Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-78dcdb465f-6zfdk Total loading time: 0.245 Render date: 2021-04-17T21:51:48.033Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2015

Thomas Hooper
Peterhouse, Cambridge
E-mail address:


Ἀϱχέδημος ὁ τοῦ δήμου τότε πϱοεστηκὼς ἐν Ἀθήναις καὶ τῆς διωβελίας ἐπιμελόμενος Ἐϱασινίδῃ ἐπιβολὴν ἐπιβαλὼν κατηγόϱει ἐν δικαστηϱίῳ, ϕάσκων ἐξ Ἑλλησπόντου αὐτὸν ἔχειν χϱήματα ὄντα τοῦ δήμου· κατηγόϱει δὲ καὶ πεϱὶ τῆς στϱατηγίας. καὶ ἔδοξε τῷ δικαστηϱίῳ δῆσαι τὸν Ἐϱασινίδην.

Archedemus, who at that time was leader of the dēmos in Athens and overseer of the diōbelia, brought an accusation before a jury-court that a fine should be imposed on Erasinides, claiming that he had in his possession money from the Hellespont which belonged to the dēmos; he also brought an accusation against him concerning his generalship. It was decided by the jury-court to fetter Erasinides.

(Xenophon, Hellenica 1.7.2)
Moses Finley once remarked, apropos of Cleon, that ‘this man led Athens for several years after the death of Pericles, but Thucydides gives him four appearances only, one of them restricted to a single sentence and one a speech. The picture that emerges is complete and dramatic—but is it right? We do not know’. To penetrate beyond the Thucydidean portrait—and the Aristophanic caricature that buttresses it—is a complex and challenging exercise, but that has not stopped numerous scholars from attempting the task.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.



I wish to thank the anonymous readers of CQ for their observations and suggestions; Stephen Lambert and Josine Blok for their willingness to share material from their recent work on the diōbelia, which at the time of writing has not been fully published; and particularly Paul Cartledge for his helpful and perceptive comments on earlier drafts of this article. The following frequently cited works are referred to as follows: AO = R. Develin, Athenian Officials 684–321 B.C. (Cambridge, 1989); APF = J.K. Davies, Athenian Propertied Families 600-300 B.C. (Oxford, 1971); PA = J. Kirchner, Prosopographia Attica, 2 vols. (Berlin, 1901); K.−A. = R. Kassel and C. Austin, Poetae Comici Graeci (PCG), 8 vols. (Berlin, 1983); Rhodes, Commentary = P.J. Rhodes, A Commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia, revised edition (Oxford, 1993). All dates are b.c.


2 M.I. Finley, Aspects of Antiquity (Harmondsworth, 19772), 58; cf. S. Hornblower, Thucydides (London, 1987), 166–8.

3 Most recently by P. Lafargue, Cléon: le guerrier d'Athéna (Collection Scripta Antiqua 52) (Bordeaux, 2013).

4 OCD 4, Archedemus’.

5 APF, nos. 2312, 2321; see also xx–xxxi on the criteria of selection used.

6 PA, no. 2326; H. Cancik and H. Schneider (edd.), Der Neue Pauly. Enzyklopädie der Antike. Band I: A-Ari (Stuttgart, 1996), ‘Archedemus [1]’; J.S. Traill (ed.), Persons of Ancient Athens. Volume 3: Ar-Aulon (Toronto, 1995), no. 208855.

7 On the probable restaging of Frogs in 404, see A.H. Sommerstein, ‘Kleophon and the restaging of Frogs’, in A.H. Sommerstein, S. Halliwell, J. Henderson and B. Zimmermann (edd.), Tragedy, Comedy and the Polis: Papers from the Greek Drama Conference, Nottingham, 18–20 July 1990 (Bari, 1993), 461–76.

8 I use the word ‘demagogue’ hereafter in the neutral descriptive sense—‘leader of the dēmos’—rather than in the pejorative sense which Aristophanes here (probably) intended. See M.I. Finley, ‘Athenian demagogues’, in P.J. Rhodes (ed.), Athenian Democracy (Edinburgh, 2004), 163–84 (originally published in P&P 21 [1962], 3–24; revised version first published in M.I. Finley, Democracy Ancient and Modern [Rutgers, 19852], 38–75 with 177–9).

9 On (claimed) embezzlement in Athenian politics, see F.D. Harvey, ‘Dona ferentes: some aspects of bribery in Greek politics’, in P.A. Cartledge and F.D. Harvey (edd.), Crux: Essays Presented to G.E.M. de Ste. Croix on his 75th Birthday (London, 1985), 76–113, at 79–80; also Strauss, B.S., ‘The cultural significance of bribery and embezzlement in Athenian politics: the evidence of the period 403–386 B.C.’, AncW 11 (1985), 6774 Google Scholar.

