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Euergetism


Euergetism (also called evergetism), derived from the Greek word "εὐεργετέω," meaning "doing good deeds," was the ancient practice of high-status and wealthy individuals in society distributing part of their wealth to the community. This was evident in the patron-client relations in ancient Rome. The modern term was coined by French historian André Boulanger and subsequently used in the works of Paul Veyne.

During the second half of the 4th century BC, profound changes occurred in the financing of public institutions. Without the backing or funding from the wealthy, at least symbolically, the legitimacy of these institutions could be called into question by the city. The idea emerged that the rich people were not contributing unless required or compelled to do so. At the same time, around 355 BC, Demosthenes mentioned the lack of funding from the wealthy in the Against Leptines and Xenophon in Poroi.

At the end of the century, Demetrius Phalereus abolished the two most important Athenian liturgies. The trierarchy was no longer necessary because Athens withdrew from the international arena after his defeat at 322, and choregy, was replaced by a judiciary elective, "the presidential contest (agonothésie), whose funding was supported by the State".

However, many honorary degrees in honor agonothetai were available, showing that the amounts incurred by them voluntarily to supplement those supported by the city far exceeded the cost of the former choregy. Thus, in 284/3, the agonothetai elected, the poet Philippides, ceased to be reimbursed by the city money it advanced. Similarly, some old magistrates were often funded by their owner: Athens, priests generally provided the victims of sacrifice, when the cosmetic and continues to oversee the ephebia in the Hellenistic period, that is now on his own money that finances most of the sacrifices, prizes for competitions, and routine maintenance of equipment and buildings. Although no document mentions as such that the holder of the office shall assume the financial cost of its charge, entries published annually in his honor shows that oversees the flow of the institution, some emphasizing that this city does not have to spend this year.

We thus gradually chose to operate close to the philanthropy, which, like Aristotle wrote, "to safeguard the oligarchs" for the most important [...], magistrates must attach their public expenditure, so that people do not agree to participate and have the same indulgence to the judges that they must pay their judiciaries of a large sum. Therefore, "at their facility, judges will make magnificent sacrifices, and build some monuments and the people, then taking part in the banquets and feasts, and seeing the city splendidly decorated temples and buildings, wish to maintain the constitution and it will be for the rich as many beautiful testimonies of items they made.



  • Baslez, Marie-Françoise, ed. (2007). Économies et sociétés - Grèce ancienne 478-88 (in French). Paris: Atlande. ISBN . 
  • Habicht, Christian (2000). Athènes hellénistique (in French). Les Belles Lettres. 
  • Ouhlen, Jacques (2004). "La société athénienne". In Brulé, Pierre; Descat, Raymond. Le monde grec aux temps classiques (in French). 2 : le IVe siècle. Presses Universitaires de France. ISBN . 
  • Veyne, Paul (1990) [1976]. Le pain et le cirque. Sociologie historique d'un pluralisme politique [Bread and circuses: historical sociology and political pluralism]. Point Histoire (in French). Éditions du Seuil. 
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