A polemarch (/ˈpɔːləˌmɑːrk/, from Ancient Greek: πολέμαρχος, polemarchos) was a senior military title in various ancient Greek city states (poleis). The title is derived from the words polemos (war) and archon (ruler, leader) and translates as "warleader" or "warlord". The name indicates that the polemarch's original function was to command the army; presumably the office was created to take over this function from the king. Eventually military command was transferred to the strategoi (στρατηγοί), but the date and stages of the transfer are not clear.

Datis fighting Kallimachos at the Battle of Marathon in the Stoa Poikile (reconstitution)
Datis fighting the polemarch of Athens Kallimachos at the Battle of Marathon, in the Stoa Poikile (reconstitution).

Ancient Greece


In Athens, the polemarchos was one of nine annually appointed archontes (ἄρχοντες) and functioned as the commander of the military, though to what extent is debated among historians.[1]

At the Battle of Marathon Herodotus described the vote of the polemarchos, Callimachus, as the deciding factor during debate over engagement in battle; it is disputed whether this vote implies that the position of polemarchos was an equal to the strategoi or that of a commander-in-chief.[2][3][4] The polemarchos' military responsibilities continued until 487 BC, when a new procedure was adopted and magistrates were then appointed by lot.[5][6] Following this reform, the military duties were handled by the strategoi. By the mid-5th Century BC, the polemarchos' role was reduced to ceremonial and judicial functions, and primarily presided over preliminary trials involving metics' family, inheritance, and status cases.[1] After the preliminary stage the cases would either continue under the judgement of the polemarchos, or be remitted to tribal or municipal judges.[7][8] It is likely that at an earlier period, his responsibilities for cases involving aliens were more extensive. The polemarchos also conducted certain religious sacrificial offerings and arranged the funeral ceremonies for men killed in war.[7][9]


In the new structure of the Spartan Army, introduced sometime during the Peloponnesian War, a polemarchos was the commander of a mora of 576 men, one of six in the Spartan army on campaign.[10][11] On occasion however they were appointed to head armies. The six Spartan polemarchoi seem to have been on equal power to kings at expeditions outside Laconia and were usually descendants of the royal houses. They were part of the royal army council and the royal escort (δαμοσία) and were supported or represented by officers (συμφορεῖς). The polemarchoi were also responsible for public meals, since, by the laws of Lycurgus, the Lacedaemonians would eat and fight in the same group.[12] Next to their military and connected responsibilities, the polemarchoi were responsible for some civil and juridical tasks (not unlike the archōn polemarchos in Athens).


In the early 4th century BC several Boeotian poleis instituted the position of polemarchos, though there was no unified policy. Of the surviving accounts, Plutarch and Xenophon describe three polemarchoi as executive officials of Thebes during this period.[13]

Other uses

In modern use, the Greek Letter fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi titles their fraternity leaders as Polemarchs.[14]

Fictional use

This position was featured in Orson Scott Card's novel Ender's Game. In the novel, the position of polemarch was charged with the supreme command of humanity's space fleets, the International Fleet. The Polemarch, along with the positions of Strategos and Hegemon, was one of the three most powerful people alive.

This title was also given to the DC Comics character Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, an Amazon in the Wonder Woman comic books. For a period Artemis served as Paradise Island's co-ruler alongside fellow Amazon Philippus. Whereas Philippus oversaw the day-to-day rule of the island, Artemis oversaw its military aspects.[15]

The title was used to signify soldiers who commanded fortifications and other camps in the 2018 Ubisoft video game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. They were the strongest regular enemies in the game and killing them would lower the ‘nation power’ of a particular state in Greece substantially.

