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Ekklesia materials
Athenian Decree: The cleruchy on Salamis


ἔδοχσεν το̑ι δέμοι· τ̣[ὸς ἐ Σ]αλαμ̣[ῖνι κλερόχ]ος


οἰκε̑ν ἐᾶ Σαλαμῖνι [. . 5 . . ]λεν [. . . 7. . . Ἀθέ]νε-


σι τελε̑ν καὶ στρατ[εύεσθ]αι ⋮ τ̣[ὰ δ� ἐ Σαλαμῖνι] μ-


ὲ μι[σθ]ο̑ν, ἐὰ μὲ οἰκ[. . . 7 . . . ]ο[. μισθόμενο.⋮ ἐ]ὰ-


ν δὲ μισθο̑ι, ἀποτί[νεν τὸ μισθόμενον καὶ τὸ] μ̣-


ισθο̑ντα ℎεκάτε[ρον . . . . . . . . . . 19 . . . . . . . . . .]


ἐς δεμόσιο[ν : ἐσπράτεν δὲ τὸν ἄ]-


ρχο[ν]τα, ἐὰν [δὲ μέ, εὐθ]ύ[νεσθαι : τ]-


ὰ δὲ [ℎ]όπλα π[αρέχεσ]θ̣α[ι αὐτὸς : τ]-


ριά[κ]οντα : δρ[αχμο̑ν ⋮] ℎο[πλισμένο]-


ν δὲ [τ]ὸν ἄρχοντ[α τὰ ℎόπλα κρίν]-


εν ⋮ [ἐπ]ὶ τε̑ς β[ο]λε̑[ς . . . . . .c.11 . . . . .]



Decided by the demos. Th[ose in S]alam[is who are cleruch]s
shall be allowed to reside on Salamis [-15- to the Athe]ni-
ans to pay taxes and provide milit[ary service]. [But] what is theirs [on Salamis] shall not
be leased, unless a kinsmen(?) is the lessor. [I]-
f someone should lease it, [the lessee and the] l-
essor shall pay a penalty, each [of them -19-]
to the public treasury. [And the transaction shall be handled by the a]-
rchon, if [not, he shall be held accountable at his euth]y[na. The]-
ir weapons they shall f[urnish themselves]; the cost is th]-
irty dr[achmas. Having been armed]
the archon [shall review their weapons.]
The B[ou]le, [in] the year [- c.11 -]


510-500 BCE


Athens, Acropolis. Now in the Epigraphic Museum in Athens

Major editions:


In the aftermath of the reforms of Cleisthenes of 508/7 BCE, the new Athenian democracy sought to establish a presence in the Saronic Gulf against its Peloponnesian (led by Sparta) and Isthmian (led by Corinth) opponents. The nearby island of Aegina and the city-state of Corinth adjacent to the Isthmus, the narrow land that connects mainland Greece to the Peloponnese was controlled by Corinth, both had spheres of interest in the Saronic Gulf. These and other poleis or city-states were active members of the Peloponnesian League, which was led by Sparta and included Athens. The island of Salamis, which Athens had seized from Corinth�s neighboring polis Megara in the age of Pisistratus the tyrant ca. 560 BCE (Paus1., provided the ideal base for such a presence. This, the earliest extant decree of the Cleisthenic demos, addresses the rights and responsibilities ofkleruchoi or cleruchs (Athenian citizens dwelling outside of Athens who retain their citizenship) settled by Athens on the island: cleruchs must pay taxes and provide military services to Athens, they may lease the land only to kinsmen (the text here is fragmentary and may refer instead to a dweller) on penalty of a fine, and they must provide their own weapons. Athenian citizens transplanted to Salamis ensured a visible, physical manifestation of Athenian control of the western entrance to the northern Saronic Gulf.

While the restoration of kleruchoi in line 1 is uncertain (other proposed restorations include [Ἀθεναίο]ς, �Athenians�), the references to the legal restrictions on most likely Athenian (see the restored �Athe]ni/ans� on lines 2-3) residents suggest a group of immigrants with some degree of privileges, and cleruchs are one logical choice. These �lot-holders� (from kleros, �lot�) retained their Athenian citizenship while abroad, reaping all the benefits that citizen status entailed while receiving land allotted to them by Athens, typically at the expense of the local inhabitants. This official decree, if it does indeed refer to kleruchoi (see Taylor 1997, 63ff., who summarizes the scholarly positions on whether Salamis received a cleruchy in the years after the reforms of Cleisthenes), represents a very early occasion when Athens employed its own citizens to protect Athenian strategic interests abroad (another was sent in 506 BCE to Chalkis on Euboea after an Athenian victory first against the Boeotians on the mainland and then on Euboea against the Chalcidians, for which see Hdt. 5.77.2; Herodotus records the number of cleruchs dispatched to Chalkis as 4000). Alternatively, if the restoration of kleruchoi in line 1 is rejected, then the decree outlines the rights of and restrictions on Athenians already resident on the island, settled some time before the publication of this decree; if, as Taylor argues (95-101), the settlers were enrolled in mainland, Cleisthenic demes and retained their Attic demotic status while on Salamis, lines 1-3 would then read, �the demos decided to allow the Athenians on Salamis to live on Salamis [and thus away from the newly-created home demes in which they have been enrolled� (Taylor 1997, 101).

The text also refers to an archon (here, the local governor, as at LSJ s.v. ἄρχων, II.2), whose responsibilities seem to focus on property and military assessment (see also Arist. Ath. Pol. 54.8, where the duties include oversight of the local Dionysia and the appointment of choregoi, leaders of the dramatic choruses), and who is held accountable at a standardized hearing (euthyna, Arist. Ath. Pol. 48.4) at the end of his tenure; and the boule or Council of 500 (Paus. 1.3.5) recently created by Cleisthenes. The opening phrase - ἔδοχσεν το̑ι δέμοι, �decreed by the demos� � would soon become modified into the standard formula for Athenian decrees - ἔδοχσεν το̑ι δέμοι καἰτι βολι, �Decreed by the demos and the boule,� an indication that the approved legislation followed the normal process for ratification. Presented first to the boule by one of the ten tribes in prytany, each of which managed the boule�s agenda for one-tenth of the year, a law would need to receive approval by the boule and then be submitted to the assembly � the ekklesia, the embodiment of the demos � for final approval.

The orthography of this early decree includes epsilon instead of eta and omicron instead of omega, while aspirations are indicated by what looks like an eta. Athens did not formally adopt the more widely-known Ionic epigraphic alphabet until 403/402 BCE.


  • Christopher W. Blackwell, �The Assembly,� and �The Council� in C.W. Blackwell, ed., Dēmos: Classical Athenian Democracy (A. Mahoney and R. Scaife, edd., The Stoa: a consortium for electronic publication in the humanities []) edition of March 26, 2003.
  • Thomas Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander, 7.2, �Sources of Strife Between Athens and Sparta.�
  • Richard Stillwell, William L. MacDonald, Marian Holland. Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, s.v. Salamis, Attica, Greece. Princeton, N.J. Princeton University Press. 1976.
  • Martha C. Taylor, Salamis and the Salaminioi: The History of an Unofficial Athenian Demos. Amsterdam. J.C. Gieben, 1997.