Oikoumene (Gr. οἰκουμένη) was not only a political and religious term, but first and foremost a geographical one. The Greek word οἰκουμένη means “inhabited,” a participle to which the noun γῆ, “earth,” is implied.1 Literally, oikoumene is the “inhabited earth.”
We do not know who coined this term. The geographer Agathemeros, writing during the Principate, attributed it to Anaximandros of Miletus (c. 610–547
Access to the complete content on Oxford Classical Dictionary requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription. If you are a student or academic complete our librarian recommendation form to recommend the Oxford Research Encyclopedias to your librarians for an institutional free trial.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.