Teaching Staff: Kapetanios Andreas
Course Code: ΑΚΛ602
Course Type: Seminar
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Semester: 8th

Short Description:

The seminar deals with the material dimension of the institutional entity of the Classical Attic Déme,  the living cell of the Athenian polity. This functions as a vehicle to teach students how to study material remains (artefacts, biofacts, architecture) and the landscape as a whole, in order to understand past societies. The origins of the Déme are traced back to social structures and the corresponding landscape organisation of the sub-Mycenaean times, in terms of symbolic landmarks and territorial perceptions,. Its emergence as a product of the Kleistenean reform and the consequent re-organisation of the Attic landscape, are analysed in detail.  The consideration of the Démes as nested and intersecting social and spatial networks is examined in their evolution through to Late Roman times, following their course to centripetal formation.  Issues of legitimisation of power relations via material reference to the past within an ‘ancestral landscape’ are raised and discussed. The overall evolution in a continuum of nucleation to dispersion is evaluated and its relationship to social change is assessed.


Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

The seminar aims at:

-a familiarisation of the students with the methods of archeology as regards the analysis of material remains of past societies within their spatial context. This framework allows for the consideration of material culture as an historical source, with the emphasis set on the dynamics of the landscape palimpsest.

-a deeper understanding of the operational attributes of the Athenian City State, as a Democratic Polity, in their relationship to the anthropogenic Attic landscape, focusing on the comparison between pre-Kleisthenean and post-Kleisthenean sociopolitical structures.


Upon successful completion of the seminar series, the student will be able to apply methods of studying material culture in its spatial organisation, in order to built up arguments substantiating processes of emergence, function and evolution of the Attic Démes.

In particular, the student will acquire the tools to

- link architecture, sculptural art, inscriptions, settlement patterns and the historical landscape, with the organization of the Athenian Polity and the functioning of the democratic system. 

- critically comment on possible relationships between changes in the material dimension of Attic Démes and changes in social structures.



Week #1:

Basic concepts: Kleisthenean political organisation, Polis, Démes, Asty - Chora, Trittyae.


Week #2:

Origins: Pre-Kleisthenean sociopolitical structures and their evolution from the sub-Mycenaean years to the Archaic period.


Week #3:

Topographic issues: How do we identify names and location of the Classical Attic Démes? Borders and territories. The Classical Attic Démes within the modern landscape.  Roads and passages in ancient and modern topography.


Week #4:

The material dimension of the Attic Déme - 1:

Identification and categorisation of the material elements that constitute the Démes in the landscape. The Déme as a Network. Nucleation and dispersion. Settlement patterns, residential - production clusters: the relationship between production and habitation. The basic module in the social and the spatial organization of the Attic Déme.


Week #5:

The material dimension of the Attic Déme - 2:

Collective foci: the scattered communities of the Déme gather in centers of political and/or religious activities as distinct socio-political and/or economic collectivities (e.g. Demesmen, géne, fratriae, thiasoi, eranoi): Agorae, sanctuaries, theatres.


Week #6:

The material dimension of the Attic Déme -3:

Mortuary Landscape:  Burial enclosures and cemeteries. Comparing Asty to Chora.. Economic, family, tribal relations and the symbolic meaning of burial grounds. Landownership ‘legitimised’ and landmarked by burial enclosures.


Week #7:

The material dimension of the Attic Déme -4:

Communication networks: Mobile practices related to communication, production, ritual, defense: Roads, harbours and neosoikoi, forts and watchtowers (fryktoriae).

Large-scale works: hydraulic systems structured by long and strong retaining walls for water resource management (harnessing rivers, streams and torrents, distributing water).


Week #8:

The material dimension of the Attic Déme -5:

Inscriptions, rupestral inscriptions, graffiti: On movable stelae or anchored in the landscape (engraved into bedrock-surface) signposting property, security, mortgage, evaluations, terms of leasing, dowry and inheritance, or merely identities, presence and friendship.


Week #9:

Special concepts deriving from epigraphic or other written sources:

Chorion, edaphe, oikos, aule, kepos, ergasterion, pyrgos, aimassia, eschatia, felleus. The meaning of these terms and their implementation in the landscape. Their relationship with the spatial organisation of the production/habitation modules.  Their topographical - geomorphological attributes and the subsequent formation of the Attic historical landscape.


Week #10:

Analysis of the correlations between material aspects and social relations and structures -A:

Economic relations, power relations, political and religious collectivities. Identities, freemen and slaves: the archaeology of the silent ones.


Week #11:.

Analysis of the correlations between material aspects and social relations and structures -B:

Studying Μental Maps of the Attic Démes landscape: The example of the inscriptions of the Poletae Records, recording public property leasing contracts.


