Ancient Attica- 2° part


PAIONIDAI (Παιονίδαι), Attic mesogeia deme of Leontis phyle. Paionidai was located at the foot of a southern spur of Mount Parnes, most likely north of modern Menidi. Paionidai
took its name from the genos of the same name: the clan was one of several claiming descent from Neleus; their name came from Paion, the son of Antilokhos.
Remains of an ancient fortification in the southern foothills of Mt. Parnes north of the village of Menidi have long been known as the fortress of Leipsydrion. According to Herodotos,
the Alkmaionids fortified a site known as Leipsydrion above what would become the deme in 514 BC, following the murder of Hipparkhos. They were attacked there by the
Peisitratids and suffered a great defeat, which was commemorated in a drinking song. The site of Leipsydrion is not known, though a fortification near Karagufolesa is traditionally
identified with it.
Paionidai also appears in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata. The foolish husband of Myrrhine is introduced as Kinesias of Paionidai.
(Her. 5.62; Arist. Ath. Pol. 19; Aristoph. Lysistr. 852 and scholia)


KEPHISIA (Κηφισιά), Attic mesogeia deme of Erechtheis phyle. It was one of the ancient twelve cities of Cecrops, and continued to be an important deme down to the latest times. It retains its ancient name Kifissia and is situated west of Mt. Pentelicus, nearly opposite Acharnae.  Located near the headwaters of the river Kephissos, it was and still is a popular retreat from the heat of the summer for Athenians. It was known for its springs, fountains, and groves. It was the favourite summer residence of Herodes Atticus, who adorned it with buildings, gardens, and statues. The deme decree found there provides the earliest evidence of a palaistra in a rural Attic deme.
(Strab. 9.397; D. L. 3.41; Philostr. Vit. Soph. 2.1.12; Gel. 1.2, 18.10; Harpocrat.; Phot.; Wordsworth, p. 227)

ATHMONON (Ἄθμονον, also Ἀθμονία), Attic mesogeia deme of the Cecropis phyle. It is situated in the north-east of Attica, on the site of the modern Marousi. The name of the modern village has been derived from Amarysia, a surname of Artemis, who was worshipped under this designation at Athmonum. An inscription found near Marousi, in which the temenos of this Goddess is mentioned, puts the matter beyond dispute. (ὅρος Ἀρτέμιδος τεμένους Ἀμαρυδίας) Athmonum also possessed a very ancient temple of Aphrodite Urania, and there appear to have been Amarysian Games held in honor of the local Artemis.
The inhabitants of this deme appear to have been considered clever wine-dressers: the protagonist of Aristophanes’ Peace is Trygaios of Athmonon, who is described as “a skilled vineyard worker, not a malicious prosecutor or lover of litigation.” His name is derived from τρυγάω, to gather fruit. The deme was also one of the sources for red potter’s clay  and may have had a rural flavor.
(Harpocrat.; Steph. B. sub voce Zonar.; Suid.; Bekker, Anecd. i. p. 349; Paus. 1.35.5, 1.14.7; Aristoph. Pac.; IG II2 1203, 5338)

IPHISTIADAI (Ἰφιστιάδαι, Ἡφαιστιάδαι), Attic asty deme of Akamantis phyle. Iphistiadai was located near the modern Iraklion ( this deme contained a temple of Herakles, which has probably given its name to the modern village), approximately 10 km north-northeast of the city walls and 2 km south of the banks of the Kephissos river. The site is well confirmed due to the terms of Plato’s will in Diogenes Laertius and the find of a boundary stone for the temple of Herakles.
Until the mid-19th century, it was thought that Iphistiadai and Hephaistiadai referred to two separate demes, but these are the names of one deme, and not two separate. Iphistiadai appears to have been the correct form of the name,  the other name was a Hellenistic or Roman era corruption. The deme took its name from an eponmymous hero Iphistios. Other than a mention in Hesychius, which was repeated in the Suda, Iphistios is otherwise unknown.
Iphistiadai is best known from the mention of a property there in Plato’s will as given by Diogenes Laertius. Plato describes the property as being bounded by the road from the temple at Kephisia on the north and by the temple of Herakles on the south.
(Steph. B. sub voce; Suda s.v.; Hesych.; Plato D. L. 3.41; Sculpture in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, p. 146)

