List of Illustrations

List of Maps

Preface and Acknowledgments

How to Use This Book



Greek Weights, Measures, Coins, and the Athenian Calendar


Introduction: The Evidence for Greek History and Culture

I The Archaeological Evidence

II Coins

II The Written Evidence

1 The World of Homer

1.1 A Funeral Scene on a Dipylon Vase

1.2 The Homeric Household (Oikos)

1.5 The Measure of Happiness

1.6 A Household in Trouble

1.7 Households and Community

1.8 Homeric Leaders

1.9 Kings, Council, and Assembly

1.11 Homeric Values: Honor and Excellence

1.12 Reciprocity and Guest-Friendship (Xenia)

2 The World of Hesiod

2.1 Individual, Communal, and Divine Justice

2.2 Women and Pandora’s Jar

2.4 The Value of Labor

2.6 The Orientalizing Period

3 The Early Greek Polis (City-State) and the Ethnos

3.1 The Homeric Polis

3.3 An Early Settlement on Andros (Zagora; ca. 700)

3.5 Ancient Views of the Origins of the Polis

3.6 Ethnos: The Ionians

4 Settlements Across the Sea: Greek “Colonization”

4.1 Greek Settlements in the Western Mediterranean

4.2 The Settlement at Pithecoussae (ca. 750)

4.4 The Foundation of Cyrene (631)

4.6 Mother-City and Colony: Corinth, Corcyra, and Epidamnus (435)

4.7 Settlers and Locals

4.8 Selinus (651/0?)

5 Aristocratic Power and Attitudes

5.1 Aristocratic Power and Offices in Athens

5.3 Aristocratic Exclusiveness

5.4 Aristocratic Anxiety

6 Archaic Tyranny

6.1 How Tyrants Attained Power

6.3 Cypselus’ Tyranny in Corinth (ca. 650-625)

6.4 Periander’s Tyranny in Corinth (625-585)

6.6 A Failed Attempt at Tyranny in Athens: Cylon (632)

7 Archaic and Classical Sparta

7.2 The Messenian Wars (735-650) and the Conquered Population

7.3 The Helots

7.4 Eliminating Helots

7.5 The Krypteia

7.6 Lycurgus’ Regulations

7.8 The Spartan Government and the Great Rhetra

7.9 Spartan Kingship

7.11 The Spartan Gerousia (Council)

7.12 The Ephors

7.14 State and Family: The Scrutiny of Spartan Babies

7.15 The Schooling of Boys

7.17 Girls’ Education and Rituals

7.19 Spartan Marriage

7.20 Wife-Sharing

7.22 The Common Messes

7.24 Spartan Equality: Ideology and Reality

7.25 Courage and Cowardice in Sparta

7.26 The Peloponnesian League and Spartan Alliances

7.28 King Cleomenes, Plataea, and Athens (519) L.

8 Hoplites and Their Values

8.1 Hoplites and Their Weapons

8.2 Standing in a Phalanx Formation

8.3 Hoplite Battles

8.4 Hoplite Ideals

8.6 The Spartan or Hoplite Ideology

8.7 Hoplites and Politics

9 Archaic Athens From Draco to Solon

9.1 Draco’s Law of Homicide (621/0) U

9.3 The Background to Solon’s Legislation

9.4 Solon’s Middle-of-the-Road Policy (594)

9.6 Solon’s Economic Regulations: Land and Debts

9.8 Solon’s Political Regulations

9.9 Solon’s Judicial Regulations

9.10 olonian Polis

10 Tyranny in Athens

10.2 ns after Solon

10.3 Rivalryfor Power

10.4 stratus’ First Attempt at Tyranny (561/0)

10.5 stratus’ Second Attempt at Tyranny His Exile and Return (556-546)

