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The Greek term for a division of a nation, connected together by (supposed) descent from a common ancestor of the stock. Thus the population of Attica, even before Solon, was divided into four phyloe tracing their origin from four legendary sons of Ion, and called Geleontes, Hopletes, Aegicores, and Argades. Probably the division was local, the names referring to the peculiarity or main occupation of the members of each division; for Hopletes appears to mean warriors, Aegicores, goatherds, and Argades, agriculturalists. The meaning of Geleontes (or Teleontes), however, is quite uncertain. Each phyle was presided over by a phylobasileus (king of the phyle) and divided into three phratrioe (brotherhoods, see PHRATRIA), each phratria being subdivided into thirty families. Each family contained about thirty households, and was named after a supposed common progenitor, in whose honour the households celebrated a common cult. Similarly the phratrioe and phyloe were united by the worship of special protecting deities. These old Ionic phyloe were suppressed by Clisthenes, who divided the people into ten entirely different phyloe, named after ancient heroes (Erechtheis, Aegeis, Pandionis, Leontis, Acamantis, Aeneis, Cecropis, Hippothontis, Aiantis, Antiochis). They were subdivided into fifty naucrarice and one hundred demi (q.v.). In 307 B.C., in honour of Demetrius Poliorcetes and his father Autigonus, the phyloe were increased by two, called Demetrias and Antigonis, which names were afterwards changed, in honour of Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt and Attalus I of Pergamon, into Ptolemais and Attalis. In later times, another, Adrianis, was added in honour of the emperor Hadrian. Besides priests for the cult of their eponymous hero, the phyloe had presidents, called phylarchi, and treasurers (tamioe). The assemblies were always held in Athens, and were concerned, not only with the special affairs of the phyle, but also with State business especially the notification of the persons liable to State burdens (See LEITOURGIA.) The ten phyloe of Clisthenes served also as a foundation for the organization of the army. The forces were raised when required from the muster-roll of the phyloe, and divided accordingly into ten battalions, which were themselves also called phyloe. The Dorian stock was generally divided into three phyloe: Hylleis, Dymanes, and Pamphyli, purporting to be named after Hyllos, son of Heracles, and Dyman and Pamphylus, sons of king Aegimius. When families not of Dorian origin formed part of the forces of the State, they constituted an additional phyle. In the purely Dorian state of Sparta the three phyloe were divided into thirty oboe, answering to the families at Athens.
Type: Standard
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