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Franz Steiner Verlag

Hippodamus and the Planned City

Author(s): Alfred Burns
Source: Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Bd. 25, H. 4 (4th Qtr., 1976), pp. 414-428
Published by: Franz Steiner Verlag
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According to Aristotle, Hippodamus of Miletus directed the rebuilding of the

town of Piraeus. Other ancient sources connect him also with Thurii and the
plan of Rhodes. As the first known Greek city-planner and a predecessor of
Plato and Aristotle in the field of political theory, Hippodamus is an interesting
historical figure. Most of the original scholarly work on Hippodamus was done
during the 19th and the beginning of our century.' After a period of somewhat
dormant interest, the concern with urban planning during the last few decades
has re-awakened interest in the supposed founding father of that profession, and
his name has lately been mentioned again with increasing frequency.2Although
recent work has shed considerable light on the orthogonal street-plan usually
associated with his name, many contradictions remainconcerning his chronolo-
gy and activities. I do not expect that this paper might resolve any of the
difficulties in a definitive fashion, but I believe that an unprejudicedre-examina-
tion of the ancient sources, particularly the crucial passages in Aristotle's
Politics, in the light of modern archaeological findings, will lead to suggestions
which are at least as convincing as some of the traditional opinions, especially as
they will obviate the need for wholesale rejection of ancient testimony as
practiced in the past. The following is a brief, very simplified statement of the
problems in the order they will be dealt with:
1. Aristotle's words that Hippodamus "invented" (sVQ) the division of cities
(TiV Tdw ZOr6XsoVbLaCQUav), (Pol. 1267b23)and his referenceto an obviously
rectangularand rectilinear arrangementof private houses as the "newer, that is

' E.g.: C.F. Hermann, De Hippodamo Milesio, Marburg (1843); M.Erdmann, "Hippodamos
von Milet und die symmetrische Stadtebaukunst der Griechen", Philologus 42 (1884), 193;
F. Haverfield, Ancient Town-Planning, Oxford (1913); A. von Gerkan, GriechischeStadteanlagen,
Leipzig (1924); E.Fabricius, "Stadtebau der Griechen", RE6, (1929) c. 1982-2016.
2 E. g.: R. E. Wycherley, How the Greeks built Cities, London, 2nd ed. (1962); "Hippodamus and

Rhodes", Historia 13 (1964), 135-139.

F.Castagnoli, Orthogonal Town Planning in Antiquity, Cambridge, Mass. & London (1971),
this is an expanded translation of the original Ippodamo de Mileto e l'urbanisticaapianta ortogonale,
Rome (1956); "Recenti ricerche sull' urbanistica ippodamea", Archeologia Classica 15 (1963),
180-97; R.Martin, L'urbanisme dans la Grece antique, Paris (1956); J. Bradford, Ancient Landsca-
pes, Studies in Field Archaeology, London (1957);
A. Kriesis, Greek Town Building, Athens (1965);
I.D. Kondis,'H 8taLQE(JL TrdV 0O0UQWV, 'AQXatoXoyLxi'EEq [EQi 1956 [1959], 106-113;
Contribution to the Study of the Street-Plan of Rhodes, Rhodes (1954);
M. Coppa, Storia dell' urbanistica dalle origini all' ellenismo, Torino (1968).

Historia, Band XXV/4 (1976) ? Franz Steiner Verlag GmbH, Wiesbaden, BRD

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Hippodamusandthe PlannedCity 415

