Aristotle, The Athenian Constitution

LCL 285: 8-9

Go To Section
Go To Section



Primae partis Epitoma Heraclidis

[Heracleides Lembos in the second century b.c. compiled a book called Ἱστορίαι which contained quotations from Aristotle’s Constitutions. Excerpts made from this book, or from a later treatise by another author based upon it, have come down to us in a fragmentary form in a Vatican ms. of the 8th century, now at Paris, under the title Ἐκ τῶν Ἡρακλείδου περὶ Πολιτειῶν. These were edited by Schneidewin in 1847 and by others later.

1. Ἀθηναῖοι τὸ μὲν ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἐχρῶντο βασιλείᾳ. συνοικησάντος δὲ Ἴωνος αὐτοῖς τότε πρῶτον Ἴωνες ἐκλήθησαν.

<Τούτου γὰρ οἰκήσαντος τὴν Ἀττικήν, ὡς Ἀριστοτέλης φησί, τοὺς Ἀθηναίους Ἴωνας κληθῆναι, καὶ Ἀπόλλωνα Πατρῷον αὐτοῖς ὀνομασθῆναι. (Harpocration s.v Ἀπόλλων Πατρῷος.)

Πατρῷον τιμῶσιν Ἀπόλλωνα Ἀθηναῖοι ἐπεὶ Ἴων ὁ πολέμαρχος Ἀθηναίων ἐξ Ἀπόλλωνος καὶ Κρεούσης τῆς Ξούθου1 ἐγένετο. (Schol. Aristoph. Αv. 1537.)>

  • 1Ξούθου <γυναικὸς> Rose.

Athenian Constitution, FR.

Aristotle—the Athenian Constitution

Heracleides’ Epitome of the first part

For a complete study of these contributions to the reconstruction of The Athenian Constitution readers must consult the standard commentators on the latter; only those fragments which belong to the lost early part of the treatise are given here. Quotations of the same passages of Aristotle made by other writers have been collected by scholars, and are inserted in the text in brackets < > where they fill gaps in Heracleides.]

Fr. 1. The Athenians originally had a royal government. It was when Ion came to dwell with them that they were first called Ionians.

<For when he came to dwell in Attica, as Aristotle says, the Athenians came to be called Ionians, and Apollo was named their Ancestral god.

The Athenians honour Ancestral Apollo because their War-lord Ion was the son of Apollo and Creusa the daughtera of Xuthus.>

  • aA word has perhaps been lost in the Greek, giving ‘the wife of Xuthus’—unless indeed the text is a deliberate bowdlerization of the legend. Xuthus, King of Peloponnesus, married Creusa, daughter of Erechtheus, King of Athens, after whose death he was banished; but Creusa’s son Ion was recalled to aid Athens in war with Eleusis, won them victory, and died and was buried in Attica.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-athenian_constitution.1935