Skip to main content Accessibility help

Sisters, daughters and the deme of marriage: a note*

  • Cheryl Anne Cox (a1)


With the publication recently of two valuable studies on Attic demes, we are now more fully aware of what we know, and do not know, of the deme. With Osborne's work, we now have some idea of the tendency of Athenians to own and maintain property in the deme of origin, but the role of marriage in consolidating property in that deme is more difficult to assess. In contrast to Osborne's focus on the ancestral deme, this brief study will concentrate on the deme into which the woman married; such a deme will be termed the deme of marriage or the marital deme. The study will focus particularly on the families who contracted more than one alliance for their kinswomen into the same outside deme and will emphasize the importance of siblings in securing and maintaining these alliances in the marital deme.



Hide All

1 Osborne, R., Demos: the discovery of classical Attika (Cambridge 1985) and Whitehead, D., The demes of Attica 508/7—ca. 250 Ba a political and social study (Princeton 1986).

2 Osborne (n. 1) 52-63 for landholding in the deme of origin; 131 5 for marriages within the hereditary deme. To this add the remarriage of Socrates’ mother to her first husband's denicsman: Kirchner, J., Prosopographia Attica (Chicago 1981, reprint, hereafter PA) 11697. See Thompson, W. E., De Hagniae heredilate: an Athenian inheritance case (Mnemosyne Supplement xliv, Leiden 1976) esp. 1113 for the remarriage of Hagnias II's mother to a demesman of herself and her first husband (also briefly described in id., CSCA v [1972] 212). It is unknown whether the woman's second husband was also a kinsman: Davies, J. K., Athenian propertied families 600-300 BC (Oxford 1971, hereafter Davies) 83. In some inscriptions, kinship endogamy may be combined with marriage within the native deme, if the names of spouses and their patronymics, which derive from a similar roots, suggest a blood tie: for instance, IG ii2 5698 Philomachus of Araphen and his wife Philostrate daughter of Callimachus; also 6028; for SEG xxiii 161, see: Humphreys, S., The family, women, and death (London 1983) 109.

3 Davies 145-9 and 461-4 (Dicaeogenes’ and Polyaratus’ families); 232-3, 302-4 (Cimon's family); 332-4 (Plato and his sister); 437-8 (Deinas’ family).

4 Osborne (n. 1) 128 30 for the sources on marriages and demes and the problems entailed.

5 Sabean, D., ‘Aspects of kinship behaviour and property in rural Western Europe before 1800’, Goody, J., Thirsk, J. and Thompson, E., eds., Family and inheritance: rural society in Western Europe, 1200-1800 (Cambridge 1976) 101.

6 On Miltiades’ fine for the Parian expedition: Hdt. vi 136.1-3; Davies 303 for the scepticism of scholars that the fine impoverished Cimon. For the marriage of Elpinice and Callias II's wealth: Davies 258-61, 303 and sources cited. Although Hignett, C. (A history of the Athenian constitution [Oxford 1952]) 194 and Davies 259 infer from Elpinice's burial in the Cimonid family plot that Elpinice was divorced from Callias II, Humphreys (n. 2) 111-15 has shown that a married woman could choose burial with her family of origin rather than with her husband.

7 Clinton, K., The sacred officials of the Eleusinian Mysteries (TAPS lxiv 3 [1974]) 8.

8 Ath. Pol. xxviii 2; Plut. Per. xi 1; schol. Aristeides III 446 Dind.; Davies 232-3, 304; Thucydides as the kedestes or gambros of Cimon was either his brother-in-law or son-in-law.

9 Thompson, W. E., Phoenix xxi (1967) 276–7 and bibliography therein. Davies 235, following Lewis, conjectures that Olorus of Halimous was also from a prominent religious family which was closely associated with the cult of Demeter Thesmophorus.

10 For Polyaratus’ marriage: Davies 149, 461; his daughter's: ibid., 319, 462; Cleon's supposed marriage: ibid. 145, 320. Davies’ reconstruction is based on Meritt, B. D. and Traill, J. S., The Athenian Agora xv (Princeton 1974) no. 10. Dicaeogenes II's estate was worth from 10 to 13 talents: Davies 146; Casson, L., TAPA cvi (1976) 33 n. 10, 52 n. 55. Cleon's estate, and consequently that of his son, estimated at fifty talents (Davies 319) was far greater than the fortune of Dicaeogenes II.