See also

  • Navarch – Greek word meaning "leader of the ships"


  1. ^ a b Spence, Iain (2002-05-07). Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Warfare. Scarecrow Press. p. 281. ISBN 9780810866126.
  2. ^ Godley, A.D. "Herodotus, The Histories". www.perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  3. ^ E.Badian, Antichthon, 1971, 1-34
  4. ^ N. G. L. Hammond, Studies in Greek History, (1973), 346-364
  5. ^ Gilbert, Gustav (1895). The Constitutional Antiquities of Sparta and Athens. S. Sonnenschein & Company. p. 153.
  6. ^ Hamel, Debra (1998). Athenian Generals: Military Authority in the Classical Period. BRILL. pp. 79, 80. ISBN 9004109005.
  7. ^ a b Aristotle (1892). Aristotle on the Constitution of Athens. Macmillan. p. 115.
  8. ^ Harrison, Alick Robin Walsham (1998). The Law of Athens. Hackett Publishing. pp. 9–11. ISBN 087220412X.
  9. ^ D. M. MacDowell, The Law in Classical Athens, (1978), 221-4
  10. ^ Anderson, John Kinloch (1970). Military Theory and Practice in the Age of Xenophon. University of California Press. pp. 225–226. ISBN 9780520015647.
  11. ^ Kennell, Nigel M. (2010). Spartans: A New History. John Wiley & Sons. p. 151. ISBN 9781405129992.
  12. ^ Moore, John Michael (1975). Aristotle and Xenophon on Democracy and Oligarchy. University of California Press. p. 81. ISBN 9780520029095.
  13. ^ Buckler, John; Beck, Hans (2008-04-24). Central Greece and the Politics of Power in the Fourth Century BC. Cambridge University Press. pp. 88–90. ISBN 9780521837057.
  14. ^ "A Brief History - Kappa Alpha Psi® Fraternity, Inc". www.kappaalphapsi1911.com. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  15. ^ Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #208

Afidnes (Greek: Αφίδνες, Ancient Greek: Ἄφιδνα or Ἀφίδναι, from the Middle Ages until 1919: Κιούρκα - Kiourka) is a small town in East Attica, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Oropos, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 34.638 km2. It is situated in the eastern foothills of the Parnitha mountains, 3 km southwest of Polydendri, 5 km southeast of Malakasa and 27 km north of Athens city centre. Afidnes has a station on the railway from Athens to Thessaloniki. The Motorway 1 (Athens - Lamia - Thessaloniki) passes east of the town.

Ancient Aphidna was one of the twelve ancient towns of Attica. In Greek mythology, Aphidna was the place where Theseus left Helen after he had abducted her. The archaeological site of Aphidnae is small. It was excavated in the 19th century. 13 Middle Helladic tumuli have been found.


Agrotera (Gr. Ἀγροτέρα, "the huntress") was an epithet of the Greek goddess Artemis, and the most important goddess to Attic hunters.At Agrae on the Ilissos, where she was believed to have first hunted after her arrival from Delos, Artemis Agrotera had a temple, dating to the 5th century BC, with a statue carrying a bow. During the Boedromia, on the seventh day of Boedromion (roughly, the beginning of September), an armed procession would take 600 goats to this temple, where they would all be sacrificed by the polemarch in honor of the victory at the Battle of Marathon. This rite derived from a vow made before the Battle of Marathon, which in turn derived from the custom of making a "slaughter sacrifice", or sphagion (σφάγιον), to Artemis Agrotera before a battle. The temple was destroyed in 1778, when the Ottoman forces occupying Athens set about demolishing ancient sites for building material to construct a wall around the city. The ruins of the temple survive today on Ardettou Street, tightly surrounded by modern buildings. There is an ongoing campaign for the expropriation of adjacent buildings and the restoration of the temple.Under this name Agrotera was also worshiped at Aigeira, Sparta, and elsewhere. The name Agrotera is synonymous with the epithet Agraea, but Eustathius derives it from the town of Agrae.The epithet Agrotera was also sometimes applied to the nymph Cyrene.


Archon (Greek: ἄρχων, romanized: árchōn, plural: ἄρχοντες, árchontes) is a Greek word that means "ruler", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem αρχ-, meaning "to be first, to rule". Derived from the same root are words such as monarch and hierarchy.


The Bacchiadae (Ancient Greek: Βακχιάδαι Bakkhiadai), a tightly-knit Doric clan, were the ruling family of archaic Corinth in the eighth and seventh centuries BCE, a period of Corinthian cultural power.

