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By J.W. Roberts

During this commonly up to date moment version, together with an up-dated index and bibliography, J. W. Roberts explores the most good points of Athenian existence within the latter half the 5th century BC.

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Fighting in hoplite armour was very demanding physically, and we may assume that of the men in the top three Solonian orders aged from twenty to forty-nine, and so liable for callup as hoplites, many were unfit for active service. In computing the total number of men in the top three orders who were aged from twenty to forty-nine, we must allow for the 1,000 cavalrymen, some 2,000 unfit for active service, and some 1,000 exempt (men under fifty who were discharging liturgies, or serving as Councillors or magistrates).

One reason why we hear nothing of slave revolts is that the slaves did not outnumber free people, though they may have outnumbered free men. Plato (Republic 578de) considers the perilous plight of a rich man and his family isolated somewhere with their fifty or more slaves, but lower-class Athenians had no slaves, and lower-middle-class Athenians only one or two. Slavery was more widespread in fantasy than in reality. The dream of living on slaves resembled the hope of winning a big prize in a lottery in being more widely entertained than fulfilled.

After the legislation of Kleisthenes, the significance of the kinship structure was mainly religious. Though it was a source of embarrassment not to belong to a phratry, membership may no longer have been a necessary condition of citizenship. ). The principal phratry festival was the Apatouria or Gathering of Fathers, which lasted for three days (Dorpia, Anarrhysis, Koureotis). At this festival the members of a phratry met to worship Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria (Plato, Euthydemos 302d). On the third day, probably named after the symbolic shearing of the young men’s hair, the brethren voted on the enrolling of sons born to members during the previous year, of newly ‘adult’ young men (about sixteen), and of newly married wives.

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