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Last Updated on 12 Jul 2019

Author: Fabienne Marchand

CAPInv. GR-67: philoi


i. Geographical area Central Greece
ii. Region Boiotia


i.a. Full reference (original language) φίλοι (Polyb. Histories. 20.6.5)
i.b. Full reference (transliterated) philoi
ii. Reference context Polybius draws a very unflattering portrait of Boiotia, in which Boiotians, instead of bequeathing their wealth to their heirs, spend it all on banquets (syssitia) with their friends (philoi). The terminology used by Polybius points to an allusion to the associative habits of the Boiotians in the latter part of the 3rd century BC. However the term philoi is not to be understood as a technical term for members of associations.


i. Date(s) 250 - 192 BC


i. Source(s) Polyb. Histories. 20.6.5 (250 - 192 BC)
Online Resources Polyb. Histories. 20.6.5
i.a. Source type(s) Literary source(s)
i.b. Document(s) typology & language/script Greek.


i. Comments Polybius' portrait of Boiotian decadence needs to be dealt with very critically. Nevertheless, the vocabulary used in the passage in question points to an allusion to the associative phenomenon in Boiotia at the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 2nd centuries BC. The notion of association is well rendered in the old translation by Shuckburgh 1889: 'and even many who did possess children left the larger part of their property to the members of their own club', and also in the more recent Loeb edition by Paton 1979: 'Even many who had families distributed the greater part of their fortune among their clubs, [...]'.
iii. Bibliography Feyel, M. (1942), Polybe et l'histoire de Béotie au IIIe siècle avant notre ère. Paris.
Müller, C. (2013), ‘The Rise and Fall of the Boeotians: Polybius 20. 4–7 as a Literary Topos’, in B. Gibson and T. Harrison (eds.), Polybius and his World: Essays in Memory of F.W. Walbank. Oxford: 267-78.
Paton, W.R. (1979) The Histories. Polybius. Cambridge, Mass.
Shuckburgh, E.S. (1889) The histories of Polybius, tr. E.S. Shuckburgh. London.


i. Private associations Probable
Note The terminology employed is used as a general description of private associations.