The Ancient Greek Secretary: A study of secretaries in Athens and the Peloponnese

  • Terry Abbott

Student thesis: Phd


AbstractThe University of ManchesterAbstract of thesis submitted by Terry Jude Abbott for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, entitled 'The Ancient Greek Secretary: A study of secretaries in Athens and the Peloponnese'.Year of submission: 2012.This thesis explores the roles played by secretaries in Athens and the Peloponnese.Secretaries are present in some form in all documents produced by the Athenian boule. They are often named as the writer of a stele, or their existence is inferred from the existence of the document itself. However, little is known about the daily duties of these individuals, as the means of writing and setting up of inscriptions is limited to brief, epigraphic formulae lacking in procedural detail, and any other information about an office is confined to passing references in ancient authors and bald statements in ancient lexica. These issues are even more pronounced in the Peloponnese, where the existence of a secretary can be limited to a single word - his job title or designation - in an inscription, and many unique types of Peloponnesian secretary are absent from ancient historical works and lexica altogether.This thesis takes both a quantitative, and analytical approach to the question 'what does it mean to be a secretary in ancient Greece?'. It examines all sources from Athens and the Peloponnese which refer to any type of secretary, or specify that an officer is to write something (i.e. perform some or all of the duties of a secretary). It categorises secretaries using various criteria (such as their activities, the duration of their appointment and collegial environment, and their public profile), and thus provides a catalogue of characteristics and duties which fall under the remit of the secretary. Using these criteria, these offices are analysed both geographically and chronologically, to illustrate how the work of the secretary could differ from location to location, and over time.This thesis constitutes the first comprehensive work on the secretaries of Athens in over one hundred years, and the first work of its kind on the secretaries of the Peloponnese.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Liddel (Supervisor) & David Langslow (Supervisor)


  • secretary, Greek, Athens, Peloponnese, grammateus, gropheus

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