10.7 Peisistratus’ Tyranny (546-528/7)

10.9 Tyranny and the Athenian Elite: The Archon List

10.10 The Athenian Tyrannicides (514/3)

10.12 The Expulsion of the Tyrants (511/0)

11 Cleisthenes and Athenian Democracy (508/7)

11.1 Cleisthenesand His Opposition

11.2 Cleisthenes Reforms (508/7)

11.4 Membership in the Deme

11.5 Ostracism (Ostrakismos)

11.7 Generalship

12 Archaic Society and Culture: Gender, Sexuality, Banquets, and Competition

12.1 Manly Youth: A Kouros

12.2 Homoerotic Couples

12.3 Courting Men and Women

12.4 Cretan Lovers

12.6 Sex, Power, and the Eurymedon Vase

12.8 The Banquet (Symposion)

12.9 Competition and the Rewards of Victory

12.11 Archaic Women: Sappho on Love

12.13 Seducing Maidens

12.15 Portraits of Wives

13 Archaic Law

14 Archaic Greek Religion

14.1 Herodotus on Homer and Hesiod’s Contribution to Greek Religion

14.3 Worship

14.4 Greek Temples and the Mysteries of Demeter in Eleusis

14.6 The Decree of Offering First-Fruits in Eleusis (420s)

15 The Ionian Revolt: Persians and Greeks

15.2 Persia and the Ionians

15.4 The Greek Tyrants at the Bridge (ca. 513)

15.6 The Causes of the Ionian Revolt (499-494)

15.8 Aristagoras’ Quest for Help in Greece (500)

15.10 The Fall of Miletus and Phrynichus’ Capture of Miletus (494)

15.11 The Change of Persian Policy in Ionia

16 The Battle of Marathon (490)

16.1 Darius Demands Surrender

16.3 The Persian Expedition and Athens’ Request for Help (490)

16.4 The Battle of Marathon (490)

16.5 An Attempt to Capture the City with Alcmeonid Aid?

16.6 The Fame of Marathon and Its Commemoration

17 The Persian War (480-479)

17.1 Greek Perspectives of the Persian War

17.3 Themistocles and His Naval Program

17.5 The Athenian Trireme

17.7 Greek Responses to Xerxes’ Invasion

17.9 The Hellenic Alliance Against Persia

17.10 The Greek Retreat from Thessaly and its Aftermath (480)

17.11 The Battle of Thermopylae (480)

17.13 The Evacuation of Athens

17.15 The Battle of Salamis (480)

17.17 The Battle of Plataea (479)

17.19 Commemorating the Battle of Plataea

17.21 The Battle of Mycale (479)

18 The Athenian Empire

18.1 Rebuilding Athens’ Walls (479/8)

18.3 Pausanias of Sparta, Athens, and the Allies

18.5 The Formation of the Delian League (478)

18.7 Cimon and the Athenian Empire: The Conquest of Eion, Scyros, Carystus, and Naxos (477/6-465)

18.9 Operations in Asia Minor and the Battle of Eurymedon (469-466)

18.11 Operations in Northern Greece (465/4-463/2)

18.12 Sparta’s Wars in the Peloponnese, the Great Helots’ Revolt, and the Mt. Ithome Affair (473-460)

18.14 The Messenians Settle Naupactus

19 Empowering Athenian Democracy (462/1-445/4)

19.1 Ephialtes’ Reforms (462/1)

19.3 Blocking Illegal Decrees (Graphê Paranomon)

19.4 Examination of State Officials (Dokimasia)

19.5 Rendering Accounts (Euthynai)

19.6 Expanding Eligibility to the Archonship

19.7 Pericles’ Democratic Measures

19.8 Democratic Mechanisms and State Salary (Misthos

19.9 Criticism of State Salaries

19.11 Pericles’ Citizenship Law (451/0)

19.13 Pericles and Thucydides Son of Melesias

20 War and Peace in Greece (461/0-437/6)

20.1 Athens’ Clash with Corinth Over Megara (461/0)

20.3 The Athenian Expedition to Egypt (460)

20.5 Athens Campaigns on Several Fronts (460-459)

20.7 The Long Walls (458)

20.9 The Battle of Tanagra (458)

20.11 The Peace of Callias (450?)

20.13 The Peloponnesian Invasion of Attica (446)

20.15 The Thirty-Year Peace Between Athens and Sparta (446/5)

20.17 Athenian Colonization and the Colony of Brea (447-445)

20.18 A Hippodamian City Plan

20.20 The Foundation of Amphipolis (437/6)

21 The Administration of the Empire and the Athenian Tribute Quota Lists

21.1 The Cleinias Decree

21.2 The Tribute Quota List of 453/2

21.3 The Erythraean Decree (453/2)

21.5 The Samian Revolt (441/0-440/39)

21.6 Allies’ Attitudes Toward the Empire

22 The City of Athens

23 The Sophists, Athenian Democracy, and Democracy’s Critics

23.1 The Sophists’ View of Justice

23.2 Right and Might

23.3 Justice and Expediency

23.4 Sophocles’ Antigone and the Debate with the Sophists

23.5 Tyranny and Democracy in Euripides’ Suppliant Women

23.7 Criticizing Democracy

