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date: 27 November 2022

demes, dēmoilocked

demes, dēmoilocked

  • David Whitehead


Demes dēmo (δῆμοι), local territorial districts—villages, in effect—in Greece, and, by extension, the inhabitants or members thereof. The first of these twin meanings has been detected in the Linear B tablets, and both of them occur in *Homer (Whitehead (below), app. 1, with D. M. Lewis in O. Murray and S. Price (eds.) (1990), The Greek City 260 ff.); the first remains common thereafter, but of greater significance is the second, which at local level—*dēmos as the word for an entire citizen-body being a related but separate story—expresses the fact that a Classical or Hellenistic state's dēmoi sometimes served as its official, constitutional subdivisions, besides sustaining internally organized communal functions of their own. Jones (below) assembles evidence, mainly epigraphic, concerning one or the other or both of these roles in 24 places altogether. Some of them manifest deme systems apparently sui generis (e.g. *Calymnos, *Chalcis, *Cos, *Elis, *Eretria, *Histiaea, *Rhodes, *Stratonicea) but more than half betray the impact, direct (*cleruchies) or indirect (e.


  • Ancient Geography
  • Greek Law

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