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date: 15 June 2024



  • Theodore John Cadoux
  •  and P. J. Rhodes


Associations of hetairoi (‘comrades’). In some, perhaps most, *Cretan cities the citizens were grouped in hetaireiai as part of the military system; each had its table in the city's andreion (‘men's mess’: cf. the messes, *syssitia, at *Sparta). There is some evidence for the use of the words hetairos and hetaireia by associations of a wholly private character, as professional guilds. However, the hetaireiai best known to us are associations in Athens, particularly of young, upper-class men, which combined a social function with a political: the furtherance of the ambitions of their leading members, and mutual assistance in the lawcourts and at elections. They are sometimes called synōmosiai, ‘sworn groups’, from the oaths of loyalty which might be required. The mutilation of the *herms in 415 bce was said to be the work of a hetaireia to which *Andocides belonged; and the informal political activity which led to the oligarchic regimes of the *Four Hundred in 411 and the *Thirty Tyrants in 404 was conducted in part through the hetaireiai.


  • Gender Studies
  • Greek History and Historiography

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