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Aeinautae (Greek : Ἀειναῦται, Aeinautai, from aeí always and naûtai sailors) were magistrates at Miletus around 600 BC, consisting of the chief men in the state, who obtained the supreme power on the deposition of the tyrants, Thoas and Damasenor. Whenever they wished to deliberate on important matters, they embarked on board ship (hence their name), put out at a distance from land, and did not return to shore until they had transacted their business. [1] [2]

Greek language language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Miletus Ancient Greek city

Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia, near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria. Its ruins are located near the modern village of Balat in Aydın Province, Turkey. Before the Persian invasion in the middle of the 6th century BC, Miletus was considered the greatest and wealthiest of Greek cities.

The historic source is Plutarch Moralia Vol. IV, fasc. 21, Quaestiones Graecae (Αἴτια Ἑλληνικά), 32.298c-d:

Plutarch Ancient Greek historian and philosopher

Plutarch, later named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, was a Greek biographer and essayist, known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works were written in Greek, but intended for both Greek and Roman readers.

<i>Moralia</i> collection of essays by Plutarch

The Moralia of the 1st-century Greek scholar Plutarch of Chaeronea is an eclectic collection of 78 essays and transcribed speeches. They provide insights into Roman and Greek life, but often are also timeless observations in their own right. Many generations of Europeans have read or imitated them, including Michel de Montaigne and the Renaissance Humanists and Enlightenment philosophers.

Ancient Greek:

Τίνες οἱ ἀειναῦται παρὰ Μιλησίοις;

Τῶν περὶ Θόαντα καὶ Δαμασήνορα τυράννων [3] καταλυθέντων ἑταιρεῖαι δύο τὴν πόλιν κατέσχον, ὧν ἡ μὲν ἐκαλεῖτο Πλουτὶς ἡ δὲ Χειρομάχα. Κρατήσαντες οὖν οἱ δυνατοὶ καὶ τὰ πράγματα περιστήσαντες εἰς τὴν ἑταιρείαν, ἐβουλεύοντο περὶ τῶν μεγίστων ἐμβαίνοντες εἰς τὰ πλοῖα καὶ πόρρω τῆς γῆς ἐπανάγοντες· κυρώσαντες δὲ τὴν γνώμην κατέπλεον, καὶ διὰ τοῦτ´ « ἀειναῦται » προσηγορεύθησαν.

Translation: [4] Who are the Perpetual Sailors among the Milesians? When the despots associated with Thoas and Damasenor had been overthrown, two political parties came into control of the city, one of which was called Plutis, [5] the other Cheiromacha. [6] When, accordingly, the men of influence gained the upper hand and brought matters into the control of their party, they used to deliberate about matters of the greatest importance by embarking in their ships and putting out to a considerable distance from the land. But when they had come to a final decision, they sailed back; and because of this they acquired the appellation of Perpetual Sailors.

Further there are three known stone inscriptions from the island Euboea which feature the word aeinautai. The first one, IG XII.9.923 from Chalkis, is broken so badly that we are left merely with a list of names and the word aeinautai. A second inscription LSAG 88.21a.S433 [7] from Eretria, [8] records a dedication of a herma made by the "association" ( koinon ) of the aeinautai. [9] It dates to the 5th century BC. The third, IG XII.9.909, is a dedicatory inscription from the 3rd century BC, also from Chalkis.

Euboea The second-largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete

Euboea or Evia; Greek: Εύβοια, Evvoia, pronounced [ˈevia]; Ancient Greek: Εὔβοια, Eúboia, [eúboja]) is the second-largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow island; it is about 180 kilometres (110 mi) long, and varies in breadth from 50 kilometres (31 mi) to 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). Its geographic orientation is from northwest to southeast, and it is traversed throughout its length by a mountain range, which forms part of the chain that bounds Thessaly on the east, and is continued south of Euboea in the lofty islands of Andros, Tinos and Mykonos.

The Inscriptiones Graecae (IG), Latin for Greek inscriptions, is an academic project originally begun by the Prussian Academy of Science, and today continued by its successor organisation, the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Its aim is to collect and publish all known ancient inscriptions from the mainland and islands of Greece.

Eretria Place in Greece

Eretria is a town in Euboea, Greece, facing the coast of Attica across the narrow South Euboean Gulf. It was an important Greek polis in the 6th/5th century BC, mentioned by many famous writers and actively involved in significant historical events.


  1. Smith: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, p. 22
  2. Peck: Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, p. 281
  3. In the Teubner edition of 1935 Titchener changed τυράννων to τυράννωυς, while Halliday in his 1928 Oxford commentary suggests that the word should be deleted as a gloss.
  4. Babbitt: Plutarch: Moralia, Volume IV, Roman Questions & Greek Questions, Loeb Classical Library No. 305, p. 215, 1936
  5. Plutis (Πλουτὶς) literally refers to the class of the rich; the wealthy upperclass
  6. Cheiromacha (Χειρομάχα) literally means the "hand-users", "hand-workers" or even "hand-flighters". It appears to refer to the lower class of the poor.
  8. It was initially found near House IV (west quarter)

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