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Headword: *toco/tai
Adler number: tau,771
Translated headword: archers
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] the public attendants [sc. in Athens], guardians of the town-centre, a thousand in number, who at first lived in tents in the middle of the agora but later moved to the Areopagos. These men were also called Scythians and Speusinians; [the latter] from a certain Speusinos, one of the political leaders of old, who had made the arrangements for them.
Greek Original:
*toco/tai: oi( dhmo/sioi u(phre/tai, fu/lakes tou= a)/steos, to\n a)riqmo\n xi/lioi, oi(/tines pro/teron me\n w)/|koun th\n a)gora\n me/shn skhnopoihsa/menoi, u(/steron de\ mete/bhsan ei)s *)/areion *pa/gon. e)kalou=nto de\ ou(=toi kai\ *sku/qai kai\ *speusi/nioi: a)po\ *speusi/nou tino\s tw=n pa/lai politeuome/nwn sunta/cantos ta\ peri\ au)tou/s.
From the scholia to Aristophanes, Acharnians 54, where they are mentioned (web address 1). See also tau 772.
"In the period c.450-350 Athens had a force of 300 Scythian slaves, usually known as the 'archers' (toxotai) from the weapons they carried or the 'Scythians' from their nationality. They were stationed on the hill of the Areopagos, and their duties included keeping order in the Assembly and the courts; they were at the disposition of several boards of magistrates. It does not, however, seem that they were any kind of police force in the general modern sense" (M.H. Hansen, The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes (Oxford [Blackwell] 1991) 124, citing sources).
The name Speusinioi or Peusinioi given for them here and elsewhere is mysterious; neither Speusinos nor Peusinos is a name attested in Attic prosopography.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: aetiology; biography; comedy; daily life; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; law; politics
Translated by: David Whitehead on 8 November 2001@06:43:54.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added link, set status) on 31 October 2004@01:45:06.
David Whitehead (x-ref; another keyword; cosmetics) on 1 November 2004@03:15:38.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 20 November 2005@10:29:18.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 14 August 2011@10:05:41.
David Whitehead on 14 January 2014@06:58:00.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticules) on 11 September 2022@19:30:46.


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