A special sort of Greek colony (see colonization, greek) in which the settlers kept their original citizenship and did not form a completely independent community. In Classical Greek history the term is confined to certain Athenian settlements founded on conquered territory (Greek and non‐Greek) from the end of the 6th cent. bc, esp. during the period of the Delian League. It is often hard to decide whether a settlement of the 5th cent. is a cleruchy, as ancient authors do not always distinguish cleruchies from other colonies (see apoikia), and because it seems that colonists did not forfeit their Athenian citizenship any more than did cleruchs.
The numbers in a cleruchy varied from 4,000 (Chalcis) to 250 (Andros). Settlers each received an allotment which maintained them as zeugitai. The cleruchs probably resided in the cleruchies (rather than living in Athens as rentiers), and the cleruchies may sometimes have served the purpose of garrisons in addition to providing land for the poor. As Athenian citizens, cleruchs were liable for military service, paid war‐tax (eisphora), and took part in religious activity at Athens.
Subjects: Classical Studies.