EIRESIDAI (Εἰρεσίδαι), Attic asty deme of Akamantis phyle. Eiresidai was located west of Kolonos Hippios, on the east bank of the Kephissos river, some 3 km north of the city walls. The site is fairly well established by Plato’s will as cited by Diogenes Laertius and the find spot of a grave marker.
Eiresidai is known largely for a piece of property which Plato purchased from an otherwise unknown Kallimikhos. It lay adjacent to other properties held by his nephew Eurymedon. He left it to “the boy” Adeimantos, who is thought to have been the grandson of one of Plato’s brothers.
(Steph. B. sub voce Bekker, Anecd. i. p. 246; Plato D. L. 3.41; Πρακτικα, 1963, p. 8)

PENTELE (Πεντέλη), was situated at the north-eastern extremity of the Athenian plain, at the marble quarries of Mt. Brilessus, which was called Mt. Pentelicus from this place. The fact of Pentele being a deme rests upon the authority of Stephanus alone, and has not yet been confirmed by inscriptions.

PALLENE (Παλλήνη), Attic mesogeia deme of Antiochis phyle. Pallene was located near the modern Stavro, since renamed Palini, just south of Mount Pentelikon, northeast of Athens.It lay on the direct route between Marathon and Athens. Since Strabo only listed eleven of the the twelve cities of the Kekropian Dodecapolis, Pallene has often been suggested in both ancient and modern times as the twelfth; anyhow, it is a celebrated demus, frequently mentioned by ancient writers and in inscriptions. From the mythical story of the war of the Pallantidai against Theseus, we learn that the demi of Pallene, Gargettus, and Hagnous were adjacent. In fact, Pallene took its name from Pallas, the son of Pandion, who together with his 50 sons opposed Theseus becoming king after the death of Aigeus. When Pallas was marching from Sphettus in the Mesogaia against Athens, he placed a body of his troops in ambush at Gargettus, under the command of his sons, who were ordered, as soon as he was engaged with the army of Theseus, to march rapidly upon Athens and take the city by surprise, But the stratagem was revealed to Theseus by Leos of Hagnous, the herald of Pallas; whereupon Theseus cut to pieces the troops at Gargettus. In consequence of this a lasting enmity followed between the inhabitants of Pallene and Hagnous, and there was a ban on intermarriage with people from Hagnous and the use of the heraldic pronouncement Ἀκούετε λεῴ.
The deme was also said to be the place where Iolaus was rejuvenated and began his pursuit of Eurystheus when the latter sought to drive the Heraklids out of Attica. Some traditions placed the grave of Eurystheus in the deme as well- we are told that Eurystheus was buried at Gargettus in front of the temple of Athena Pallenis.
In fact, Pallene was also the center of a religious association known as the League of Athena Pallenis. The chief demes in the league were Gargettos, Akharnai, Pallene, and Paiania. Though members of other demes could also join the league, leadership always came from those four demes. Kleisthenes’ placement of those four demes in four separate tribes and trittyes is an example of his efforts to undermine the power of the religious associations, most of which were controlled by the aristocracy.
There was also a fifth century BC temple of Ares in Pallene which was dismantled and moved to the Athenian agora early in the Roman era.
Peisistratos returned to power for the third time about 546 BC, he came at the head of a large army of mercenaries and foreign allies he had acquired in his years of exile. Both his forces and those of the Athenians camped near the temple of Athena Pallenis and Peisistratos routed his opponents with a suprise attack at noon, while they were eating and resting. After the rout, he sent his sons chasing after them to say that they had nothing to fear if they would quietly return to their homes- which they did..
(Plut. Thes. 13; Philochor. ap. Schol. ad Eurip. Hippol. 35; Strab. viii. p.377; Steph., Hesych. sub voce Γαργηττός; πάροιθε παρθένου Παλληνίδος Eurip. Heracl. 1031; Hdt. 1.62; Böckh, Inscr. n. 23, 76)