10 APF, no. 600 VIII.

11 Eup. fr. 80 (K.−A.).

12 See e.g. Dem. 40.25, where the speaker presents descent from Cleon—famously caricatured by Aristophanes as ‘Paphlagon’ in Knights—as proof of his citizen-status. V. Ehrenberg, The People of Aristophanes (New York, 19623), 160-1 agrees that such imputations were ‘in most cases … pure invention and comic distortion’, although he takes the claims of Ar. Ran. 416–18 that Archedemus was not enrolled in a phratry at face value, concluding that Archedemus was ‘therefore probably a bastard or the son of an alien mother’.

13 I.C. Storey, Eupolis: Poet of Old Comedy (Oxford, 2003), 108–10 suggests the Lenaea of 415 as the most likely possibility.

14 On the (probable) existence of a minimum age of 30 for Athenian magistracies in general, see Hansen, M.H., ‘Seven hundred archai in Classical Athens’, GRBS 21 (1980), 151–73Google Scholar, at 167–9.

15 Eup. fr. 9 (K.−A.).

16 See K.−A. 5.306-7.

17 Storey (n. 13), 67 argues that Nanny-goats must almost certainly pre-date Aristophanes' Clouds, and posits the Dionysia of 424 as the most likely date.

18 Neocleides is subsequently referred to in Wealth (665, 747) as blind (τυϕλός). On the dating of Assemblywomen, see A.H. Sommerstein, Ecclesiazusae (Warminster, 1998), 1: ‘suggestions have varied from 393 to 389, with 392 and 391 the most popular choices.’

19 PA, no. 2326 explicitly identifies this as the same Archedemus; Traill (n. 6) accords him a separate entry (no. 209135) but speculates that he may be the same man as no. 208855. At least some recent scholarship follows Kirchner's more confident identification; see e.g. J.C. Trevett, ‘Demosthenes and Thebes’, Historia 48 (1999), 184–202, at 187. See also M.J. Osborne & S.G. Byrne, A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Volume II: Attica (Oxford, 1994), at 67, which distinguishes between Archedemus ὁ γλάμων (no. 26) and Aeschines' ‘Archedemus of Pelekes’ (no. 27); yet none the less it ascribes the same demotic to the former for no clear reason.

20 P.J. Rhodes and R. Osborne (edd.), Greek Historical Inscriptions 404–323 BC (Oxford, 2003), no. 22 (= IG II2 43), lines 76–7.

21 Plut. De gen. 575D.

22 On Aristophon, see APF, no. 2108; PA, no. 2108; Traill (n. 6), no. 176170. See also Oost, S.I., ‘Two notes on Aristophon of Azenia’, CPh 72 (1977), 239–42Google Scholar, and Whitehead, D., ‘The political career of Aristophon’, CPh 81 (1986), 313–9Google Scholar.

23 All three works of reference in n. 6 above do so, as does D. Nails, The People of Plato: A Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics (Indianapolis, 2002), 41–2. See also e.g. R. Osborne, ‘Vexatious litigation in Classical Athens: sykophancy and the sykophant’, in P. Cartledge, P. Millett and S. Todd (edd.), NOMOS: Essays in Athenian Law, Politics, and Society (Cambridge, 1990), 83–102, at 96–8; and M. Ostwald, From Popular Sovereignty to the Sovereignty of Law: Law, Society, and Politics in Fifth-Century Athens (Berkeley, CA, 1986), 424–5.

24 See also Pl. Ap. 32b (and, more obliquely, Grg. 474a).

25 For a list of Aristophanic testimonia, see D. Harvey, ‘The sykophant and sykophancy: vexatious redefinition?’, in Cartledge et al. (n. 23), 103–21, at 119.

26 J. Ober, Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens: Rhetoric, Ideology, and the Power of the People (Princeton, 1989), 117.

27 Ibid., 233–40; see also Harvey (n. 9), 103–4. APF, no. 3263 (Demades) provides a useful example of the sort of reputation that an Athenian politician of poor origins might attract.


28 Diod. Sic. 13.101.5 lists the generals who returned to Athens following the battle as Thrasyllus, Calliades, Lysias, Pericles and Aristocrates; Diomedon is also named shortly thereafter at 13.102. Since all the others match with Xenophon's list (Hell. 1.7.2), and Diodorus' earlier list of generals at 13.74.1 includes Erasinides, ‘Calliades’ should surely be read as a mistaken substitution for Erasinides. See AO, 178–9.