24 The Causes of the Peloponnesian War and the Athenian and Spartan Strategies

24.1 Thucydides’ View of the Causes of the Peloponnesian War

24.3 The Megarian Decree (432?), Corinthian Pressure, and Spartan Demands

24.5 The Spartan (Archidamian) Strategy

24.7 The “Periclean Strategy”

25 The Peloponnesian War: The Archidamian War (431-421)

25.1 Athens and the Plague

25.3 Pericles’ Political Successors

25.5 Nicias and Cleon

25.7 The Pylos Campaign (425)

25.9 Brasidas

25.11 The Peace of Nicias (421)

26 Finances and Allies During the Archidamian War

26.1 A Spartan War Fund

26.2 Athenian Finance: Raising the Property Tax (Eisphora)

26.3 Raising the Tribute: The Thudippus Decree

26.5 Special Treatment: The Methone Decrees

26.6 The Athenian Coinage, Weights, and Measures Decree

27 The Uneasy Peace and the Sicilian Expedition (421-413)

27.1 Alcibiades

27.3 Egesta and the Origins of the Sicilian Expedition (416)

27.5 The Athenians’ Goals in Sicily

27.7 The Herms and Mysteries Affairs

27.9 Alcibiades Escapes to Sparta

27.11 Sparta Enters the War

27.13 The Athenian Defeat in Sicily

28 The Peloponnesian War: The Decelean War (413-404)

28.1 The Spartan Occupation of Decelea (413)

28.2 Sparta’s Maritime Strategy and Persia

28.4 The Athenian Oligarchy of 411

28.6 Ransoming Captives and the Selymbrian Decree (408-407)

28.8 Cyrus the Younger and Lysander of Sparta

28.10 The Arginusae Affair (406/5)

28.12 Athens’ Defeat and the End of the Peloponnesian War (405/4)

28.13 Honoring the Victor

29 The Rule of the Thirty, the Athenian Amnesty, and Socrates’ Trial

29.1 The Establishment of the Rule of the Thirty (404)

29.2 The Thirty Tyrants

29.3 The Fall of the Thirty (403)

29.5 The Spartans’ Grave at Athens and the Athenian Amnesty (403)

29.7 Socrates’ Trial (399)

30 Sparta After the Peloponnesian War: Politics, Wealth, and Demography

30.1 The Accession of Agesilaus II (400)

30.2 The Cinadon Conspiracy (400/399)

30.3 Empire and Wealth in Sparta

30.4 Epitadeus’ Law (?) and the Shortage of Men (Oliganthropia)

30.5 Princess Cynisca

31 The Spartan Hegemony, the Corinthian War, and the Peace of Antalcidas (404/3-388/7)

31.1 Sparta and Persia

31.3 Agesilaus’ Asian Campaign and Lysander’s Demotion

31.5 The Outbreak of the Corinthian War (395)

31.7 The Loss of Spartan Maritime Hegemony (394)

31.9 The Dexileus Monument

31.10 Peltasts and the Battle of Lechaeum (390)

31.12 The Peace of Antalcidas (388/7) M

31.14 The Call for a Panhellenic Campaign Against Persia

32 From the Peace of Antalcidas (388/7) to the Battle of Leuctra and Its Aftermath (371)

32.1 The Boeotian Federation in the Fourth Century

32.3 Sparta Dissolves Greek Federations in the Name of Autonomy

32.5 Spartan Occupation of the Cadmea (Citadel) of Thebes (382)

32.7 The Sphodrias Affair (379/8)

32.9 The Formation of the Second Athenian League (378/7)

32.10 Desiring Peace

32.11 The Common Peace of 371

32.12 The Sacred Band

32.13 The Battle of Leuctra (371)

32.15 The Foundation of Messene (370/69)

32.16 The Dissolution of the Peloponnesian League (365)

33 Jason of Pherae (?-370)

34 The Second Athenian League and Theban Hegemony

34.1 Athens’ Treatment of Chalcis (Euboea) and the Island of Paros (378/7-372)

34.2 Athens’ Colonization of Samos (365)

34.3 Athens’ Treatment of Arcesine (Amorgus; ca. 357/6)

34.5 The Theban Hegemony: A Theban Common Peace (367)

34.6 Thebes’ Treatment of Orchomenus (364)

34.8 The Battle of Mantinea (II; 362)

35 Running the Athenian Polis: Politics, Finances, Grain, and Trade in the Fourth Century

35.1 The Restored Athenian Democracy: Laws and Decrees

35.2 The Fourth-Century Assembly and Council

35.4 Fourth-Century Democratic Leadership

35.6 The Jury Courts

35.7 State Revenues and Taxation

35.9 Liturgies

35.10 Lightening the Burden: The Antidosis

35.11 The Theoric Fund

35.12 Financing Military Operations

35.13 The Grain Import

35.15 A Law of Coinage Certification

35.16 A Maritime Contract

36 Metics (Resident Aliens), Slaves, and Barbarians

37 Masculine and Feminine Gender in Classical Athens

37.1 Manly Ideals: The Ephebic Oath

37.2 The Manly Body

37.3 The Unmanly Man