11 Bourriot, F., Historia xxxi (1982) 404–35, and esp. 420-33. Although Isaeus does not mention the marriage of Cleon to Dicaeogenes I's daughter, Isaeus does not mention the marriage of one of Dicaeogenes’ daughters to Proxenus of Aphidna either, despite Bourriot's statement to the contrary (420). The latter marital alliance is Reiske's inference based on homonymity and accepted generally by scholars (Davies 476-7). In his argument to downplay homonymity and to prove the popularity of the name Cleon, Bourriot refers to the Cleons from various demes listed in PA (8664-79), seemingly without his having consulted the revisions in IG ii2. With these revisions in mind, of the individuals certainly named Cleon, six date to the third century and later—the context of familial transmission of names is uncertain for one (8667 + 68) and non-existent for the others. More to Bourriot's point would be fourth-century individuals from, for example, Cothocidae (D.xviii 29, 55), Anaphlystus (ibid. 75) and Sunium (D.xxi 168), who are not listed in PA. Of the fourth-century Cleons listed in PA, Cleon son of Thudippus of Araphen (8669), the son of the fratricide in Isaeus ix, has been identified, based on homonymity, as the grandson of the statesman, Cleon's daughter having married Thudippus the proposer of the reassessment decree of 424. (Davies 228-9; more recently Meritt, B. D., ‘Kleon's assessment of tribute to Athens’, in Shrimpton, G. S. and McCargar, J. M., eds., Classical contributions: studies in honour of Malcolm Francis McGregor [Locust Valley 1981|1992.) Criticizing this identification, Bourriot asserts (412-18) that Thudippus would have had to assault his brother Euthycrates in the field in Araphen before the Spartan invasion of Decelea in 413. If so, Euthycrates’ son Astyphilus would have been five or six at his father's death. That would make him fifty-two, and therefore too old, for his military service in 366. The text (ix 20), however, states that Astyphilus was related the tale of his father's death when a child: he may therefore have been an infant at the time of the assault, and therefore below fifty in 366. See Lysias xiii 42 for a similar situation.

12 IG ii2 3063; Davies 462-4. Many of the marriages contracted by the members of Dicaeogenes II's oikos and their affines were with urban families. For examples of urban marriages: Davies 16, 19, 231-5, 263, 268-9. See also Osborne (n. 1) 246 n. 17 for families from rural demes who married into families whose demes were near the astu.

13 Wyse, W., The speeches of Isaeus (New York 1979, reprint) 402–3; Davies 461. The sisters and their husbands objected to the adoption from the outset. In an effort to compromise, the natural father of Dicaeogenes III, Proxenus II, may have agreed to his son's receiving only part of Dicaeogenes II's estate, a compromise subsequently rejected by Dicaeogenes III: Wyse 414; Davies 145-6. If Polyaratus died shortly after 399 (Davies 461), the marriage of his daughter to Eryximachus c. 395 was contracted by her brother Menexenus who assumed the feud for his father.

14 D. xlv 46, 54-5; [D.| lix 2; Davies 437-8 for Apollodorus’ marriage and that of Deinias’ sister. For Pasio's enrollment into Acharnae: ibid., 430.

15 [D.] lix 2-3; Davies 437-8: the relationship allowed Stephanus to give his daughter a wealthy dowry of 1 talent 4,000 drachmae. The interest of aunt, niece and nephew in Acharnae should be compared with the interest demonstrated by the Goulandris stele of father, son and grandson from Oe in marrying women from Angele: Osborne (n. 1) 131-2. In the latter case, there is a strong likelihood that land attracted the men to Angele.

16 Whitehead (n. 1) 75 n. 37 for Plato's neighbours from disparate demes.

17 For the date of the marriage and the demes of the two men: Davies 331, 334.

18 Osborne ([n. 1] 49, 131) defines two demes in the same trittys as neighbouring. For the locations of the two denies: Traill, J. S., The political organization of Attica [Hesperia Supplement xiv, Princeton 1975) 47 and Map 1. The exact locations of Plato's estates in relation to the deme centres are, however, unknown. If the conjectured location of Eiresidae is accurate, its centre and that of Iphistiadae were ten kilometres apart, well within walking distance. Hansen, M. H., GRBS xxiv (1983) 233–7: 12 kilometres would be a two-hour walk.

19 Davies 334.

20 D. L. iii 42. PA 11855 and table; Davies 331-4 for the family tree.

* I would like to thank Robin Osborne for many criticisms and helpful comments on bibliography. Any remaining errors are of course my own.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Sisters, daughters and the deme of marriage: a note*

  • Cheryl Anne Cox (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.