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See demes; democracy, athenian. The Greek word means originally ‘district, land’, hence esp. (in Attica and elsewhere) the villages or demes (demoi, pl. of demos) which were the main units of country settlement. From ‘the place where the people live’ the word comes to mean ‘the people’, as in compounds like dēmo‐kratia, ‘people‐power’ or ‘democracy’; demos sometimes means ‘the sovereign people’, sometimes ‘the common people’.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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