The Scribes of Athenian Democracy

Karpyuk Sergey G.

Athenian scribes, or secretaries, are considered by scholars to be emblematic figures of Athenian democracy. It must be recognized that on the whole Athenian scribes were a part of the oral civilization of Ancient Greece. Onomastic data show that scribes were appreciably different from the main part of the Athenian population, and even more so from the most active adherents of democracy. Their names prove that they were closer to thiasotai, members of religious associations. They constituted a specific social group, separated from others by certain cultural distinctions. Thus, the democratic system admitted the existence of elitist social groups, which were necessary for its functioning. However, the «servants of the people» were strictly controlled by the popular assembly and other democratic institutions.

Keywords: Athens, scribes, grammateus, democracy