37.5 Violence and Men in Love

37.6 Artisans and Manual Laborers

37.7 Men, Women, and the Household

37.8 Wives and Mothers

37.9 A Woman’s Lot

37.10 Running the Household

37.12 Virtuous and Unfaithful Women

38 Philip II of Macedonia (359-336)

38.1 Philip’s Accession and Challenges to his Rule (359)

38.3 Philip’s Military Reforms and Coinage

38.4 Philip’s Court: Companions and Royal Boys (Pages)

38.5 Philip’s Wives

38.6 Philip and the Third Sacred War (356-346)

38.8 Demosthenes’ War Plan Against Philip (352/1)

38.9 Philip’s Capture of Olynthus (348)

38.11 The Peace of Philocrates and the End of the Third Sacred War (346)

38.13 Athens Proclaims War on Philip (340)

38.15 The Battle of Chaeronea (338)

38.17 Philip and the Greeks after Chaeronea (338-336)

38.19 The Murder of Philip II (336) and the Royal Tombs at Vergina

39 Alexander the Great (336-323)

39.1 The Destruction of Thebes (335)

39.2 Alexander in Asia Minor (334-333)

39.4 The Battle of Issus (333)

39.6 Alexander Visits the Oracle of Ammon at Siwa (332/1) M

39.8 Fire in Persepolis (331-330)

39.9 Conspiracy in Court: The Philotas Affair (330)

39.10 Alexander Kills the Veteran General Cleitus (328)

39.11 Alexander Turns “Asian”

39.13 Victory in India (326)

39.14 Alexander, the Macedonians, Iranians, and the Opis Mutiny

39.16 Alexander and the Exiles Decree (324)

39.17 Alexander’s Death


Index of Ancient Sources

General Index

Blackwell Sourcebooks in Ancient History

This series presents readers with new translations of the raw material of ancient history. It provides direct access to the ancient world, from wars and power politics to daily life and entertainment, allowing readers to discover the extraordinary diversity of ancient societies.


The Ancient Near East
Edited Mark W. Chavalas

The Roman Games
Alison Futrell

Alexander the Great
Waldemar Heckel and J. C. Yardley

The Hellenistic Period
Roger Bagnall and Peter Derow

Ancient Greek Religion
Emily Kearns

Ancient Greece from Homer to Alexander
Joseph Roisman; translations by J. C. Yardley

In Preparation

Sexuality in the Classical World
Holt Parker



Figure I.1 The Toumba Building
Figure I.2 Exekias Vase with Ajax and Achilles
Figure I.3 A silver tetradrachm from Memphis, Egypt, 332-323
Figure 1.1 A funeral scene on a Dipylon Vase
Figure 2.1 A griffin jug from Aegina
Figure 3.1 The settlement in Zagora, Andros
Figure 4.1 Selinus site plan
Figure 7.1 An Archaic bronze figurine of a young Spartan female, dressed as a runner
Figure 7.2 The Symposion of Five Cup, ca. 565
Figure 8.1 A soldier on the frieze of the Vix Krater, ca. 530-520
Figure 8.2 The Chigi Vase, ca. 640
Figure 10.1 The statues of Harmodius and Aristogeiton
Figure 11.1 Ostraka with inscription: “Themistocles, son of Neocles”
Figure 12.1 A kouros
Figure 12.2 The Peithinus Cup: male couples
Figure 12.3 The Peithinus Cup: young men and women
Figure 12.4 The Eurymedon Vase
Figure 12.5 A banquet scene, Paestum, Italy
Figure 12.6 A Panathenaic oil jar
Figure 14.1 The Macron Cup with Triptolemus
Figure 16.1 The mound at Marathon
Figure 17.1 The Lenormant Relief of a trireme in the Acropolis Museum
Figure 17.2 Olympia, a reconstruction of a classical trireme
Figure 17.3 The battle plan of Salamis
Figure 20.1 Miletus city plan
Figure W22.1 The Lysicrates monument
Figure 25.1 Plan of a mass burial in the Kerameikos
Figure 25.2 A Spartan shield from Pylos
Figure 27.1 Nolan amphora by the Micon Painter showing a Herm
Figure 29.1 The Spartan tomb in the Kerameikos
Figure 31.1 The Dexileus Monument
Figure 31.2 A Thracian peltast
Figure 32.1 A Boeotian federal coin
Figure 32.2 Eirene with Wealth (Plutus)
Figure 32.3 Messene’s walls
Figure 35.1 A juror’s token (pinakion)
Figure 35.2 A counterfeit coin
Figure 37.1 A Roman copy of Polyclitus, Doryphoros
Figure 37.2 A hydria by the Munich Painter with a domestic scene
Figure 38.1 The metal parts of a sarissa: spearhead, butt-spike, and connecting socket
Figure 38.2 Plan of an Olynthian house
Figure 38.3 Plan of the battle of Chaeronea
Figure 38.4 The Philippeum
Figure 38.5 A reconstruction of the face of Tomb II, Vergina
Figure 39.1 The Alexander Mosaic
Figure 39.2 The Porus medallion


