Demos

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Demos

 

in its broad sense, the designation of the free population of the ancient Greek city-states, who had full rights as citizens (differentiated from slaves, metics, Perioeci, and other categories of dependents and others who were not fully enfranchised). Demos originally referred to a people or region, but as early as the Homeric (11th to ninth centuries B.C.) and archaic (eighth to sixth centuries B.C.) periods, the term was used to designate the common people (primarily the rural population), as opposed to the hereditary aristocracy, the eupatridae. In the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., demos came to include part of the urban population (craftsmen and merchants). Later, from the end of the fifth century and in the fourth, demos referred to the poor (primarily urban) section of the population.