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Zeugitae

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Zeugitae

Zeugitae were members of the third census division created by Solon's constitutional reforms in ancient Athens. The Zeugitae were those whose property or estate could produce 200 bushels of wet or dry goods (or their equivalent), per year. The term appears to have come from the Greek word for "yoke", which has led modern scholars to conclude that zeugitae were either men who could afford a yoke of oxen or men who were "yoked together" in the phalanx—that is, men who could afford their own hoplite armor.[1]

The Zeugitae could serve as Hoplites in the Athenian Army. The idea was that you could serve as a Hoplite if you had enough money to equip yourself in that manner, i.e. you could produce 200 bushels or more per year.

At the time of Solon's reforms, zeugitae were granted the right to hold certain minor political offices.[2] Their status rose through the years; in 457/6 BC they were granted the right to hold the archonship,[3] and in the late 5th century moderate oligarchs advocated for the creation of an oligarchy in which all men of hoplite status or higher would be enfranchised, and such a regime was indeed established for a time during the Athenian coup of 411 BC.[4]

They were eligible for a few positions of government in Athens such as:

  • Council of 500
  • Lower Offices of State
  • Ecclesia
  • In 457/6 BC the archonship was opened to zeugitae

Other classes included the Pentakosiomedimnoi, Hippeis and Thetes.

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