29 On the broader issue of the differences between the accounts of Xenophon and Diodorus, see Andrewes, A., ‘The Arginousai trial’, Phoenix 28 (1974), 112–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

30 Schol. Ar. Ran. 1196. Ostwald (n. 23), 436 reads Xenophon's account as indicating that Archedemus' initial prosecution concerned the embezzlement alone, and ‘only when Erasinides contested the fine in a jury court did Archedemus accuse him also of misconduct as general’; for the purpose of my argument here and subsequently, the procedural distinction is insignificant.

31 M.H. Hansen, Eisangelia: The Sovereignty of the People's Court in Athens in the Fourth Century B.C. and the Impeachment of Generals and Politicians (Odense, 1975), 85 n. 5 suggests that the indictment against Erasinides was a γϱαϕὴ κλοπῆς ἱεϱῶν χϱημάτων, as opposed to the broader eisangelia against the generals collectively.

32 Trans. (modified) P.J. Rhodes, Aristotle: The Athenian Constitution (London, 1984). Both Plato and the Ath. Pol. do mistakenly claim that all ten generals were convicted, rather than the six (or eight, if one includes the two convicted in absentia) recorded by Xenophon and Diodorus; see Rhodes, Commentary, 423.

33 Lang, M.L., ‘Theramenes and Arginousai’, Hermes 120 (1992), 267–79Google Scholar, at 277.

34 Xen. Hell. 1.7.13 (Lyciscus), 1.7.34 (Menecles).

35 Ar. Ran. 533–41, 967–70 (Theramenes); on Archedemus, see above.

36 Trans. Rhodes (n. 32).

37 M.L. Lang, The Athenian Agora. Volume XXV: Ostraka (Princeton, 1990), nos. 600–7.

38 A.H. Sommerstein, Thesmophoriazusae (Warminster, 1994), 1–3.

39 On the Cleophon see S. Pirrotta, Plato Comicus. Die fragmentarischen Komödien: ein Kommentar (Berlin, 2009), 143–53.

40 Baldwin, B., ‘Notes on Cleophon’, AClass 17 (1974), 3547 Google Scholar, at 36.

41 See Rhodes, Commentary, 424–6.

42 Lys. 13.7-12, 30.12; Valmin, N., ‘Diobelia und Theorikon’, Opuscula Atheniensia 6 (1965), 171206 Google Scholar, at 183.

43 See J.J. Buchanan, Theorika: A Study of Monetary Distributions to the Athenian Citizenry during the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B.C. (Locust Valley, NY, 1962), 43. Woodward, A.M., ‘Financial documents from the Athenian agora’, Hesperia 32 (1963), 144–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 150 provides a speculative restoration of payments made for the diōbelia on a similar inscription (SEG XXI 80) most likely dating to 404/3; see, however, Krentz, P., ‘SEG XXI, 80 and the rule of the Thirty’, Hesperia 48 (1979), 5463 CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 60, which (in my view correctly) rejects this restoration.

44 U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, Aristoteles und Athen, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1893), 212–16. See also Buchanan (n. 43), 35–48; Valmin (n. 42), 174–7; Rhodes, Commentary, 355–6; Rosivach, V.J., ‘State pay as war relief in Peloponnesian-War Athens’, G&R 58 (2011), 176–83Google Scholar, at 181–2; Blok, J., ‘The diôbelia: on the political economy of an Athenian state fund’, ZPE 193 (2015), 87102 Google Scholar, at 97–9.

45 See AO, 11–13. Archedemus could also have been only one (although presumably the leader) of a board of ἐπιμεληταί; this is suggested by Pritchett, W.K., ‘Loans of Athena in 407 B.C.’, AncSoc 8 (1977), 33–7Google Scholar, at 42 n. 30.

46 On the Eleven, see [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 52.1 with Rhodes, Commentary, 579–82; cf. also the position of ἐπιμελητὴς τῶν δημοσίων (‘overseer of public revenue’) implied by Plut. Vit. Arist. 4.2, with AO, 60, which I am inclined to view—if it is not simply Plutarch's own invention—as a similar circumlocution.

47 See Valmin (n. 42), 186–7; Rhodes, Commentary, 356.

48 Archedemus of Marathon: lines 9, 11; Archedemus of Paionidai: lines 14–5, 16. An Archedemus is also clearly identified as one of the λογισταί at line 20, but the demotic is disputed. For a conservative restoration of the text of IG I3 377, see Lambert, S.D., ‘The text and date of IG I3 377’, Attic Inscriptions Online Papers 5 (2014)Google Scholar, which includes only those reconstructions on which the principal competing versions of the text (Pritchett, Meritt, Lewis) are all in agreement. On the λογισταί, see Rhodes, Commentary, 560–1, 597–8.

