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Amphictyons

council, called, deputies, nation, name, amphic and eschines

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AMPHI'CTYONS ('Apparroosss), members of a celebrated council in an cient Greece, called the Amphictyonic Council.

According to the popular story, this council was founded by Amphictyon, son of Deucalion, who lived, if he lived at all, many centuries before the Trojan war. It is supposed, by a writer quoted by Pansanias (x. 8), to derive its name, with a slight alteration, from a word signify ing " settlers around a place." Strabo, who professes to know nothing of its founder, says that Acrisius, the mytholo gical king of Argos, fixed its constitution and regulated its proceedings. Amidst the darkness which hangs over its origin, we discover with certainty that it was one of the earliest institutions in Greece. No full or clear account has been given of it during any period of its existence by those who had the means of inform ing us. The fullest information is supplied by &whines the orator; before any attempt is made, by the help of some short notices from other writers, and of conjecture, to trace its earlier history, it may not be amiss to state what is cer tainly known of this council as it existed in his time.

According to /Eschines, the Greek na tions which had a right to be represented is the council were the Thessalians, Bceotians, Dorian, Ionians, Perrhtebians, Magnesians, Locrians, (Etseans, Phthiots, Maliana, Phocians. Each nation was represented by certain sovereign states, of which it was supposed to be the parent : thus Sparta, conjointly with other Dorian states, represented the Dorian nation. Amongst the states thus united in repre• senting their common nation, there was a perfect equality. Sparta enjoyed no superiority over Dorium and Cytinium, two inconsiderable towns in Doris ; and the deputies of Athens, one of the repre sentatives of the Ionian nation, sat in the .souncil on equal terms with those of Ere tria and Eubcea, and of Priene, an Ionian colony in Asia Minor. From a rather doubtful passage in /Eschines (De Fals. Leg. 43), compared with a statement in Diodorus (xvi. 60), it seems that each na tion, whatever might be the number of its constituent states, had two, and only two votes. The council had two regular ses sions in each year, meeting in the spring at Delphi, and in the autumn near Pylte, otherwise called Thermopylm ; but spe cial meetings were sometimes called be fore the usual time. From its meeting at

Pylte, a session of Amphictyons was called a Pyltea, and the deputies were called Pylagorte, that is, councillors at Pylte. There were also deputies distinguished by the name of Hieromnemons, whose office it was, as their name implies, to attend to matters pertaining to religion. Athens sent three Pylagorte and one Hieromnemon. The former were ap pointed for each session ; the latter pro bably for a longer period, perhaps for the year, or two sessions. The council enter tained charges laid before it in relation to offences committed against the Delphic god, made decrees thereupon, and ap persons to execute them. These decrees, as we learn from Diodorns ( tvi. 24), were registered at Delphi. The Lath taken by the deputies bound the Amphic tyons not to destroy any of the Amphic tyonic cities, or to debar them from the use of their fountains in peace or war; to make war on any who should trans gress in theie particulars. and to destroy their cities ; to punish with hand, foot, yoke, and with all their might, any who should plunder the property of the cod (the Delphic Apollo), or should be privy to or devise anything against that which was in his temple. This is the oldest form of the Amphictyouic oath which i has been recorded, and is expressly called by )Eschines the ancient oath of the Amphictyons. It has inadvertently been attributed to Solon by Mr. Mitford, who has apparently confounded it with an other oath imposed on a particular omit Sion. An ordinary council consisted only of the deputed Pylagorte and Hiero mnemons; but on some occasions at Delphi, all who were present with the Amphic tyouic deputies to sacrifice in the temple and consult the oracle of the god, were summoned to attend, and then it received the name of an ecclesia, or assembly. Beside the list of Amphictyonic nations given by Eschines, we have one from Pausanias, which differs a little from that of /Eschines, and another from Harpo cration, which differs slightly from both. The orator, whilst he speaks generally of twelve nations, names only eleven. Strabo agrees with him in the larger number. It is further remarkable, that whilst )Eschines places the Thessalians at the head of his list, Demosthenes (De Pace, p. 62) expressly excludes them from a seat in the council.

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