Corinth had been a backwater in eighth-century Greece. In 747 BCE (a traditional date) an aristocratic revolution ousted the Bacchiad kings of Corinth, when the royal clan of Bacchiadae, numbering perhaps a couple of hundred adult males and claiming descent from the Dorian hero Heracles through the seven sons and three daughters of a legendary king Bacchis, took power from the last king, Telestes. Practicising strict endogamy which kept clan outlines within a distinct extended oikos, they dispensed with kingship and ruled as a group, governing the city by electing annually a prytanis who held the kingly position for his brief term, no doubt a council (though none is specifically documented in the scant literary materials) and a polemarchos to head the army.

In 657 BCE the Bacchiadae were expelled in turn by the tyrant Cypselus, who had been polemarch. The exiled Bacchiadae fled to Corcyra but also to Sparta and west, traditionally to found Syracuse in Sicily, and to Etruria, where Demaratus installed himself at Tarquinia, founding a dynasty of Etruscan kings. The royal line of the Lynkestis of Macedon was also of Bacchiad descent. The foundation myths of Corcyra, Syracuse, and Megara Hyblaea contain considerable detail about the Bacchiadae and the expeditions of the Bacchiad Archias of Corinth, legendary founder of Syracuse in 734/33 BCE, and Philolaos, lover of Diocles of Corinth, victor at Olympia in 728 BCE and a nomothete (lawgiver) of Thebes.

Battle of Coronea (394 BC)

The Battle of Coronea in 394 BC, also Battle of Coroneia, was a battle in the Corinthian War, in which the Spartans and their allies under King Agesilaus II defeated a force of Thebans and Argives that was attempting to block their march back into the Peloponnese.

Callimachus (polemarch)

Callimachus (Greek: Καλλίμαχος Kallímakhos) was the Athenian polemarch at the Battle of Marathon which took place during 490 BC. According to Herodotus he was from the Attica deme of Afidnes.

Craig an Eran

Craig an Eran (1918 – after 1943) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. He failed to win as a two-year-old but improved to become one of the best in England in 1921. He won the 2000 Guineas, St James's Palace Stakes and Eclipse Stakes as well as finishing second in the Epsom Derby and fourth in the St Leger. After his retirement from racing he became a successful breeding stallion whose offspring included April the Fifth and Mon Talisman.


Cypselus (Greek: Κύψελος, Kypselos) was the first tyrant of Corinth in the 7th century BC.

With increased wealth and more complicated trade relations and social structures, Greek city-states tended to overthrow their traditional hereditary priest-kings; Corinth, the richest archaic polis, led the way. Like the signori of late medieval and Renaissance Italy, the tyrants usually seized power at the head of some popular support. Often the tyrants upheld existing laws and customs and were highly conservative as to cult practices, thus maintaining stability with little risk to their own personal security. As in Renaissance Italy, a cult of personality naturally substituted for the divine right of the former legitimate royal house.

After the last traditional king of Corinth, Telestes, was assassinated by Arieus and Perantas, there were no more kings; instead prytanes taken from the former royal house of the Bacchiadae ruled for a single year each. Cypselus, the son of Eëtion and a disfigured woman named Labda, who was a member of the Bacchiad family, the ruling dynasty, usurped power, became tyrant and expelled the Bacchiadae.

According to Herodotus the Bacchiadae heard two prophecies from the Delphic oracle that the son of Eëtion would overthrow their dynasty, and they planned to kill the baby once it was born; however, Herodotus says that the newborn smiled at each of the men sent to kill it, and none of them could go through with the plan. An etiological myth-element, to account for the name Cypselus (cf. κυψἐλη, kypsele, "chest") accounted how Labda then hid the baby in a chest, and when the men had composed themselves and returned to kill it, they could not find it. (Compare the infancy of Perseus.) The cedar chest of Cypselus, richly worked with mythological narratives and adorned with ivory and gold, was a votive offering at Olympia, where Pausanias gave it a minute description in his 2nd century AD travel guide.When Cypselus had grown up, he fulfilled the prophecy. Corinth had been involved in wars with Argos and Corcyra, and the Corinthians were unhappy with their rulers. At the time, around 657 BC, Cypselus was polemarch, the archon in charge of the military, and he used his influence with the soldiery to expel the Bacchiadae. He also expelled his other enemies, but allowed them to set up colonies in northwestern Greece. He also increased trade with the colonies in Italy and Sicily.