49 IG I3 377, lines 7–9, 24–5, 28–30, 30–2, 32–4, 34–6, 36–7, 38–9, 40–1, 41–3, 43–4, 45–6, 47–8, 48–50.

50 Originally concerned with the revenues of the ‘Athenian Empire’, the ἑλληνοταμίαι also became involved in the management of revenues within Athens in c. 411/10; see [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 30.2 with Rhodes, Commentary, 391–2.

51 B.D. Meritt, ‘The Choiseul Marble: the text of 406 B.C.’, in Mélanges Helléniques Offerts à George Daux (BCH Supp. 1) (Paris, 1974), 255–67, at 261–3.

52 See Lambert (n. 48), which persuasively argues that the balance of probabilities supports such a dating; cf. Pritchett (n. 45), 45–6.

53 Blok (n. 44), 93–7 argues for ‘the obol’ as a separate fund, most likely for the support of war-orphans.

54 Meritt (n. 51), 263–4.

55 Pritchett, W.K., ‘The Hellenotamiai and Athenian finance’, Historia 26 (1977), 295306 Google Scholar; against this, see AO, 175: ‘In the absence of other evidence for iteration, I am loath to accept Pritchett's position.’ On limits on iteration generally, see [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 62.3, with Rhodes, Commentary, 696–7.

56 IG I3 375, lines 8–10, 11–12, 14–15. See AO, 169 on the possibility that Pericles may also have served as general in 409/8.

57 See S. Hornblower, A Commentary on Thucydides. Volume III: Books 5.25–8.109 (Oxford, 2008), 524–6.

58 See R. Meiggs and D. Lewis (edd.), A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions to the End of the Fifth Century B.C. (revised edition) (Oxford, 1988), 160–1 on the possibility that this may have been a revival of an older practice attested in the 430s.

59 Xen. Hell. 1.1.8, 12; 1.2.4-5; 1.3.2-4, 8-9; 1.4.8-9; Diod. Sic. 13.40.5, 42.2-3, 47.7-8, 51.8, 64.4, 66.3-4, 69.5.

60 I am here following the ‘late’ chronology of the years 410–406, which places Notium in the spring of 406. Andrewes in CAH 52, 503–5, at 503 articulates what is to me the decisive argument in its favour: ‘if Notium was fought in spring 407 and Arginusae in about August 406, this is an impossible point at which to insert a full year of military inactivity, with both Cyrus and Lysander on the scene. Worse still, the board of Athenian generals appointed soon after Notium is the same board that commanded at Arginusae; it is not conceivable that it was re-elected entire for a second year.’ Even if one were to prefer the ‘early’ chronology and place Notium in 407 (see e.g. B. Bleckmann, Athens Weg in die Niederlage: Die Letzten Jahre des Peloponnesischen Kriegs [Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 99] [Stuttgart/Leipzig, 1998], 162–86), the fundamental drop-off in extraordinary sources of revenue after Notium would remain.

61 Diod. Sic. 13.97.1; Xen. Hell. 1.6.24; Hellanicus, FGrHist 323a F25. For the debate over the extent of citizenship-grants to slaves, see Hunt, P., ‘The slaves and the generals of Arginusae’, AJPh 122 (2001), 359–80Google Scholar, at 359–70. I am less convinced by Hunt's related argument (371–80) that the large-scale granting of citizenship to slaves who fought at Arginusae was a significant factor in the outcome of the Arginusae trial, principally because there is no explicit evidence of the connection and the outcome of the trial can quite adequately be explained without it.

62 It is, of course, in explicitly anti-democratic authors such as the ‘Old Oligarch’ that we see οἱ βέλτιστοι, οἱ πλούσιοι and so forth presented in opposition to the dēmos.

63 IG I3 102 line 5 (= Meiggs and Lewis [n. 58], no. 85).

64 See McCoy, W.J., ‘Thrasyllus’, AJPh 98 (1977), 264–89Google Scholar, at 265–6.

65 Rhodes, Commentary, 346–7, 354–5; cf. Lys. 13.5–12.

66 See above; Xen. Hell. 2.3.30 strongly implies that Theramenes' nickname substantially predates Critias' invocation of it in 404/3, and Philonides, fr. 6 (K.−A.) refers to a play called Buskins, which mentioned Theramenes.

67 Alcibiades fails to feature not only in the list of πϱοστάται—Nicias is instead paired with Cleon, presumably on the basis of their clash over Pylos in 425—but also in the account ([Arist.] Ath. Pol. 29–33) of the rule of the Four Hundred and the Five Thousand. See Rhodes, Commentary, 351, 354, 371–2.

