Eponymous hero

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Eponymous hero , eponym or eponymos ( ancient Greek Ἐπώνυμος , name giver ; Pl .: eponymoi ) denotes a mythical or historical figure in antiquity , from whose name the name of a social group , a tribe , a people , a city, an island or one Mountain range was derived. Eponyms of cities or tribes were often heroes ( heroes ) or patriarchs or matriarchs , which usually has its own as mythical founders of religious worship was dedicated.

For example, the Greek poet Hesiod mentions around 700 BC. In his catalog of women the Hellen as the eponym of the Hellenes , the Macedon as the progenitor of the Macedonians and the Graikos as the eponym of the Graikoi , the north-west Greek tribe, from whose name the Latin Graeci and our name for the Greeks is derived.

Eponymoi in Athens

After the reforms of Kleisthenes, at the end of the 6th century BC, 10 new phyls (subdivisions of Athens) were created. These were named after previously known heroes . The Eponymoi developed a very strong cult and thus formed much more than a name of the Phyls. Since the Phylenes were a new community, the Athenians gladly adopted the new common cult. As a result, not only the phyle members of a phyle were united, but also all Athenians among themselves. Kron even ascribes to the Eponymoi that they supported the unification of Attica.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hesiod : Catalog. Fragments 2 and 9 (ed. Merkelbach / West).
  2. ^ Hesiod: Catalog. Fragment 7 (ed. Merkelbach / West).
  3. ^ Hesiod: Catalog. Fragment 5 (ed. Merkelbach / West).