He ruled for thirty years and in 627 BC was succeeded as tyrant by his son Periander, who was considered one of the Seven Sages of Greece. The treasury Cypselus built at Delphi was apparently still standing in the time of Herodotus.

Cypselus' second son Gorgus became tyrant of the Corinthian colony Ambracia, followed after his death by his son Periander of Ambracia. Cypselus' other grandson by Gorgus was Psammetich, who followed the sage Periander as the last tyrant of Corinth.

Eponymous archon

In ancient Greece the chief magistrate in various Greek city states was called eponymous archon (ἐπώνυμος ἄρχων, epōnymos archōn). Archon (ἄρχων, pl. ἄρχοντες, archontes) means "ruler" or "lord", frequently used as the title of a specific public office, while "eponymous" means that he gave his name to the year in which he held office, much like the Roman dating by consular years.

In Classical Athens, a system of nine concurrent archons evolved, led by three respective remits over the civic, military, and religious affairs of the state: the three office holders were known as the eponymous archon, the polemarch (πολέμαρχος, "war ruler"), and the archon basileus (ἄρχων βασιλεύς, "king ruler"). The six others were the thesmothetai, judicial officers. Originally these offices were filled from the wealthier classes by elections every ten years. During this period the eponymous archon was the chief magistrate, the polemarch was the head of the armed forces, and the archon basileus was responsible for some civic religious arrangements, and for the supervision of some major trials in the law courts. After 683 BC the offices were held for only a single year, and the year was named after the eponymous archon.


Gylis (also transcribed Gyllis or Gylus) was a Spartan polemarch under Agesilaus II at the Battle of Coronea in 394 BC in the Corinthian War.

On the morning after the battle, Agesilaus, to see whether the enemy would renew the fight, ordered Gylis (as he himself had been severely wounded) to draw up the army in order of battle, with crowns of victory on their heads, and to erect a trophy to the sound of martial instruments. The Thebans, however, who alone were in a position to dispute the field, acknowledged their defeat by requesting leave to bury their dead.

Soon after this, Agesilaus went to Delphi to dedicate to the god a tenth of his Asiatic spoils, and left Gylis to invade the territory of the Opuntian Locrians, who had been the occasion of the war in Greece. Here the Spartans collected much booty; but, as they were returning to their camp in the evening, the Locrians pressed on them with their darts, and slew many, among whom was Gylis himself.The Gyllis who is mentioned in one of the epigrams of Damagetus has been identified by some with Othryades, but on insufficient grounds.

Hieronymus of Cardia

Hieronymus of Cardia (Greek: Ἱερώνυμος ὁ Καρδιανός, 354?–250 BC) was a Greek general and historian from Cardia in Thrace, and a contemporary of Alexander the Great (356–323 BC).

After the death of Alexander he followed the fortunes of his friend and fellow-countryman Eumenes. He was wounded and taken prisoner by Antigonus, who pardoned him and appointed him superintendent of the asphalt beds in the Dead Sea. He was treated with equal friendliness by Antigonus's son Demetrius, who made him polemarch of Thespiae, and by Antigonus Gonatas, at whose court he died at the purported age of 104.

He wrote a history of the Diadochi and their descendants, encompassing the period from the death of Alexander to the war with Pyrrhus (323–272 BC), which is one of the chief authorities used by Diodorus Siculus (xviii.–xx.) and also by Plutarch in his life of Pyrrhus.

He made use of official papers and was careful in his investigation of facts. The simplicity of his style seemingly rendered his work unpopular to people of his time, but modern historians believe it was very good. In the last part of his work he made a praiseworthy attempt to acquaint the Greeks with the character and early history of the Romans. He is reproached by Pausanias (i. 9. 8) with unfairness towards all rulers with the exception of Antigonus Gonatas.

Like the even more famous lost history of Alexander by Ptolemy I of Egypt, no significant amount of his work survived the end of the ancient world (fragments in C. W. Müller, Frag. hist. Graec. ii. 450–461).