GARGETTOS (Γαργηττός), Attic mesogeia deme of Aigeis phyle. Gargettos was located beneath the northern extremity of Hymettos, between it and Pentelikon, the modern Ieraka. The site is confirmed by the discovery of a deme decree. The name was said to have come from an eponymous hero who was the father of Ion (not the eponym of the Ionian Greeks, but rather the Ionidai). He was believed to have migrated to Elis, where his son Ion gave his name to a group of Nymphs.
A sanctuary of Dionysos was said to be in the deme and dramatic festivals were held there.
Here Theseus defeated the Pallantidai, and later, when he was preparing to depart Attica forever and live in Skyros, Theseus first went to Gargettos, where he called down curses on his enemies, from which it was called Araterion, the place of cursing.
(Γαργηττός, Steph.; Hesych.; Schol. ad Aristoph. Thesm. 905; Apollodorus, Library, 2.8.1; Suda, s.vv. Ἀρητήσιον πεδίον, Γαργηττός; Plut. Theseus, 13, 35; Strabo, Geography, 8.6.19)

HAGNOUS (Ἁγνοῡς), Attic mesogeia deme of Akamantis phyle. Scholars locate Hagnous near Dankla, east of Markopoulo.
The herald Leos was generally considered distinct from the eponymous Hero Leos son of Orpheus, whose daughters sacrificed their lives to save Athens and who was worshipped at the Leokorion in the Kerameikos. Leos the herald was, however, worshipped locally in Hagnous.
(Steph.; Phryn.; Hesych.; Suda s.v. Ἁγνούσιος, Λεωκόριον; Plutarch, Theseus, 13; Traill, John S., The Political Organization of Attica: A Study of the Demes, Trittyes, and Phylai)

ALOPEKE (Ἀλωπεκή), Attic asty deme of Antiochis phyle. It was situated only eleven or twelve stadia from the city, and not far from Cynosarges. It lay consequently south-east of Athens, the most likely location is Katsipodi.Alopeke was a major suburban center, likely making up the entire asty trittys of Antiochis. It was one of the major seats of the Alkmaionid family.
Alopeke had a number of temples, including a temple of Aphrodite and a temple of Hermaphroditos. Another sight in the deme was the tomb of Ankhimolos the Spartan. Socrates and Thoukydides, son of Melesias, the leader of the aristocratic party against Perikles, came from Alopeke.
(Aesch. c. Timarch. 99; Hdt. 5.63; Böckh, Inscr. n. 395; Alciphr. Ep. 3.37; Suda s.v.; Plut. Themistocles 32, Aristides 1, Perikles 11)

AGRYLE (Ἀγρυλή), was the name of two demi, an upper and a lower Agryle. Attic asty demes of Erechtheis phyle.
Agryle lay on the western slopes of Hymettos to the south-east of Athens and immediately south-west of Ardettos, just above the Panathenaean stadium. The location is reasonably certain, based on both literary evidence and the find of a property inscription.
The deme took its name from Agraule or Aglauros, the daughter of Kekrops.
Stretching from the left bank of the Ilissos up the slopes of Hymettos, the deme Agryle had a somewhat natural or wild character – as can be seen from the name Agrai, a known area of the deme, and the related name of the deme itself, despite being essentially a suburb just outside the walls of Athens. The deme contained both the Panathenaean stadium and the court of Ardettos, where the dikasts originally took their juror’s oath.
(Harpocrat.; Suda; Hesych.; Bekker, Anecd. i. p. 332; Strabo 9.1.24; IG II2 2776)

