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date: 28 January 2023



  • Emily Kearns


Eponymoi are those, usually gods or heroes, after whom something is named or thought to be named. Most frequently place-names—regions or cities—are considered to be named from an eponymous hero, such as Arcas for Arcadia, or the heroine Sparte/Sparta for the city of the same name. Historical characters also gave their names to cities (Antioch, Alexandria). The phenomenon was common all over the Greek world and also in Roman Italy.Divisions of the populace also had heroic eponyms. In Athens, the eponymoi (with no further qualification) were the ten heroes who gave their names to the ten Cleisthenic tribes created in 508/7bce (see cleisthenes(2); phylai). These heroes, who were said to have been picked by *Delphi from a list of a hundred submitted, all had separate, presumably pre-existing cults, to which members of the new tribes gradually became in some measure attached; they had also, apparently, a collective cult in the Agora (see athens, topography), where statues of the ten were situated and tribal notices posted.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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