IG II 2.2344 and the size of phratries in classical Athens

Classical Quarterly 35 (1):232-235 (1985)
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Abstract

Little is known about phratries in ancient Athens. The few surviving pieces of evidence, both literary and epigraphical, do not provide an adequate basis for a convincing reconstruction of most details. It may be possible, however, to say something more about the number and size, even if not about the organization and function, of phratries in the fifth and fourth centuries b.c.The purpose of this note is to show how IG II2.2344 is relevant to the question of phratries. It is a list of twenty names with patronymics, comprising three families and two isolated individuals, under the heading,Δι⋯ς ⋮ Φρατρίο ⋮ Ἀθην⋯ας ⋮ Φρα[τρίας] | οἵδε ɸρ⋯τερεςThe inscription is in the form of a dedication, and after Δι⋯ς ⋮ Φρατρίο ⋮ Ἀθην⋯ας ⋮ Φρα[τρίας] one should understand στήλη or ἱερ⋯ στήλη. There are several other examples of this form of dedication, though none is exactly parallel. The stele was most likely set up in the sanctuary of the phratry, and that would explain why a list of phratry members should be in the form of a dedication. In the absence of other criteria, the inscription is dated by letter forms to the early fourth century.Surprisingly enough this inscription has been either ignored or curtly dismissed in the literature concerning the number and nature of Athenian phratries. In 1902 Alfred Körte concluded that this list of twenty names constituted the total membership of a phratry. But in 1910 Anton von Premerstein maintained that the list was only of a single thiasos within a phratry. We know that by the beginning of the fourth century phratries were subdivided into units called thiasoi, which are to be distinguished from the private religious associations of the same name. Von Premerstein argued that the constant appeals of the orators to the testimony of phratry members render it very unlikely that one phratry could be so small as to have only twenty members, even if there were more than twelve phratries altogether.

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The Phratry from Paiania.Charles W. Hedrick - 1989 - Classical Quarterly 39 (01):126-.
The Phratry from Paiania.Charles W. Hedrick - 1989 - Classical Quarterly 39 (1):126-135.

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