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The Attic 'Genos'

Lambert, Stephen David 1999. The Attic 'Genos'. Classical Quarterly 49 (2) , pp. 484-489. 10.1093/cq/49.2.484

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Over twenty years since the influential revisionist studies of Roussel and Bourriot, agreement on a satisfactory theory of the Attic genos seems as elusive as ever. Although they differed on details, these two scholars were agreed in their rejection of the old monolithic account of the genos as aristocratic family whose institutionalized control over state cults and phratry admissions in the historical period was a relic of a wider political dominance. Roussel and Bourriot instead proposed a tripartite model according to which the formal genos-kome—a more or less localized community similar to the later deme, with hereditary but socio-economically diverse membership, and enjoying, as a tighter community well placed to regulate its own admissions, automatic access to the wider phratry—was distinguishable both from aristocratic families, such as the Peisistratidai or Alkmeonidai, and priestly houses, such as the Kerykes and Eumolpidai of Eleusis. Subsequent discussion has moved in several directions. My analysis of the relationship between phratry and genos followed a broadly revisionist line. I found no good evidence for gene controlling the access to phratries of persons who were not genos members and presented a new interpretation of the crucial Demotionidai decrees in which, contrary to prevailing theories, neither of the two groups mentioned in them—the Demotionidai and the House (oikos) of the Dekeleieis—was a privileged subgroup dominating the whole. Rather, I suggested that the Demotionidai were a phratry in process of fission, the Dekelean House a product of this process. Others, however, have taken the debate in the other direction, as it were reprivileging the genos.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CN Inscriptions. Epigraphy.
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 21/02/2014).
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0009-8388
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:26

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