HALIMOUS (Ἁλιμοῦς), Attic asty deme of Leontis phyle. Halimous took its name either from its location near the sea or from the plant halimon (ἅλιμον), the sea orach (Atriplex halimus) τὰ ἅλιμα. It was situated on the coast between Phaleron and Aixone, at the distance of 35 stadia (6 km) from the city. It included Cape Kolias. The site has been identified as being near the modern Halimos and Hagios Kosmas. The location is certain thanks to the discovery of a deme decree.
On the first day of the festival of the Stenia, the women gathered into groups by the demes of their husbands and went in procession to Halimous and the temple of Demeter on Cape Kolias. According to Plutarch, Solon arranged a defeat of the Megarans in Halimous, which led to the Attic conquest of Salamis. Having traveled there during the Thesmophoria and seeing all the women, he sent a man to Salamis to tell the Megarans that the leading women of Athens were there undefended. He then sent the women away and dressed younger men as women and had them dance on the shore to lure the Megarans to land and try to kidnap them. The Megarans were all killed and Salamis lay open and undefended for the Athenians to take.
Along with the temple of Demeter Thesmophoros, there were cults of Herakles, Hera, and Dionysos. A sanctuary of Dionysos, including a theater, has been found. There was also a temple of Aphrodite Kolias.
Halimus was the demus of Thucydides the historian.
(Harpocrat.; Suda; Steph.; Bekker, Anecd. i. p. 376; Schol. ad Aristoph. Av. 498; Etym. M. s. v. alima; Strab. ix. p.398; Dem. c. Eubulid. p. 1302; Paus. 1.31.1; Dem. pp. 1314, 1319; Plut. Solon 8)

AIXONE (Αἰξωνή), Attic paralia deme of Kekropis phyle, was located on the south-western coast of Attica between modern Glyphada and Voula. It was bounded on the west by the sea and on the east by the terraced slopes of Mount Hymettos. The location has been certainly identified by the discovery of deme decrees near the church of Hagios Nikolaos.
The Classical deme was well developed. It possessed both a Leskhe or assembly house and a theater, probably on the slopes of Hymettos, where the Lesser Dionysia was celebrated.
Aexone was celebrated for its fisheries, most especially the red mullet. The people of the deme were also known for their evil tongues. So much so that Aixonian became synonymous with a slanderer and “playing the Aixonian” came to mean “to speak ill of someone”.
(Harpocrat.; Athen. 7.325; Hesych.; Suid., s. v. Αἰξωνίδα τρίγλην; Bekker, Anecd. i. p. 358; Xen. Hell. 2.4. 26; Aristoph. Wasps 895; IG II2 2492)

HALAI AIXONIDES (Ἁλαί Αἰξωνίδες), Attic paralia deme of Kekropis phyle. Halai Aixonides lay on the western coast of Attica, a little south of the deme Aixones, from which it took the second part of its name, in the region of Cape Zoster. The name Halai refers to salt-pans or saline works where salt was extracted from sea water. The deme site was near the modern Voula, bordered on the north by Aixone (modern Glyphada) and on the east by Anagyros (modern Vari). The site is confirmed by the finds of boundary stones and a deme decree.
The Halaians were responsible for the maintenance of the altars of Apollo, Athena, Artemis and Leto on Cape Zoster, where Leto was said to have paused to loosen her belt while on her way to Delos to give birth. Sacrifices were also made to Apollo Kyneeios, apparently related to tuna. However, this rite may have been dedicated to Poseidon, not Apollo.
Halai Aixonides is one of the few demes known from documentary evidence to have had its own agora, where the deme assembly met. It is also known to have had special funds earmarked for religious purposes and was one of two demes where the demarch was assisted paredroi (assessors).
(Suda, s.vv. Ἀζηνιεύς, Ἁλαιεύς; Xenophon, Hell. 2.4; Traill, John S., The Political Organization of Attica: A Study of the Demes, Trittyes, and Phylai, and Their Representation in the Athenian Council; IG II2 1174)

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