pay their debts, and who refused to redistribute the land but wiped out all debts and set all citizens free in order to avoid civil war. Solon was later seen as the father of democracy and many other reforms were ascribed to him. They include laws on trade and industry; judicial reforms and the creation of the tribunal of Heliaea open to all citizens; laws on private life, weddings, funerals; a division of the citizens in four classes based on wealth measured in terms of volume of wheat crops and determining the access rights to public offices: the “Pentacosiomedimnes” or Five-Hundred-Measure Men, the wealthiest, the Horsemen, the “Zeugites” or Teamsters, so called because they owned a team of oxen (“zeugos” in Greek), and the “Thetes” or Labourers, the poorest, who had to hire their services ; the institution of a four-hundred members' council called “Boule..
  •The tyranny of Pisistratus, from about 560 till 527 B. C., punctuated by two periods of exile, followed by that of his two sons, Hippias and Hipparchus. Pisistratus seems to have been a moderate tyrant, generally abiding by the constitution, not too harsh with the aristocracy and promoting measures in favor of the poors. It is probably under his rule that the first Athenian coins, with an owl, were minted. But, above all, he undertook the building of new temples and instituted or reformed several religious festivals to give them more luster and use them as a tool to build cohesion among the citizens, including the Great Panathenaea, enriched with a competition opened to all Greece, and the Festivals of Dionysus, during which tragedies started to be played, the first being those of Thespis.
  •The constitution of Cleisthenes (508), which set the frame of Athens' institutions for the next two centuries. Cleisthenes was a member of the Alcmaeonidae family, a famed powerful family of Athens. Not much more is known about him. A key feature of Cleisthenes' reforms was to replace the four Attic tribes inherited from Ion by a new organization in ten somewhat artificail tribes. Cleisthenes' reforms were meant to bring “isonomia”, that is, equality before the law of all citizens, a further step toward democracy. Soon after was enacted the law instituting ostracism, a procedure meant to cut short the ambitions of would-be tyrants by allowing the assembly of the people to vote once a year by secret ballot on the name of a citizen that would be deprived of his civil rights and banished for ten years. The names were written on fragments of pottery (in Greek ”ostraca”, hence the name of the procedure) and at least 6000 citizens had to take part to choose between two “candidates”. It was first put in use in 488 on a relative of Cleisthenes named Hipparchus. It is also around that time that the generals (“strategoi”) began to be chosen by vote, one from each tribe, while at the same time the Archons were no longer elected, but chosen by lot.
  •The return to the fore of the Areopagus after the Persian war (480), as a result of its leadership in the face of Athens' invasion, that was seen by Aristotle as a pause in the progress toward democracy. This period coincided with the building of the Delian League under the supervision of Themistocles and Aristides reconciled by the war, and the resulting growth of the Athenian Empire. It lasted about 17 years, until...
  •The reform of Ephialtes, around 462, whose result was to deprive the Areopagus of most of its political power to transfer it to the Boule, and the popular tribunal of Heliaea. Ephialtes was soon after assassinated, but the slow progress toward democracy kept going, especially after the rise to power of Pericles, who further reduced the power of the Areopagus and introduced the misthos, a daily allowance for those seating, first at the Heliaea, then at the Council and in other tribunals.
  •The first attempt at the restoration of an oligarchic government with the revolution of the Four-Hundred in 411, as the Peloponnesian War was dragging in lenght. This new oligarchic government lasted only a few months.
  •The restoration of democracy after the failed attempt of the Four-Hundred.
  A second attempt at an oligarchic regime, which came about in 404 with the defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War and the help of Lysander, the Spartan general, and led to the tyranny of the Thirty Tyrants. This second attempt at oligarchy didn't last much longer than the previous one.
  The final restoration of democracy after the fall of the Thirty (403).
Institutions of Athens in classical times
The second part of Aristotle's Constitution of the Athenians is a detailed description of the institutions of Athens after this restoration of democracy, as they were still in force in Aristotle's time. The main features of these institutions were as follows:
  •At the heart of them all were the citizens, that together made up the demos. But not all inhabitants of Athens were citizens of Athens in that sense. Only men above 18 could be citizens, provided their father and mother's father were citizens too, they had been properly registered and accepted in their deme and had completed their military training and service.