Map 0.1 Greece and the Aegean
Map 4.1 Greek settlements in the west
Map 11.1 The Athenian demes: Attica political organization
Map 17.1 Xerxes’ expedition
Map 20.1 The Long Walls
Map 25.1 Pylos and Sphacteria
Map 27.1 Ancient Sicily
Map 38.1 Ancient Macedonia
Map 39.1 Alexander’s campaigns, 334-323

Preface and Acknowledgments

The aim of this book is to acquaint the reader with the main evidence for Greek history from Homer and the end of the Dark Age to Alexander the Great (ca. 800–323 BCE). Although the editor hopes to have covered diverse political, social, and cultural aspects of Archaic and Classical Greece, he does not strive to be exhaustive or to provide a substitute for a textbook on the subject. Indeed, much of the volume deals with the Greek mainland and is less concerned with Greeks in the western Mediterranean. Similarly, the bibliography of modern scholarship at the end of each chapter does not aim to be comprehensive but is limited to works in English, with a clear preference for more recent publications. (Only the author and the year of publication are given in these bibliographical notes. Fuller details can be found in the References at the end of the book.) Finally, the selection of the evidence may at times reflect the personal interests of the editor. Yet an attempt was made to create a continuity of themes and processes by placing the evidence in a broader historical context and by linking various documents together. A companion website provides further evidence and explanations in addition to those offered here as well as links to relevant online sites.

The volume is the collaborative work of Joseph Roisman, who has selected, introduced, and annotated the evidence, and John Yardley, who translated nearly all of the texts from their Greek and Latin originals. All dates in this book are BCE unless otherwise noted. Dates of key events are given in the timeline at the front of the book and in parentheses in the text. Frequently dates show an overlap of two consecutive years (e.g., 455/4); this is due to the difficulty of matching the modern calendar year with the Athenian one, which began around July. Square brackets indicate editorial comments and modern restorations of words and lines in inscriptions. They also enclose authors whose identity is in doubt. Greek names are Latinized to promote accessibility, although some inconsistency is not always avoidable. The transliteration of Greek terms includes an accent only where necessary to distinguish the term’s pronunciation from English usage.

Acknowledgment is due to previous publications that have been helpful in the preparation of this book, especially to E. David, The Classical Democracy (Jerusalem, 2003; Hebrew); M. Dillon and L. Garland, Ancient Greece: Social and Historical Documents from Archaic Times to the Death of Socrates (c.800–399 BC), 2nd ed. (London and New York, 2000); and P.J. Rhodes, A History of the Classical Greek World: 478–323 BC (Malden, MA, 2006). The editor and translator are equally grateful to the anonymous readers of the manuscript for their most helpful comments. We also wish to thank Al Bertrand, Haze Humbert, Brigitte Lee Messenger, and Louise Butler of Wiley-Blackwell for their assistance.

This book is dedicated to Hanna, Elad, and Shalev Roisman, to my mentor Professor Zeev W. Rubinsohn and his wife Nadia, and to the memory of Iolo Davies.

How to Use This Book

The following book is divided into chapters, which in turn are divided into sections. Chapters and sections are labeled and titled individually. For example, Chapter 1 is titled “The World of Homer,” and section 7 within it, labeled 1.7, is titled “Household and Community.” For the sake of clarity, cross-references to documents outside the chapter include the section title where appropriate, for example, “see 1.7 (‘Household and Community’).”

The book is accompanied by a website available at that includes supplementary written and electronic material. The labeling of the documents on the web corresponds to as well as complements that of the book. To facilitate the identification of web documents and links, every web section or chapter is accompanied by the icon . In the contents list, this icon distinguishes items on the web from items in the book. For example, the web section “ 1.10 A Trial Scene” follows “1.9 Kings, Council, and Assembly,” which appears in the book. Cross-references in the book to items on the web identify them using the term “WEB” followed, where appropriate, by the section title, for example, “see WEB 9.2 (‘Draco’s Harsh Laws’).” Cross-references on the web to sections in the book are prefixed by the label “BOOK.”


