Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXI.: The constitution of Kleisthenes. - Constitution of Athens
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CHAP. XXI.: The constitution of Kleisthenes. - Aristotle, Constitution of Athens [320 BC]
Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, trans. Thomas J. Dymes (London: Seeley and Co., 1891).
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The constitution of Kleisthenes.
These then were the reasons why the people had confidence in Kleisthenes. And at that time, when he was at the head of the masses, in the fourth year after the overthrow of the tyrants, he first distributed them all into ten tribes instead of four as previously, wishing to mix them up in order that more might have a share in the government; hence the saying, ‘not to examine the tribes,’ as addressed to those who wished to review the lists of the families.* Afterwards he made the Council five hundred instead of four hundred, taking fifty from each tribe, for at that time there were a hundred from each tribe. And the reason why he did not distribute them into twelve tribes was that he might not have to divide them according to the existing Trittyes (third parts of tribes); for the four tribes were composed of twelve Trittyes, with the result that the masses were not intermingled. And he divided the country by demes into thirty parts, ten for the neighbourhood of the city, ten for the shore districts, and ten for the interior, and calling these Trittyes, he allotted three to each tribe, that each might have a part in all the different localities. And he made fellow-members of the same deme those who lived in each of the demes, in order that they might not, by calling after the name of the father, detect the new citizens, but give them their surnames from their demes; hence it is that the Athenians do call themselves by their demes. He also established presidents of the demes, with the same duties as the former Naukrari; for he also made the demes take the place of the Naukrariæ. And he named some of the demes from their localities, and others from their founders; since some of the localities now erected into demes had no founders from whom they could be called.* But the Genē (collections of families) and Phratriæ (three to a tribe, and comprising each thirty Genē) and the priesthoods he allowed each to retain as they had come down to them from their forefathers. And to the tribes he gave surnames from the hundred selected founders whom the Pythia appointed, to the number of ten.
[* ]Families, i.e., collections of families, ‘clans,’ ‘houses.’
[* ]Or, they had no names of their own; these are the alternative renderings, as suggested by the British Museum editor.