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Title: Eucleides  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Greek alphabet, Athenian democracy, 403 BC, Direct democracy, Archaic Greek alphabets
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Eucleides[1] (Greek: Ευκλείδης) was archon of Athens towards the end of the fifth century BC. He contributed towards the re-establishment of democracy during his years in office (403-402 BC). He is also believed to have contributed to the new political order, with proposals that sought to deal with the challenge of potentially disruptive minority who had supported oligarchy in the previous years.[2]


During his archonship Greece changed its alphabets to Ionic script. He supported a decree to change the alphabet and adopt Ionian script. Athenians accepted a spelling reform, adopting the Ionian alphabet, which included eta and omega. There are inscriptions from Athens which used Ionian spelling before it was official and others which continued to use the old Attic spelling after it was repudiated. Eucleides was involved in adoption of the new spelling form that was acceptable to Athenians.[2] The reform meant that the old Attic alphabet traditionally used in all official documents had to be changed in order to conform to Ionic usage, which had become a standard alphabet for the Greeks.

Archinus, a political ally of Eucleides, was conspicuously involved in turbulent politics of Athens. It is believed that a decree on adoption of Ionic alphabets was based on political consideration rather than artistic or language development. However, during Eucleides's year of rule, Athenian experienced a spirited attempt to end the civil strife and contemplation of new constitution.[2]

Success and legacy

The credit of success reconciliation during archonship of Eucleides is accorded to his most prominent political colleague, Archinus. He is further believed to have come up with the proposal to adopt Ionic alphabets that was decreed by Eucleides during his tenure as archon of Athens. Under the archonship of Eucleides Athens was recovering from horror; it was threatened with extinction because of attacks of Sparta and the Peloponnesian League[3]

Prior archonship of Eucleides Athens was humiliated and had no empire to finance democratic structures due to persistent civil wars that threatened to tear it apart. However, peace returned following the amnesty between the enemy parties and the plans of restoration were initiated under the leadership of Eucleides. Consequently, the clamor for alphabet reform was also traced after the hostilities between democrats and oligarchs had ceased.[2]

After the overthrow of the Thirty Tyrants, the new democratic government declared the year 403–402 BC under Eucleides as the inauguration of a new era of harmony. The amnesty, also referred as ‘acts of oblivion’ was designed to heal the wounds caused by civil war between oligarchs and democrats over the past few months [4] The amnesty prevented the prosecution of those considered as political enemies having supported the Thirty Tyrants. Conclusively, Eucleides supported political tolerance and he could not be corrupted or commit atrocities as experienced during the reign of the Thirty Tyrants.


  1. ^ Sophocles: The Oedipus Coloneus. 3d ed. 1900 by Sophocles, Sir Richard Claverhouse Jebb. p. 4. (Cf. Micon was [the Archon of] 402 BC, Callias of [the Archon of] 406 BC. Between them came Alexias (405), Pythodorus (404, the Anarchy), and Eucleides (403).)
  2. ^ a b c d  
  3. ^ Bottero, Herrebschmidt & Vernant. Ancestors of the West: Writing, reasoning and religion in Mesopotamia, Ellen and Greece.. London,: UK: University of Chicago Press. 
  4. ^ Colaiaco, A.J. Socrates against Athens: Philosophical trial. New York, NY: Routledge Publishing Ltd. 
Preceded by
Eponymous archon of Athens
403 BC - 402 BC
Succeeded by
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