AJA American Journal of Archaeology
AJP American Journal of Philology
Ath. Pol. Aristotle (?), Athenaion Politeia (“The Constitution of the Athenians”)
CAH Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd and 3rd eds.
Campbell Campbell, D.A., ed. 1989–1993. Greek Lyric (Loeb Classical Library). 5 vols. Cambridge, MA
CJ Classical Journal
ClAnt Classical Antiquity
CPh Classical Philology
CQ Classical Quarterly
DK Diels, H. and W. Kranz. 1960–1961. Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker 10 (Diels-Kranz). Berlin
F, FF, fr., frs. fragment(s)
FGrHist Jacoby, F., ed. 1957–1969. Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker. 18 vols. Leiden
Fornara Fornara, C.W., ed. 1983. Archaic Times to the End of the Peloponnesian War. 2nd ed. Cambridge
G&R Greece & Rome
Gerber Gerber, D.E., trans. 1999. Greek Elegiac Poetry: From the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries BC (Loeb Classical Library). Cambridge, MA
GRBS Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies
Harding Harding, P., ed. 1985. From the End of the Peloponnesian War to the Battle of Ipsus. Cambridge
HSCP Harvard Studies in Classical Philology
IG Inscriptiones Graecae
Jensen Jensen, Chr. 1963. Hyperides: Orationes. Stuttgart
JHS Journal of Hellenic Studies
LP Lobel, E. and D.L. Page, eds. 1955. Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta. Oxford
ML Meiggs, R. and D. Lewis, eds. 1988. A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions to the End of the Fifth Century. Rev. ed. Oxford
Page Page, D., ed. 1962. Poetae Melici Graeci. Oxford
R&O Rhodes, P.J. and R. Osborne, eds. 2003. Greek Historical Inscriptions: 404–323 BC. Oxford
Radt Radt, S., ed., 1977. Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, vol. 4: Sophocles. Gottingen
SEG Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum
TAPhA Transactions of the American Philological Association
Tod Tod, M.N., ed. 1985. Greek Historical Inscriptions: From the Sixth Century BC to the Death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC . 2 vols. Reprint. Chicago
West West, M.L. 1989–1992. Iambi et Elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum Cantati. 2 vols. Oxford
YCS Yale Classical Studies
ZPE Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik


