Zeugitai


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Zeugitai

 

(from Greek zéugos, a paired team of oxen), in ancient Athens, the third census group (after the pentacosiomedimni and the knights [hippēs]), as defined by the reforms of Solon in 594–593 B.C.

The zeugitai were those citizens who obtained an annual harvest ranging from 200 to 300 medimni (1 medimnus equaling between 41 and 52 liters). During the sixth and first half of the fifth century B.C. the zeugitai evidently formed the overwhelming majority of the citizens of Attica and were primarily medium and small landowners. In wartime they served in the army as hoplites. At first they could only be elected to the lowest offices, but under Cleisthenes (end of the sixth century B.C.) they gained the right to be elected strategoi; in 457 B.C. they became eligible for the archonship.