Quite possibly the most amusing word I have ever come across in studying classical history. It comes from classical Greek and means literaly "500 bushel-bearers" or "500 measure men". I am using noted historian and my professor at Boston University L.J. Sammons' spelling of the word, as it has a number of latinized permutations. This word, lengthy even by classical Greek standards, was the title given to the upper class of citizens in the polis of Athens as a result of Solon's reforms of the 6th century BCE. It refers to the fact that members of this class were characterized by their ability to provide 500 measures (the unit is not known to modern historians) of harvest per year. The other 4 classes were the "hippeis", or "horse-men", who provided between 500 and 300 measures; "zeugitae" or "yokemen" who provided between 300 and 200 measures; and the "thetes" who were not able to provide 200 measures per year.

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