Agon Contest
Antidosis Group of states that supervised Apollo’s sanctuary at Delphi
Apoikia “Giving in exchange”: a legal procedure aiming to transfer a costly public duty (liturgy) to an allegedly richer man
Apoikia Independent settlement abroad
Archon Chief Athenian official
Areopagus Athenian council of former archons that served as a homicide court and, up to the 460s, supervised public officials
Aretê Excellence; valor
Basileus King; chieftain; Athenian archon who managed religious affairs
Boeotarch Senior magistrate in the Boeotian League
Boulê Council
Choregy Public service by rich citizens that involved producing and financing performances in Athenian festivals
Cleruchy Athenian colony
Common Peace Peace agreement among Greeks imposed by hegem-onic power(s)
Decarchy Government of ten men supported by the Spartans
Demagogue Popular leader; leader of the people
Demos The people; commoners; democracy; township (deme)
Dikasterion Jury court
Dikê Justice; private legal action
Dionysia Athenian festival in honor of Dionysus that included dramatic performances
Dokimasia Examination of an individual’s eligibility for office or Citizenship
Eisangelia Legal procedure of impeachment against officials or leaders
Eisphora Property tax designed to finance military projects
Ekklesia Popular citizens’ assembly
Eleutheria Freedom
Ephebes Young adults trained by the state in the military and good citizenship
Ephors Annual magistrates in Sparta
Erastês “Lover,” the elder partner in a homosexual relationship
Eromenos “Beloved,” the younger partner in a homosexual relationship
Ethnos People, tribal state
Eunomia Good order
Euthynai (pl.) Giving of accounts by officials at the end of their term in office
Gerousia Spartan council of elders
Graphê Public legal action
Graphê paranomon Legal action against decrees that allegedly contradicted existing laws
Harmost Spartan governor and commander of a garrison
Heliaea “People’s Court,” the largest court in Athens under the presidency of the Thesmothetae (“Lawgivers”)
Hellenotamiai (pl.) Treasurers of the Greeks: Athenian officials who collected the allies’ tributes
Helots People of servile status in Sparta
Hetaira “Female companion,” courtesan
Hetaireia Companionship
Hetairoi (pl.) Companions of Homeric and Macedonian kings
Hippeis Cavalry; the second richest class in Solon’s system
Homoioi (pl.) “Similar ones,” Spartan full citizens
Hoplites Heavy infantrymen
Isegoria The equal right to speak in public
Isonomia Equality before the law
Kaloi k’agathoi (pl.) “The beautiful and good,” description of the elite
Kleros Plot of land
Koinon League, federation
Krypteia Killing of helots by stealth
Kyrios Head of household; husband; male guardian
Liturgy Rich man’s tax designed to finance festivals (choregy) or the upkeep of a battleship (trierarchy)
Medism Supporting or collaborating with the Persian enemy
Metic Resident alien
Nomos (pl. nomoi) Law(s), convention(s)
Oikistês Leader of a new settlement; founder
Oikos Household; family
Oliganthropia Shortage of men (especially in Sparta)
Ostracism Voting a citizen to ten-year exile
Panathenaea Athenian festival in honor of Athena
Parrhesia The right to speak one’s mind in a public forum
Perioeci (perioikoi) “Dwellers around”: Sparta’s free subjects who provided the state with military and economic services
Phoros “Tribute,” the allies’ payment to the Delian League
Phratry “Brotherhood,” a social and religious association
Phylê Tribe
Polemarch Military leader/magistrate
Polis City-state
Politeia Government, constitution
Proskynesis Obeisance performed in sanctuaries or for Persian superiors
Prytany One-tenth of the Athenian year. During this term, fifty prytanies (presidents) per tribe presided over the Council and the assembly. The Prytaneum was the town hall
Psephisma Decree
Pythia Apollo’s priestess at the oracle at Delphi
Rhetores (pl.) Orators, public speakers, and leaders
Rhetra “Utterance,” Spartan law
Sacred Band Theban elite military unit
Sarissa Pike used in particular by the Macedonian phalanx
Sophists Teachers of wisdom, experts
Sophrosynê Self-control, moderation
Stasis Civil conflict within a city-state
Strategos General (an elected official in Athens)
Symposion “Drinking together,” a banquet
Synedrion A league’s council
Syssition “Sitting together,” a common mess
Theoric Fund Athenian fund for civilian projects such as festivals
Thirty, the Oligarchic government in Athens (404-403)
Trierarchy Public service by rich citizens that involved financing a warship (trireme) for one year
Trireme Galley whose oarsmen sat in three rows
Tyrant (tyrannos) Non-elected ruler or a man who ruled contrary to tradition
Xenia, proxenia Guest-friendship

Greek Weights, Measures, Coins, and the Athenian Calendar


Cotylê: cup, ca. ¼ liter

Choinix (pl. choinikes): Four cups, ca. 1 liter

Medimnos: “measure,” ca. 1.5 bushels or 52 liters of grain. 1 liquid medimnos = 48 choinikes

Chous: ca. 3.25 liters

Mina: ca. 0.4 kilogram or 1 pound


Pechys: (Latin cubit) = ca. 45 cm (18 inches)

Stadion: stade, ca. 180 m or ca. 590 ft


1 drachma = 6 obols

1 stater = 2 drachmas

1 (Athenian) mina = 100 drachmas

1 talent = 60 minas = 6,000 drachmas

The Athenian Calendar

The Athenian calendar was lunar and the Attic year began in the summer.

