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date: 29 November 2022

symmoriafree

symmoriafree

  • Friedrich M. Heichelheim
  •  and P. J. Rhodes

Subjects

  • Ancient Economy
  • Greek Law

Symmoria (‘partnership’), in Athens a group of men liable for payment of the tax called eisphora or for the liturgy of the trierarchy. In 378/7 bce all payers of eisphora were organized in 100symmoriai, for administrative convenience: each member continued to be taxed on his own property, but from a later date the three richest members of each symmoria could be made to advance the sum due from the whole symmoria as a proeisphora. In 357/6 a law of Periander extended this system to the trierarchy: the 1,200 richest citizens were grouped in 20symmoriai (probably independent of the symmoriai for eisphora, but this has been doubted), and through the symmoriai the total cost of the trierarchy each year was divided equally among all of the 1,200 except those who could claim exemption. Reforms in the trierarchic symmories were proposed by Demosthenes (2) in 354 and made by him in 340; further changes were made later. In the 330s or 320s one of the generals (stratēgoi) was placed ‘in charge of the symmoriai’, to supervise the working of the trierarchic system.

Symmoriai are found in Hellenistic Teos and in Roman Nysa (in Caria) as units of the citizen body smaller than a tribe.

Bibliography

  • Athens: R. Thomsen, Eisphora (1964).
  • E. Ruschenbusch, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 31 (1978), 275–84.
  • P. J. Rhodes, American Journal of Ancient History 1982, 1–19.
  • V. Gabrielsen, Financing the Athenian Fleet (1994).
  • Teos and Nysa: N. F. Jones, Public Organization in Ancient Greece (1987), 306–10, 358–9.