Cleisthenes reformed the Athenian society and the Athenian politics. He organized the Athenian society into 10 artificial tribes, and further divided them into thirds.

I am told that earlier, there were four villages in Northern Attica which traditionally used to function as a united entity in Athenian politics. However, Cleisthenes' reforms made 3 of them go into one of the groups, and the fourth one into another. This was given as an example of how the system divided traditional unities and alliances.

My question is that what were these four villages? What happened to them after the reforms? Were there any protests by members of these villagers to maintain the status quo? In general, any more information about these villages would be helpful.

  • In your question you ask for "villages". Sorry if I got this wrong, but are you sure you didn't mean "tribes"?
    – Brasidas
    Oct 6, 2016 at 1:58
  • @Brasidas I'm pretty sure the lecturer said villages. I know there were four tribes earlier, but I don't think it fits in the description.
    – taninamdar
    Oct 6, 2016 at 2:00

1 Answer 1


According to The Formation of the Greek People, by A. Jarde:

The new system took no account of the old politico-religious associations, but created new cults for the new groups; of the four villages of the Marathonian Tetrapolis, three belonged to the tribe Aentis and the fourth to the tribe Pandionis.

Tetrapolis (Attica) on Wikipedia:

Tetrapolis comprised one of the twelve districts into which Attica was divided before the time of Theseus. The district was on a plain in the northeastern part of Attica and contained four cities: Marathon (Μαραθών), Probalinthus (Προβάλινθος), Tricorythus (Τρικόρυθος), and Oenoe (Οἰνόη).

The success of these reforms can be quite surprising, but Athens was just recovering from the rule of the Peisistratids and, after the banishing of Isagoras, Cleisthenes was virtually unopposed.

Thomas R. Martin, An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander has a chapter called Persuasion and Cleisthenic Democracy that may interest you.

And, just for the record, the traditional four tribes before Cleisthenes were called Geleontes, Hopletes, Argadeis and Aegicoreis. Glad I asked you in comment before answering this :)

  • Perfect! :-) Is there anything else that the book says about these four villages? BTW, I'll wait for some time before accepting this answer.
    – taninamdar
    Oct 6, 2016 at 2:58
  • 1
    Edit: I just realized you have given the link to the specific chapter in the book. That's very helpful. Accepting!
    – taninamdar
    Oct 6, 2016 at 13:50

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