- This page refers to the social group denoted by this term. For other uses, eg in sculpture, see Ephebos (disambiguation).
Ephebos (ἔφηβος) (often in the plural epheboi), also anglicised as ephebe (plural: ephebes) or archaically ephebus (plural: ephebi), is a Greek word for an adolescent age group or a social status reserved for that age in Antiquity.
Though the word can simply refer to the adolescent age of young men of training age, its main use is for the members, exclusively from that age group, of an official institution (ephebeia
) that saw to building them into citizens, but especially training them as soldiers, sometimes already sent into the field; the Greek city state
) mainly depended, as the Roman republic
before Gaius Marius
' reform, on its militia of citizens for defence.
In Rome, where the elite (mainly Patrician) were often sent to Greece or received Greek teachers, the Greek word was adopted in the latinate form ephebus
), and fixed at the 16–20 age bracket.
Sources and references
- H. Jeanmaire, Couroi et Courètes : essai sur l'éducation spartiate et sur les rites d'adolescence dans l'Antiquité hellénique, Bibliothèque universitaire, Lille, 1939 ;
- C. Pélékidis, Éphébie : histoire de l'éphébie attique, des origines à 31 av. J.-C., éd. de Boccard, Paris, 1962 ;
- O. W. Reinmuth, The Ephebic Inscriptions of the Fourth Century B.C., Leiden Brill, Leyde, 1971 ;
- P. Vidal-Naquet, « Le Chasseur noir et l'origine de l'éphébie athénienne », Le Chasseur noir. Formes de pensée et formes de société dans le monde grec, Maspéro, 1981 ;
- U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, Aristoteles: Aristoteles und Athen, 2 vol., Berlin, 1916.