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date: 31 January 2023



  • S. D. Lambert


Phratries (φρατρίαι, with dialectal variations), in Greek states, groups with hereditary membership and probably normally associated with specific localit (ies). The members were ‘phrateres’, related to words which in other *Indo-European languages mean ‘brother’. Phratry names often, but not always, had the patronymic ending -idai. The relationship between a phratry's eponym and its members, however, is largely obscure. Though the institution probably originated in the Mycenaean period or earlier, two references in *Homer's Iliad (2. 362–3 and 9. 63–4) are the earliest secure evidence.Phratries are attested in a wide range of Greek states, including *Sparta and *Argos (1) in *Dorian Greece and several *Ionian states, including *Athens. We are especially well informed about the Labyadai at *Delphi (Insc. Jur. Gr. 2 no. 28). At Argos and *Syracusephratries were subgroups of *phylai, and may also have been elsewhere, though this is nowhere securely attested in Ionian states. Phratries could contain subgroups such as the *genos.


  • Greek Law

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