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epōnymoi


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Are those, usually gods or heroes, after whom something is named or thought to be named. Most often regions or cities are thought to be named after a hero, such as Arcas for Arcadia. Historical characters also gave their names to cities (Antioch, Alexandria). Divisions of the populace also had heroic eponyms. In Athens, the eponymoi (with no further qualification) were the ten heroes who gave their names to the ten Cleisthenic tribes created in 508/7 bc (see cleisthenes (2); phylai). These heroes, who were said to have been picked by Delphi from a list of 100 submitted, all had separate, presumably pre‐existing cults, to which members of the new tribes gradually became in some measure attached; they had also, apparently, a collective cult in the Agora (see athens, topography), where statues of the ten stood on a high base and tribal notices were posted.

A quite different case is the ‘eponymous magistrate’ who gives his name to his year of office, like the Athenian archon (see archontes).

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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