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Reviewed by:
  • Stephen D. Lambert
Nikolaos Papazarkadas. Sacred and Public Land in Ancient Athens. Oxford Classical Monographs. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. xii + 395 pp. Cloth, $125.

This fine study of sacred and public land in ancient Athens is a revision of a 2004 Oxford Ph.D. thesis. An introduction serves to review previous scholarship and to explore the distinction between “public” and “sacred” “realty.” Chapter 2, “The Athenian Polis as Administrator of Sacred Realty,” documents in detail all the known “realty,” within and beyond Attica, of Athena, the “other gods,” the Eleusinian goddesses, and “new gods” (i.e., those whose cults were founded after the “treasury of the other gods” was established in the 430s b.c.e.), explores the leasing process and officials involved (questioning whether the pōlētai had the role conventionally ascribed to them), and the purposes for which the rents were deployed, primarily sacrifices and building works, and essays a quantification of the property involved. Chapter 3, “Constitutional Subunits of Athens as Administrators of Realty,” reviews the landed property of the Cleisthenic tribes and demes; chapter 4, “Non-Constitutional Associations,” that of phratries, genē and orgeones. Chapter 5, “Public Non-Sacred Realty,” collects the evidence for the city’s “public” (dēmosios) property. It was not sacred, nor generally agricultural or otherwise productive, but included, for example, the harbour area in Piraeus (“everything from this street towards the area of the harbour is dēmosios,” IG I3 1109; cf. the town-planner Hippodamos, who, according to Aristotle Pol. 1267b, “divided the land into three parts, one sacred [hiera], one public [dēmosia] and one private [idia]”), the public watercourse implied by Demosthenes 55 Against Kallikles 12–13, the properties designated as dēmosios (including threshing floors) in the public land-sale accounts of the Lykourgan period (S. Lambert, ed. Rationes Centesimarum [Leiden 1997] F7), mountains, roads, mines, cemeteries (the Demosion Sema), and quarries.

The eighty-two pages of appendices contain much useful material. Appendix 1 traces the history of the tract of land between Athens and Megara known as the sacred orgas, for which the most important evidence is an inscribed Athenian decree of 352/1, IG II3 1, 292, in which the Athenians decided to mark off the orgas afresh with new stone markers (horoi) and to enquire of the oracle at Delphi whether the land inside (or outside) the markers should be cultivated. Appendix 2 is an extensive exploration of the sacred olive trees of Attica. Appendix 3 suggests (not perhaps wholly convincingly) that IG II2 1593, an inscribed list of “buyers” (ōnētai) and guarantors of the Lykourgan period, is a record of the letting of tax-collecting contracts. Appendix 4 studies two deme properties: [End Page 507] the Theodoreion in Prasieis leased in IG II2 2497 and Charinidai in Poros sold in Rationes Centesimarum F7A, 3–8. Appendix 5 shows that the Attic descent group attested on Delos, the Pyrrhakidai of the Aigilieis (I Délos 66 and 67), were a genos (not a phratry as I had suggested in Phratries of Attica [Ann Arbor, Mich. 1998] 218, 368) with a branch in the deme Aigilia, in the same way as our best-documented genos, the Salaminioi, had a branch at Sounion. Appendix 6 emphasises that the resolution of the two branches of the Salaminioi into two separate genē, as attested in the later of the two extant inscriptions recording arbitrations of genos property (S. Lambert, ZPE 119 [1997]:88–89, no. 2), will have been triggered by the political disturbances of the third century, and points out that the Athenian archon Phanomachos, who dates the inscription, is unlikely to have held office during the Chremonidean war. Appendix 7 undertakes a fresh prosopographical analysis of the ninety-six men attested as lessees of sacred estates let by the city, and their guarantors, showing (pace K. M. W. Shipton, Leasing and Lending: The Cash Economy in Fourth-Century BCE Athens [London 2000]) that the proportion of lessees of the liturgical class, ca. 17 percent, is in line with the profile of mine lessees and relatively high. I note, however, that nearly 50 percent are from otherwise unknown...


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