Professor A. H. M. Jones in the appendix to his new book (pp. 161–80), Athenian Democracy (see below, p. 182), tackles afresh the problem of the population of Athens during the Peloponnesian war, and introduces three novelties: that the 13,000 hoplites of Thucydides ii 13.6 mean hoplites of the age-classes 20 to 39, not 20 to 49 as most of us, if not all, have assumed from Lykourgos, Leokrates 39–40, and some other evidence; that klerouchoi (but not apoikoi) remained in Athens, drawing rents from their kleroi in the subject states, all now within the hoplite census and included in the 13,000; and, the most important of the three, that to get a true picture of mortality rates and so of the relative strengths of different age-classes we must liken the Athenians to certain groups of persons in the Roman Empire between the first and third centuries A.D. and to India at the beginning of the present century, not to any European country during the last hundred years.
Jones takes me to task for suggesting that the at first sight surprising number of ‘oldest and youngest’ in the reserve to whom during the war was allotted the defence of the walls (Thuc. ii 13.7) was in part to be accounted for by the inclusion of all those in the classes 20 to 49 who were not fit for active service in the hoplite ranks, who would be a source of weakness rather than of strength to an army. ‘There are serious objections to this theory’, he says (p. 162). ‘It is in the first place not what Thucydides says. Secondly, it is pure speculation, unsupported by any evidence.’ ‘Let us then’, he adds, ‘set aside this theory and examine the facts afresh.’ This promises well.