Hecatombaeon – July/August

Metageitnion – August/September

Boedromion – September/October

Pyanepsion – October/November

Maemacterion – November/December

Poseideon – December/January

Gamelion – January/February

Anthesterion – February/March

Elaphebolion – March/April

Mounychion – April/May

Thargelion – May/June

Scirophorion – June/July


ca.3000-1200 BCE Bronze Age Greece
ca. 1260 Trojan War
ca. 1200-800/700 Dark Age
800/700-500 Archaic Age
776 First Olympic Games
ca. 750 Foundation of Pithecoussae
ca. 735-650 Sparta’s Messenian Wars
ca. 651/0 Foundation of Selinus
ca. 650-625 Cypselus’ tyranny in Corinth
632 Cylon’s attempt at tyranny in Athens
631 Foundation of Cyrene
625-585 Periander’s tyranny in Corinth
621/0 Draco’s legislation
594/3 Solon’s archonship
ca. 580/575-530 Cyrus the Great of Persia
561/0 Peisistratus’ first tyranny at Athens
560-546 Croesus of Lydia
ca. 557-530 Reign of Cyrus the Great of Persia
556 Peisistratus’ second tyranny at Athens
ca. 550 Sparta’s war against Tegea
ca. 547 Cyrus’ defeat of Croesus of Lydia
546/5-528/7 Peisistratus’ third tyranny at Athens
528/7-511/0 Hippias’ and Hipparchus’ tyranny at Athens
522-486 Darius (I) the Great of Persia
ca. 520-490/89 Cleomenes I
513 Darius’ Scythian expedition
500-338/323 Classical Age
519 Plataea’s alliance with Athens
514/3 Tyrannicides Harmodius and Aristogeiton
511/0 Expulsion of Hippias from Athens
508/7 Cleisthenes’ reforms at Athens
499-494 Ionian Revolt
490 Battle of Marathon
486-465 Xerxes I of Persia
483 Themistocles’ shipbuilding program
480-479 Xerxes’ invasion of Greece: battles of Artemisium, Thermopylae, and Salamis
479 Battles of Plataea and Mycale
478 Formation of the Delian League
477/6 Cimon’s capture of Eion
476/5 Cimon’s capture of Scyros
474-470 Pausanias’ recall to Sparta
ca. 472 Carystus joins the Delian League
471/0 Themistocles’ ostracism
469-466 Battle of Eurymedon
465-424 Artaxerxes I of Persia
465/4-463/2 Thasos’ revolt
ca. 465 Naxos joins the Delian League
464-460 Helots’ revolt and Mt. Ithome
462/1 Ephialtes’ reforms
461/0 Athens’ clash with Corinth over Megara
460 Athenian expedition to Egypt
458 Building of Athens’ Long Walls; battle of Tanagra
454/3 First tribute quota list; transfer of league’s treasury to Athens
453/2 Erythraean decree
451 Five years’ peace
451/0 Pericles’ citizenship law
450? Peace of Callias
448/7-426/5 Cleinias decree
447-445 Foundation of Brea
447-432 Building of the Parthenon
446/5 Peloponnesian invasion of Attica; the Thirty-Year Peace
444/3 Foundation of Thurii
441/0 Samian Revolt
437/6 Foundation of Amphipolis
436-433 Epidamnus affair
433-432 Potidaea affair
432? Megarian decree
432/1-424/3 Methone decree
431-404 Peloponnesian War
431-421 Archidamian War
430-426 Plague at Athens
428-427 Mytilenean Revolt
425/4 Pylos campaign; Thudippus decree; coinage decree
424 Brasidas’ capture of Amphipolis; Thucydides’ exile
424-404 Darius II (Ochus) of Persia
422 Death of Brasidas and Cleon in Amphipolis
421 Peace of Nicias
418 Battle of Mantinea (I)
416 Melos’ revolt; Egesta’s request for Athenian aid
415-413 Sicilian expedition; Alcibiades’ exile
415 Herms and Mysteries affairs
413-404 The Decelean War
411 Oligarchy at Athens
407 Selymbrian decree
407/6 Lysander’s victory at Notium; Alcibiades’ second exile
406/5 Arginusae affair
405 Battle of Aegospotami
405-359 Artaxerxes II of Persia
404 Athens’ surrender and the end of the Peloponnesian War
404-403 The rule of the Thirty at Athens
403 Amnesty at Athens and restoration of democracy
400-360/59 Agesilaus II of Sparta
400-399 Expedition of Cyrus the Younger; Cinadon’s conspiracy
399 Socrates’ trial
396-394 Agesilaus in Asia Minor
395-387/6 Corinthian War
394 Battle of Cnidus
390 Battle of Lechaeum
388/7 Peace of Antalcidas
382 Spartan occupation of the Cadmea
379/8 Sphodrias’ attempt to capture Piraeus
378/7 Formation of the second Athenian League
375/7 Coinage certification decree
374/3 Agyrrhius’ decree
371 Battle of Leuctra
370/69 Foundation of Messene
367 Theban common peace
365 Dissolution of the Peloponnesian League; Athens’ colonization of Samos
364 Thebes’ destruction of Orchomenus
362 Battle of Mantinea II
359-336 Philip II of Macedonia
359-338 Artaxerxes III of Persia
357-355 Social War
356-346 Third Sacred War
352 Battle of the Crocus Field
348 Philip’s capture of Olynthus
346 Peace of Philocrates
340 Athens and Philip at war
338 Battle of Chaeronea
ca. 338-330 Darius III of Persia
336 Philip II’s death
336-323 Alexander (III) the Great
335 Destruction of Thebes
334 Alexander’s invasion of Asia Minor and the battle of the Granicus
333 Battle of Issus
332/1 Alexander visits the Oracle of Ammon at Siwa
331 Battle of Gaugamela
330 Alexander at Persepolis
326 Alexander’s invasion of India
324 Opis mutiny
323 Alexander’s death

Map 0.1 Map of Greece and the Aegean.