Week #12:.

Analysis of the correlations between material aspects and social relations and structures -C:

The intangible becomes tangible: networks of material symbols which manifest ideologies in space.  The example of the relationship "Heroes - hero cults - landmarks (tombs of heroes and shrines) and Démes’ sacrificial calendars”: a sacred landscape.


Week #13:

Comparing structural change:

From the pre-Kleisthenean structuring of the landscape, to the emergence of the multidimensional concept of the Déme and then to the radical re-organization of the Attic landscape by Late Antiquity as a result of a long process of transformation of the Attic Démes.


Note: From the 8th week onwards, the lecturing part  of the seminar is followed by student oral presentations and debate. Discussion aims to help students in the process of composing the written form of their work.


Suggested Bibliography:

Aristotle, Αθηναίων Πολιτεία  (of any edition).

Aristophanes Νεφέλαι, Πλούτος, Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι, Ειρήνη, Όρνιθες (of any edition).

Pausanias Ελλάδος Περιήγησις: Αττικά.   Suggested edition in greek: Ν. Παπαχατζή (επιμ.) 1990, Παυσανίου Αττικά, Αθήνα, Μέλισσα,.

Βασιλοπούλου, Β., Κατσαρού-Τζεβελέκη (eds.) 2009. Από τα Μεσόγεια στο Σαρωνικό.  Conference proceedings: Β’ Εφορεία Προϊστορικών και Κλασικών Αρχαιοτήτων, το Έργο μιας Δεκαετίας 1993-2003, Δήμος Μαρκοπούλου Μεσογαίας.

Crosby M. (1941) “Greek inscriptions: a poletai record of the year 367/6”, Hesperia 10, 13-40.

Ferguson W.S. (1938) “The Salaminioi of Heptaphylaiand Sounion”, Hesperia 7, 1-74.

Glotz, G. (2013). The Greek city and its institutions. Routledge.

Jones, John E., L. Hugh Sackett, and Alexander J. Graham. (1962) "The Dema House in Attica." Annual of the British School at Athens 57: 75-114.

Jones, J. E., Graham, A. J., Sackett, L. H., & Geroulanos, M. I. (1973). “An Attic country house below the cave of Pan at Vari”.The Annual of the British School at Athens, 68, 355-452.

Κορρές, Μ (ed.) (2009). Αττικής Οδοί, Αρχαίοι Δρόμοι της Αττικής, Αθήνα, Μέλισσα.

Mossé, C. (1973). Athens in decline, 404-86 BC. Routledge.

Ober, J. (2009). Mass and elite in democratic Athens: Rhetoric, ideology, and the power of the people. Princeton University Press.

Σταϊνχάουερ, Γ., 2009.  “Το οδικό δίκτυο της Αττικής. Οι οδοί του Σουνίου και το οδικό δίκτυο της Λαυρεωτικής”.  in: Μ. Κορρές , Αττικής Οδοί. Αρχαίοι δρόμοι της Αττικής, Αθήνα, 59-63.

Σταϊνχάουερ, Γ., 2010. “Aττικοί δήμοι” in: Βλαχόπουλος, Α, (ed.) Αρχαία Αθηνα και Αττική.  Iστορική τοπογραφία του άστεως και της χώρας. Αθήνα.

Σταϊνχάουερ, Γ., 2012 “Άστυ και Χώρα στην Αττική από την Κλασική στην Ύστερη Ρωμαϊκή Εποχή” in: Δρακούλης, Π. και Τσότσος, Γ. (eds.) Ιστορική Γεωγραφία της Ελλάδος και της Ανατολικής Μεσογείου, Αθήνα, Σταμούλη.

Traill, J. S. (1975). The political Organization of Attica. A study of the Demes, Trittyes, and Phylai, and their representation in the Athenian Council, ASCSA (Vol. 14).

Young J.H. (1941) “Studies in South Attica: The Salaminioi at Porthmos”, Hesperia 10, 163-191.

Young J.H. (1956) “Studies in South Attica: Country Estates at Sounion”, Hesperia 25.2, 122-146.

Further bibliography will be assigned at the seminar meetings as well as in tutoring meetings.


Teaching Methods:

Teaching involves lecturing, discussion and presentation of papers by students. The choice of the papers’ topic and specific subject as well as the formulation of the paper’s title is a process - part of the teaching method.  It takes place during the first four weeks, both collectively and individually. Emphasis is set on the debate following the students’ presentations, aiming at producing an enhanced written essay, by integrating comments, critiques and suggestions.


Evaluation Methods:

Constructive participation in the debates, during the seminars (15%); oral presentation of the paper (25%); the final written form (60%).

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