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Statue (5th century BC) in the Regional Museum of Agrigento , Sicily
Statue (4th or 3rd century BC) in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Ephebe ( Greek  ἔφηβος ephebos = "youth", "young man") was generally called a young man in ancient Greece immediately after puberty . The term "Ephebe" can also be used to indicate a hierarchical student-teacher relationship; it is also used in connection with the youth of the Gymnasium or Lyceion .



In Athens one understood from the 4th century BC. Under an Ephebie a young man of about 18 years of age who received a two-year state education (Ephebie), which related to military service, as a prerequisite for obtaining full citizenship . The introduction of the Ephebe goes back to an austerity measure: They replaced the 300 Scythian archers who had previously carried out the police duties in Athens. After 166 BC The ephebic institution developed from a military to a privileged education for young men of the upper class. The ephebie existed until the 3rd century AD.

There are archaeological examples of this in both Greek vase painting and statuary art. Very nice examples of this are the blonde head from the Acropolis , the ephebe from the Archaeological Museum of Agrigento and the so-called Kritios boy .


The Roman patrician families adopted the Greek concept in the upbringing of young men; the term was Latinized to ephebus . Statues from Roman times have also been found in many parts of the Imperium Romanum .

See also


  • Henri Jeanmaire : Couroi et Courètes. Essai sur l'éducation spartiate et sur les rites d'adolescence dans l'Antiquité hellénique. Bibliothèque universitaire, Lille 1939.
  • Nigel M. Kennell: Ephebeia. A register of Greek cities with citizen training systems in the Hellenistic and Roman periods . Weidmann, Hildesheim 2006, ISBN 3-615-00322-5 .
  • C. Pélékidis: Éphébie. Histoire de l'éphébie attique, des origines à 31 av. J.-C. Ed. de Boccard, Paris 1962.
  • Oscar William Reinmuth : The Ephebic Inscriptions of the Fourth Century BC Brill, Leiden 1971.
  • Pierre Vidal-Naquet : Le Chasseur noir et l'origine de l'éphébie athénienne. In: ders .: Le Chasseur noir. Formes de pensée et forms de société dans le monde grec. Maspéro, 1981.
  • Hans-Ulrich Wiemer : From a community school to an aristocratic club? The Athenian Ephebie in the Roman Empire . In: Chiron . tape 41 , 2011, p. 487-537 .

Web links

Commons : Ephebe  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wilhelm Pape : Concise dictionary of the Greek language . Vol. 1: A-K. Edited by Maximilian Sengebusch . 3. Edition. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig 1914, p. 1116
  2. ^ Gunnel Ekroth: The Sacrificial Rituals of Greek Hero-Cults in the Archaic to the Early Hellenistic Period. Liége 2002, I, 115.