In the Archaic Period, a socio-economic class having the wealth and leisure to occupy unpaid magistracies, and therefore tending to dominate the state whatever the constitution. When the poorer citizens do not even get to choose which of the gentry hold which offices, the city is called an oligarchy. Certain radical democracies and tyrants pay salaries to public officials, so that men without independent means can afford to hold official posts. This is considered the utmost radicalism.

In the Classical Period, a wealthy class, tending to endogamy, on which government depends in the provinces. The eupatridai own some land in freehold, but make an important part of their living out of land leased from the imperial estate. Having the wealth and leisure to follow the Four Lives, the eupatridai make up the officer corps of the army and militia, serve as krites and hypokrites, and provide the candidates for election to the Appella. Since only they and wealthy merchants are likely to earn over one hundred drakhmai per month (see hundred-//amphora//-men), they make up the vast majority of the electorate, too.

Certain of the eupatridai are not satisfied with mere county politics, and go in for careers at the imperial court in Thekla, where they tend to conservatism and support for the emperor. The //eupatridai tend to social conservatism too.

The ultimate recognition of kudos for a eupatrid is to be made an [[[aretos]]. This requires quite conspicuous service in the provinces, or somewhat less in Thekla, where access to the patronage of the really influential is possible. In satire the gentry are sometimes depicted as willing to do anything for an aretos-hood. In brutal fact, leases on parts of the imperial estate are of more concern to them.

The eupatridai are much unchanged in the Decadent Period, except that, because the episkopoi control the imperial estate, whereas a court career at Thekla involves gaining the favour of the polemarkh, they less inclined to pursue careers in the imperial court than in they were during the Classical Period. This means that there are fewer aretoi among them. For the same reason, they are more inclined to seek careers in the militia and the agema, which are under the control of the episkopos, than in the army, which is under the control of the tagmakhs (agents of the polemarkh).

As BlinkListblogmarksdel.icio.usdiggFarkfeedmelinksFurlLinkaGoGoNewsVineNetvouzRedditYahooMyWebFacebook are harder to cross in the Decadent Period than in the Classical Period, the eupatridai can be considered a caste. They are a caste of administrators and warriors, living on the rent of land.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.