Hippodamian fashion" (Pol. 1330b24) have been understood to mean that

Hippodamus invented the orthogonal street grid, the so-called "chessboard
plan".3 But at the same time it was recognized that this is the most obvious way
to lay out a new city in vacant terrain, and that the earliestcities in the Near East,
as well as the Greek colonies in Sicily had been built on such a plan. Thus it
became necessary to reject Aristotle's statement that Hippodamus "invented the
rectangular city-plan". I will try to show that this interpretation is due to
a misunderstandingand conflation of two widely separatedpassages and that the
invention Aristotle ascribes to Hippodamus is a functional masterplan alloca-
ting in advance the area of the city for various needs.
2. As Hippodamus was a Milesian, he was assumed to have gained his
experience and "credentials" for planning the Piraeus by taking part in the
rebuilding of Miletus in 479 BC. Therefore his birth had to be placed around 500
at the latest. This would have made him too old to participatein the founding of
the city of Rhodes in 408/7. Consequently Strabo's testimony (14.654) which
ascribes the plan of Rhodes to "the same architect, as they say, as the Piraeus"
had to be rejected. I shall argue that a birthdate of 480 BC is quite plausible and
that Hippodamus could well have worked on the plan for the city of Rhodes.
3. According to the scholia to Aristophanes, Eq. 327, Archeptolemus who
appears in an embassy to the Lacedaemonians in 425/4 and who was executed in
411 as one of the fourhundred, was the son of Hippodamus. But, because it is
unlikely that a son of the Milesian Hippodamus could have been an Athenian
citizen, as necessary for his various political activities, the statement of this
scholiast has been generally although not unanimously rejected. I think it should
be rejected and believe I can offer a plausible suggestion explaining the scho-
liast's error.
Before entering into a more extensive discussion of these problems, it may be
well to review the most important parts of Aristotle's report on Hippodamus as
it is the most extensive and probably most reliable information, not too far
removed in time, that we have concerning Hippodamus, his work and his
Hippodamus, the son of Euryphon, a native of Miletus, the same who
invented the art ofs planning cities, and who also laid out the Piraeus
- a strange man, whose fondness for distinction led him into a general
eccentricity of life, which made some think him affected (for he would
wear flowing hair and expensive ornaments; but these were worn on
a cheap but warm garment both in winter and summer); he, besides
aspiring to be an adept in the knowledge of nature, was the first person not
a statesman who made inquiries about the best form of government. The
city of Hippodamus was composed of 10,000 citizens divided into three
3 E. g. Gerkan (note 1) 50; W. B. Dinsmoor, The Architectureof Ancient Greece, London, 3d ed.
(1950) 214.

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parts - one of artisans, one of husbandsmen, and a third of armed

defenders of the state. He also divided the land into three parts, one
sacred, one public, the third private: the first was set apartto maintainthe
customary worship of the gods, the second was to support the warriors,
the third was the property of the husbandsmen. He also divided laws into
three classes, and no more, for he maintained that there are three subjects
of lawsuits - insult, injury, and homicide. He likewise instituted a single
final court of appeal, to which all causes seeming to have been improperly
decided might be referred; this court he formed of elders chosen for this
purpose.... He also enacted that those who discovered anything for the
good of the state should be honoured: and he provided that the children of
citizens who died in battle should be maintained at the public expense, as if
such an enactment had never been heard of before, yet it actually exists in
Athens and other places. As to the magistrates, he would have them all
elected by the people, that is, by the three classes already mentioned, and
those who were elected were to watch over the interests of the public, of
strangers, and of orphans. These are the most striking points in the
constitution of Hippodamus. There is not much else. (Pol.
1267b22-1268al4, B. Jowett tr.)
... The disposition of private houses is more pleasing and more useful if it
is well laid out in the newer, that is, Hippodameian fashion... (Pol.
1330b21-24, my transl.)
1. What did Hippodamus invent?
Many scholars have interpreted Aristotle's two passages to mean that Hippo-
damus invented the orthogonal lay-out of the street network. For instance
Haverfield gives this fancyful paraphrase:"Aristotle, however, states that he (sc.
Hippodamus) introduced the principle of straight wide streets, and that he, first
of all architects, made provision for the proper grouping of dwelling-houses and
also paid special heed to the combination of the different parts of town in
a harmonious whole, centered around the market-place."4It is to be noted that
Aristotle mentions neither a center of town nor a market-place.Fabriciusstates:
"H(ippodamos) gilt als der Erfinder des kunstvollen Stadtbaus, dessen Wesenin
der regelmdfligen Einteilung der Quartiere durch parallele, sich rechtwinklig
schneidende Straflen besteht."5 Even Von Gerkan, who rejects the notion that
Hippodamus invented the regular street-plan, says: "Er ist eben nicht der
Erfinder des geradelinigen Straflennetzes, wie das einzig und allein Aristoteles
berichtet."6 But Aristotle nowhere says that Hippodamus invented the regular
scheme. There is no doubt that Aristotle refers to an orthogonal plan when he
says: ". . . the disposition of private houses is more pleasing and useful if it is
well laid out in the newer, that is Hippodameian fashion. . ." (Pol. 1330b21-24).
4 Haverfield (note 1) 29. 5 Fabricius, "Hippodamos", RE 8-2, c. 1732.
6 Gerkan 49.