68 Thuc. 8.53.3.

69 See AO, 165.

70 See McCoy (n. 64), 269–84.

71 Xen. Hell. 1.4.20. On the date of Alcibiades' return, see P. Harding, Androtion and the Atthis: The Fragments Translated with Introduction and Commentary (Oxford, 1994), 71, 165–6; C.W. Fornara, The Athenian Board of Generals from 501 to 404 (Historia Einzelschriften 16) (Wiesbaden, 1971), 69 suggests that Alcibiades was still an ‘irregular’ general in 408/7, and only directly elected for 407/6.

72 Xen. Hell. 1.5.16-17; Diod. Sic. 13.74.1. See AO, 178–9.

73 Lang (n. 33), 268–74; Andrewes (n. 29), 118–22.

74 The case of Thrasybulus provides a possible parallel here; elsewhere in his two speeches against the younger Alcibiades (14.21-2, 15.1-12), Lysias repeatedly claims that certain generals have been and are supporting the younger Alcibiades in his dereliction of duty. Since we know that Thrasybulus served as a general in 395/4 and 394/3 (see AO, 207–8), he would appear to be a plausible candidate for one of the unnamed supporters. See also B.S. Strauss, Athens after the Peloponnesian War: Class, Faction and Policy 403–386 BC (London, 1986), 122.

75 On the broader significance of the redating of IG I3 11, see N. Papazarkadas, ‘Epigraphy and the Athenian Empire: reshuffling the chronological cards’, in J. Ma, N. Papazarkadas and R. Parker (edd.), Interpreting the Athenian Empire (London, 2009), 67–88; also Rhodes, P.J., ‘After the three-bar “sigma” controversy: the history of Athenian imperialism reassessed’, CQ 58 (2008), 500–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

76 Cataldi, S., ‘I proponenti del trattato tra Atene e Segesta e le correnti politiche ateniesi’, Kokalos 38 (1992), 331 Google Scholar, at 4–18.

77 See e.g. ibid., 11–12 (Phaeax, Hipponicus and Archedemus), 16 (Archedemus and Demostratus).

78 Ibid., 18. Moreover, if our Archedemus was the proposer, this requires a birth-date of 438/7 at the latest, and probably c. 447 or earlier (a proposer under the age of thirty being impossible if the decree was moved probouleumatically, and highly unusual even if not).


79 On the religious scandals of 415 more generally, see the historiographical summary in Hornblower (n. 57), 367–72.

80 P.J. Rhodes, ‘The ostracism of Hyperbolus’, in R. Osborne and S. Hornblower (edd.), Ritual, Finance, Politics: Athenian Democratic Accounts Presented to David Lewis (Oxford, 1994), 85–98, at 96.

81 Aristophanes did, it is true, use his Lysistrata in 411 to urge peace, but his advice appears to have been no more followed than the anti-war and anti-Cleon messages of Acharnians and Knights had been during the Archidamian War.

82 Archedemus would, one assumes, have downplayed or disclaimed his likely connection to Alcibiades—especially if he needed to face (re-)election as ‘overseer of the diōbelia’ for 406/5 after Notium—but it is reasonable to assume that this would have been rather easier for him than for Theramenes, having not served as his direct colleague. It is possible that Ar. Ran. 192 might be meant to refer to Archedemus in particular not serving in the fleet at Arginusae, although given that ὀϕθαλμία rather than γλάμων is used, such an identification remains doubtful.

83 Ten of the twelve are certainly known as generals. Plut. Vit. Cim. 13.5 records Ephialtes as leading a squadron of thirty ships, which suggests a generalship; see AO, 71. The scholion to Ar. Ran. 679 does claim that Cleophon served as general, but this is not supported elsewhere; see Fornara (n. 71), 70.

84 M.H. Hansen, The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes: Structures, Principles and Ideology, trans. J.A. Crook (Oxford, 1991), 268–71; see also id., ‘The Athenian “politicians”, 403–322 B.C.’, in id., The Athenian Ecclesia II: A Collection of Articles 1983–1989 (Copenhagen, 1989), 1–23.

85 Plut. Vit. Phoc. 6.1.

86 Diod. Sic. 15.35.1.

87 See R.K. Sinclair, Democracy and Participation in Athens (Cambridge, 1988), 163-8.

88 H. Pirenne, Mahomet et Charlemagne (Paris, 19373), 210: ‘Il est donc rigoureusement vrai de dire que, sans Mahomet, Charlemagne est inconcevable.’

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 18
Total number of PDF views: 68 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th April 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *