Friday, May 15, 2009

The Tribes

There were 18 tribes or wards (phylae) in Antioch. The individual phylae were led by an epimeletes (or supervisor/overseer/governor). The phylae were used as electoral divisions for sending representatives to the Bouleterion (city council) for the civic administration.

Sir William Ramsey comments in the Journal of Hellenic Studies (Vol XXXVIII, 1918, pg 185),: "Certainly in various cases the tribes in a Hellenic city of Greece or Asia Minor had an ethnic character, and one nationality was often enrolled in a special tribe. This classification was often carried out in a very arbitrary fashion; e.g. Josephus mentions that all the Jews in Syrian Antioch were enrolled in the tribe Makedones, which was of course the most honourable of all in a Seleucid city".

This is the only reference to the name of one of the tribes that we have seen, excepting the possibility that some of the benefactors of the Fuller's Canal were also the names of tribes.

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