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Hippodamusandthe PlannedCity 417

Even if Aristotle refers to a rectangularscheme, the term "Hippodameian" need

imply only that the plan was characteristicfor Hippodamus, not necessarily that
he invented it. The only mention of an invention by Hippodamus is in Pol.
1267b23, where Aristotle's words are: ". . . os xai TiTv t6v TokOv 6LtItL,QELV
QE xal TOV HELQaL&xaTxE'TEv." But &cLLQEoL;,as he uses the word in this
paragraph,means "division" in a sense that becomes clear in the two subsequent
uses of the word 6LCtLQELVwhere it applies to Hippodamus' proposed division of
the population into three classes and again for the division of the land for three
different usages. Thus a literal translation reads: ". . . who invented the division
of cities and cut up the Piraeus." It has been understood thus by Jowett' and by
Wycherley.8 Since the gist of Aristotle's passage is that Hippodamus was the
first to theorize concerning the ideal community and its political, social and
judicial organization, it seems quite clear that the emphasis of his innovations
was directed towards the over-all functional plan of the city rather than the
details of street lay-out which is not mentioned in this passage at all. That does
not mean that such details were neglected, but that they did not require to be
invented. Neither does it mean that Hippodamus was able to realize his
tri-partite scheme - for, what urban planner has ever been able to implement all
his social or aesthetic visions? - but the salient factor seems to be that he
originated the concept of land-allocation and city design according to a master-
plan prepared ine with all aspects of community life in mind.9
That such a plan was the basis for the new city of Piraeus seems confirmed by
the archaeological evidence of numerous boundary stones found there datable
to the fifth century BC. The following are some of the inscriptions on the stones:
CtO tMY;bTEa hoboTO 1Qo0To XtICVOV nav tc 6EctooiOVEO-rL(I C. 2892);
Two copies are in existence.
ntotuXo be[toOto hoQoo (I.G. 12891); four specimens exist.
ayoQao hoDoo (I.G. 12 896).
hobo T'EOb To
aXQL (J.G. 12 893).
QXQLxTobc Tco hobo zELbehe ROVLXLacO F_0TL
VE,uEGLO (I.G. 12 894).
A fragment of a copy of this stone also exists (ICG.12 895).
E9TOQLOxat hobo hoQoo (I.G. 12 887a and 887b, two copies).
7EOQTILtOVhoQ[io hoQoo(I.G. 12 890a and 890b, two copies).
hoQto bE[ooLo hoQoo(ICG.12 889).
In all 18 such bQOLhave been found, six of them fairly recently."0They certainly
seem to indicate a careful allocation of space for various uses. Although no real
proof exists that the stones stem from Hippodamus, their connection with his

' B.Jowett, Aristotle's Politics, New York (1943). 8 Wycherley (note 2) 17.

9 R.Martin (note 2) 105-106, presents the case for this interpretation of Hippodamus' accom-
plishment at the Piraeus although he does not credit him with being the originator of this type of
planning concept.
D.OKentHill, "Some Boundary Stones from the Piraeus", AJA 36 (1932) 254-259.