  •Aside from women who had no right to citizenship no matter what, that left aside two categories of residents : the metics, residents aliens of free condition, mostly craftsmen and traders, and the slaves, both of whom most likely outnumbered the true citizens. The citizens were divided into four groups based on wealth : the Five-Hundred-Measure Men (“Pentacosiomedimnes”), the Horsemen (“Hippeis”), the Teamsters (“Zeugites”) and the Labourers (“Thetes”), initially to limit access to offices to the wealthiest, but over time, access to most offices was opened to members of all four groups. One could lose citizenship through atimia by showing cowardise at war, practicing dishonourable jobs such as prostitute, betraying the city, etc. but it was quite exceptionnal for non-citizens to be granted citizenship.
  All citizens could take part in the ecclesia, or Assembly, that gathered ten, then 40 times a year, on the Pnyx, a hill facing the Acropolis, from dawn to dusk. The Assembly voted the laws prepared by the Council of Five-Hundred, voted once a year ostracism, confirmed magistrates in office, discussed about defense and foreign policy, received embassies, and could hear petitions from any citizen wishing to address it on public or private matters.
  The day to day management of the city was handled in large part by the boule, or Council of Five-Hundred, composed, as the name implies, of 500 members since the reforms of Cleisthenes. Councilors (bouleutes) were chosen by lot among citizens each year, 50 in each of the 10 tribes. The fifty members of each tribe would joinly hold the presidency (prytaneia) in turn for one tenth of the year in an order defined by lot. The presiding bouleutes were called prytanes and the duration of their charge a prytany. Each day, a different prytane was chosen by lot as chairman (epistates) of the Council and Assembly for 24 hours. He would hold the keys of the treasury and archives and the seal of the city and had to sleep, along with a third of the prytanes chosen by him, in a round house, the Tholos, next to the Council Chamber alongside the agora (the market-place). No one could be elected chairman more than once during the prytany of his tribe. The powers of the boule were extensive, including executive, legislative and judicial functions. It would among other prepare the laws to be submitted to the vote of the Assembly, overlook their application, approve after scrutiny (dokimasia) elected officials, hear their account rendition at the end of their tenure, share with various elected officials the task of taking care of public buildings, streets, food supply, fleet, etc., greet embassies from other cities.
  •Elected officials were needed to take care of specific tasks in various areas. There were several hundreds of them, often elected by groups of ten, one per tribe, for any given job. Among the most important of them were :
    –The nine Archons, including the Archon Eponymus, who gave his name to the year and was sometimes simply called the Archon without other qualification, the King-Archon, or simply King (basileus), the War-Lord (polemarchos) and six “Lawgivers” (thesmothetai), and the secretary of the Lawgivers.
    –The ten Strategoi, or Generals, elected for one year, one from each tribe and reeligible without limit. From a merely military role at first, their power grew over time to foreign policy, finance and all political activity. Many of the most famous political leaders of classical Athens ruled as Strategoi.
  •Most judicial functions were exercized by the Areopagus and the Heliaea. The former was made up of all former Archons still alive and had lost most of its power after the reform of Ephialtes. The latter, which had assumed most of the judicial power as a result of this reform, owed its name to that of the building in Athens where the court was held, and was made up of 6000 ciitizens aged at least 30, the Heliasts, chosen by lot each year among volunteers at the rate of 600 per tribe, and submitted to an oath of office. The Heliasts were divided into several tribunals (dikasteria) of about 500 jurymen chosen by a elaborate lot process at the beginning of each day of business. They would hear all sorts of cases and their decision was final. They played a political role to the extent that, starting in 415, they could hear cases about the legality of a law voted by the Assembly and nullify it, in actions brought forth by any citizen.

Bernard Suzanne (page last updated 1998), ed.
This extract is cited July 2003 from the Plato and his dialogues URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.

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