Archon of Athens

This is a list of the eponymous archons of Athens.


The archon was the chief magistrate in many Greek cities, but in Athens there was a council of archons which comprised a form of executive government. From the late eighth century BC, there were three archons, the "archon eponymous", the "polemarch" (replaced in 501 BC by ten strategoi), and the "archon basileus" (the ceremonial remnant of the Athenian monarchy).Fact|date=September 2007 These positions were filled from the aristocracy (the Eupatridae) by elections every ten years. During this period Archon Eponymous was the chief magistrate, the Polemarch was the head of the armed forces, and the Archon Basileus was responsible for the civic religious arrangements.

After 508 BC the offices were held for only a single year, and the year was named after the archon eponymous. The archon eponymous was the chief archon, and presided over meetings of the Boule and Ecclesia, the ancient Athenian assemblies. The archon eponymous remained the titular head of state even under the democracy, though with much reduced political importance. Under the reforms of Solon, himself archon eponymous in 594 BC, there was a brief period during which the number of archons rose to ten. After 457 BC ex-archons were automatically enrolled as life members of the Areopagus, though that assembly was no longer extremely important politically at that time.

One of the archons oversaw the procedure for ostracism after 487 BC.Fox "The Classical World" p. 122] An archon's court was in charge of epikleroi.Lacey "The Family in Ancient Greece" p. 139-145] Other duties of the archons included supervising the Panathenaea and Dionysia.Adkins "Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece" p. 35-36]

In the following list of Archons, years where the name of the archon is unknown are identified as such. Years listed as "anarchy" mean that there was literally "no archon". There are various conflicting reconstructions of lists; sources for this list are given at the end. Note that the term of an archon covered two of our years, beginning in the spring or summer and continuing into the next spring or summer. The polemarch or strategoi, basileus, and thesmothetai (the six assistants to the archons) are also listed, where known.

Life archons

The later Athenian tradition varies on the exact position of this line; they held archonship for life, and exercised the sacral powers of kingship, as did the archon basileus later. The historicity of any of this list may be reasonably doubted. Fact|date=May 2007
*Medon (polytonic|Μέδων) 1068- 1048 BC.
*Acastus (polytonic|Ἄκαστος) 1048 - 1012 BC.
*Archippus 1012 - 993 BC.
*Thersippus 993- 952 BC.
*Phorbas (polytonic|Φόρβας) 952- 922 BC.
*Megacles (polytonic|Μεγακλῆς) 922- 892 BC.
*Diognetus 892- 864 BC.
*Pherecles 864- 845 BC.
*Ariphron 845- 825 BC.
*Thespieus (polytonic|Θεσπιεύς) 824- 797 BC.
*Agamestor 796- 778 BC.
*Aeschylus (polytonic|Αἰσχύλος) 778- 755 BC.
*Alcmaeon (polytonic|Ἀλκμαίων) 755- 753 BC.

Decennial archons

In 753 BC the perpetual archonship (essentially a kingship, see Kings of Athens) was limited to 10 years (the "decennial archons"):

Annual archons

After 683 BC the archonship was limited to one year. Archons were chosen from the Areopagus council.


*List mostly adapted from [] and []
*Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. "Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece" New York: Oxford University Press 1997 ISBN0-19-512491-X
* [ Aristotle's Athenian Constitution]
*William Bell Dinsmoor, The Archons of Athens in the Hellenistic Age. Cambridge, 1931 (1966 reprint,
*William Bell Dinsmoor, The Athenian Archon List in the Light of Recent Discoveries. Columbia University Press, 1939 (1974 reprint, ISBN 0-8371-4735-2)
*Fox, Robin Lane "The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian" New York: Basic Books 2006 ISBN 0-465-02496-3
*Debra Hamel, Athenian Generals: Military Authority in the Classical Period. Koninklijke Brill NV, 1998.
*Lacey, W. K. "The Family in Classical Greece" Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press 1968

See also

* "Archon basileus"
* "Polemarch" (replaced in 501 BC by ten strategoi)
* Hierotheos the Thesmothete, reported first head of the Christians of Athens.


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