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Deme Accounts and the Meaning of hosios Money in Fifth-Century Athens

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image of Mnemosyne

Comparing the accounts of the deme Ikarion (IG I3 253) with those of Rhamnous (IG I3 247 bis and 253; IRhamnous 181 and 182) and Plotheia (IG I3 258), this article argues that the adjective hosios applied to a fund in Ikarion indicates that this money was dêmosios and to be used in a way pleasing to the gods. The long-standing view that hosios when applied to money means ‘free for secular use’ or ‘secular’ (e.g. LSJ s.v. σιος) is shown to be unfounded, inviting a reassessment of the meanings of hosios. The use of public money for funding cults as attested in these deme accounts sheds new light on public finance in classical Athens.

Affiliations: 1: Utrecht University, Department of History and Art History Drift 10, 3512 BS Utrecht, The Netherlands, Email:


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