Kappa Alpha Psi

Kappa Alpha Psi (ΚΑΨ) is a collegiate Greek-letter fraternity with a predominantly African-American membership. Since the fraternity's founding on January 5, 1911 at Indiana University Bloomington, the fraternity has never limited membership based on color, creed or national origin. The fraternity has over 160,000 members with 721 undergraduate and alumni chapters in every state of the United States, and international chapters in the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, Japan, United States Virgin Islands, Nigeria, South Africa, and The Bahamas.The president of the national fraternity is known as the Grand Polemarch, who assigns a Province Polemarch for each of the twelve provinces (regions) of the nation. The fraternity has many notable members recognized as leaders in the arts, athletics, business, Civil Rights, education, government, and science sectors at the local, national and international level. The Kappa Alpha Psi Journal is the official magazine of the fraternity since 1914. The Journal is published four times a year in February, April, October and December. Frank M. Summers was the magazine's first editor and later became the Fourteenth Grand Polemarch. The former editor of the magazine was Jonathan Hicks. The current editor of the magazine is Earl T. Tildon.

Kappa Alpha Psi sponsors programs providing community service, social welfare and academic scholarship through the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation and is a supporter of the United Negro College Fund and Habitat for Humanity. Kappa Alpha Psi is a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC). The fraternity is the first predominantly African American Greek-letter society founded west of the Appalachian Mountains still in existence, and is known for its "cane stepping" in NPHC organized step shows. Kappa Alpha Psi celebrated its 100th anniversary on January 5, 2011, and is one of four predominantly African American collegiate fraternities to do so.

List of Ender's Game series organizations

This is a list of organizations in the fictional Ender's Game series universe.

Mora (military unit)

A mora (Greek: μόρα) (plural Morae) was an ancient Spartan military unit of about a sixth of the Spartan army, at approx. 600 men by modern estimates, although Xenophon places it at 6,000. This can be reconciled by the nature of the Spartan army with an organisation based on year classes, with only the younger troops being mobilised for all but the gravest emergencies. Either way, it was the largest tactical unit in Sparta, if not all Greece, and was often the only force sent out on campaign.

A mora was composed typically of hoplites, men armed with spears, swords and the heavy aspis shield and armoured in a cuirass, greaves and a helmet. This equipment changed over time, with more or less armour being used over different eras. Around 227BC, Cleomenes III re-equipped some Morai with the Macedonian sarissa and trained them to fight in the Macedonian pike phalanx. The unit was led by a Polemarch, the third (or arguably second) highest rank in Spartan hierarchy after the kings. However, sometimes there was a higher rank, that of Strategos, most famously held by Lysander. During the time of pure phalanx combat in Greece, the mora was a very difficult obstacle for an opposing commander to negotiate. However, Iphicrates of Athens used a small, elite group of lightly armed peltasts to destroy one.

Nike of Callimachus

The Nike of Callimachus (Greek: Nίκη του Καλλιμάχου) also known as The Dedication of Callimachus, is a statue that the Athenians created in honor of the Callimachus.

Polemarch (horse)

Polemarch (1918 – after 1937) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. He showed considerable promise as a two-year-old in 1920 when he won the Gimcrack Stakes and the Rous Plate as well as finishing third in the Middle Park Stakes. In the following year he won the Knowsley Dinner Stakes and the Great Northern Leger but appeared to have been exposed as some way short of top class before he recorded a 50/1 upset victory in the St Leger. In 1922 he became increasingly temperamental and difficult to manage and failed to win or place in five starts. He was then sold and exported to Argentina where he had considerable success of a breeding stallion.


Polemarchus or Polemarch (; Greek: Πολέμαρχος; 5th century – 404 BCE) was an ancient Athenian philosopher from the Piraeus.

Shantou (horse)

Shantou is a classic-winning thoroughbred racehorse. He won the St. Leger, the Gran Premio del Jockey Club and the Gran Premio di Milano.


Strategos or Strategus, plural strategoi, (Greek: στρατηγός, pl. στρατηγοί; Doric Greek: στραταγός, stratagos; meaning "army leader") is used in Greek to mean military general. In the Hellenistic world and the Byzantine Empire the term was also used to describe a military governor. In the modern Hellenic Army it is the highest officer rank.



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