deme

deme

[deem]
Greek demos

In ancient Greece, a country district or village, as distinct from a polis. In the democratic reforms (508–507 BC) promoted by Cleisthenes, the demes of Attica (the area around Athens) gained a voice in local and state government. The Attic demes had their own police powers, cults, and officials. Males aged 18 years became registered members of the deme. Members decided deme matters and kept property records for taxation. Each deme sent representatives to the Athenian boule in proportion to its size. The term continued to be applied to local districts in Hellenistic and Roman times.

Learn more about deme with a free trial on Britannica.com.

In Ancient Greece, a deme (δῆμος) was a subdivision of Attica, the region of Greece surrounding Athens. Demes as simple subdivisions of land in the countryside seem to have existed in the 6th century BC and earlier, but did not acquire particular significance until the reforms of Cleisthenes in 508 BC. In those reforms, enrollment in the citizen-lists of a deme became the requirement for citizenship; prior to that time, citizenship had been based on membership in a phratry, or family group. At this same time, demes were established in the city of Athens itself, where they had not previously existed; in all, at the end of Cleisthenes' reforms, Attica was divided into 139 demes. The establishment of demes as the fundamental units of the state weakened the gene, or aristocratic family groups, that had dominated the phratries.

A deme functioned to some degree as a polis in miniature, and indeed some demes, such as Eleusis and Acharnae, were in fact significant towns. Each deme had a demarchos who supervised its affairs; various other civil, religious, and military functionaries existed in various demes. Demes held their own religious festivals and collected and spent revenue.

Demes were combined with other demes from the same area to make trittyes, larger population groups, which in turn were combined to form the ten tribes, or phyles of Athens. Each tribe contained one trittys from each of three regions, the city, the coast, and the inland area.

List of Athenian demes according to tribes/phylai

Erechthides

Upper Agryle
Lower Agryle
Anagyrous
Euonymon
Themakos
Kedoi
Kephisia
Upper Lamptrai
Lower Lamptrai
Pambotadai
Upper Pergase
Lower Pergase
Phegous

Aegides

Upper Ankyle
Lower Ankyle
Araphen
Halai Araphenides
Bate
Gargettos
Diomeia
Hestiaia
Erikeia
Erchia
Ikarion
Ionidai
Kollytos
Kolonus
Kydantidai
Myrrhinoutta
Otryne
Plotheia
Teithras
Phegaia
Philaidai

Pandionides

Angele
Konthyle
Kydathenaion
Kytheros
Myrrhinous
Oa
Prasiai
Probalinthos
Upper Paiania
Lower Paiania
Steiria

Leontides

Aithalidai
Halimous
Deiradiotai
Hecale
Eupyridai
Kettos
Kolonai
Kropidai
Leukonion
Oion Kerameikon
Paionidai
Pelekes
Upper Potamos
Lower Potamos
Potamioi-Deiradiotai
Skambonidai
Sounion
Hybadai
Phrearrhioi
Cholleidai

Acamantides

Hagnous
Eiresidai
Eitea
Hermos
Iphistiadai
Thorikos
Kerameis
Kephale
Kikynna
Kyrteidai
Poros
Prospalta
Sphettos
Cholargos

Oenides

Acharnai
Boutadai
Epikephisia
Thria
Hippotomadai
Kothokidai
Lakiadai
Lousia
Oe
Perithoidai
Ptelea
Tyrmeidai
Phyle

Cecropides

Athmonon
Aixone
Halai
Daidalidai
Epieikidai
Melite
Xypete
Pithos
Sypalettos
Trinemeia
Phlya

Hippothoontides

Azenia
Hamaxanteia
Anakaia
Auridai
Acherdous
Dekeleia
Elaious
Eleusis
Eroiadai
Thymaitadai
Keiriadai
Koile
Kopros
Korydallos
Oenoe (of the west)
Oion Dekeleikon
Peiraeus

Æantides

Aphidna
Marathon
Oenoe (of the east)
Rhamnous
Trikorynthos
Phaleron

Antiochides

Aigilia
Alopeke
Amphitrope
Anaphlystos
Atene
Besa
Eitea
Eroidai
Ergadeis
Thorai
Kolonai
Krioa
Leukopyra
Pallene
Semachidai
Phyrrhinesioi

Later usage

The term deme (dēmos) survived into the Hellenistic and Roman eras. By the time of the Byzantine Empire, the term was used to refer to one of the four chariot racing factions, the Reds, the Blues, the Greens and the Whites.

In modern Greece, the term dēmos is used to denote the municipalities.

References

  • Fine, John V.A. The Ancient Greeks: A critical history (Harvard University Press, 1983). ISBN 0-674-03314-0.
  • Hornblower, Simon, and Anthony Spawforth ed., The Oxford Classical Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2003). ISBN 0-19-866172-X.
  • Suzanne, Bernard (1998). plato-dialogues.org, "Attic Tribes and Demes" Accessed August 1, 2006.

Footnotes

Search another word or see demeon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;