3 Historia, Band XXV/4 (1976) ? Franz Steiner Verlag GmbH, Wiesbaden, BRD

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plan is generally accepted. The uncommon use of the word v4tFrot for such an
activity on two of the stones and, Photius' lexicon entry "'ImTob6d[ouveLRoL;"
also point to a connection. It is the invention of this type of VE*EGLg or bLaLQEOLg
which Aristotle apparently credits to Hippodamus.
On the other hand, Aristotle's second passage (Pol. 1330b21f.) leaves no
doubt that an orthogonal street lay-out was also a part of Hippodamus' system.
Since the beginning of our century much new information on Greek town-plans
has come to light. Castagnoli studied the plans of many newly founded or
rebuilt cities that were built before, during and after Hippodamus' time. He
concluded that the street-plans follow a remarkably uniform pattern which is
quite different from the previously assumed "chessboard" scheme. He describes
it as follows:
Hippodameian city planning is a unique chapter in the history of urban
planning not only for the concept of a master plan to control all further
growth and development but also for its rational organic qualities. To
recapitulate these are summarized as follows: The street grid is regularly
subdivided into wide parallel strips by a very few (usually only three or
four) major longitudinal arteries.At right angles to these run other streets,
a few of which are major communication roads but most of which are
narrow alleyways whose only purpose is to create blocks for buildings.
The blocks thus formed are usually long and narrow. Buildings and plazas
fall within this grid. There is no central intersection of major axes (as
distinguished from the Roman axial grid). Throughout, the grid is derived
from certain fixed dimensions (the short side of the block in particularwas
often set at 120 feet). Aside from the strictly rational and geometric form,
the grid exemplified certain criteriaof absolute equality among residential
This description is in accord with Bradford's12and Kondis' findings on the
street plan of the city of Rhodes"3and Kondis' analysis of Diodorus' passage
(12.10.7) on Thurii in which Diodorus names four longitudinal and three
crosswise avenues (3tXaTeCLag).14 Castagnoli further shows that some fifth centu-
ry street-plans of this nature actually followed patternsestablished much earlier
as evidenced by re-use of pre-existing house platforms and foundations. Examp-
les where fifth century building followed rectangularpatterns which had been
established during the sixth are to be found in Acragas,"5Metapontum'6 and
" F. Castagnoli, Orthogonal Town Planning in Antiquity, Cambridge, Mass. and London (1971)
129. 2 Ancient Landscapes(note 2).
13 ID. Kondis, Xvu3oXiE?i5 TTIV[LEXEiflV &WTOR'ag ;ti5 'P6bov, Rhodes (1954).
"'H 6LCQEOL; t(WV9ouvQCv" (note 2 above).
'5 Castagnoli (note 11) 132; cf. G. Schmiedt and Griffo, "Agrigento antica dalle fotografie aeree
e dai recenti scavi", Universo (1958) 289; P. Griffo, Agrigento, Guide to the Monuments and
Excavations, Agrigento (1962) 50 note 1, 170; (15 cont.) E. De Miro, "Il quartiereellenistico romano
di Agrigento", RAL 8, 12 (1957) 138.
" Castagnoli (note 11) 133; Coppa (note 2) 1013.

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Hippodamus and the Planned City 419

Selinus."7 Even in Miletus where the classical Greek orthogonal plan was
assumed to have originated, and where Hippodamus is supposed to have
conceived his theories, the excavations show that the reconstruction in some
sections simply followed the lay-out of the destroyed city."8Thus the earlier
scholars appear right when they considered the orthogonal town-plan the result
of a gradual development rather than the invention of one man. (A plan which
was not the chessboard consisting of squares as originally visualized). And if
rectangular street intersections were indeed the crux of the bLCtLeSl(YLTWV
'XEWv which Aristotle had in mind, they would also be right in rejecting
Aristotle's statement that Hippodamus invented this system. If one, however,
interprets Aristotle's sentence as referring to land-allocation, one can under-
stand Aristotle's other passage which implies an orthogonal plan (xctxat Tov
VEI6)TrQOVxat TOv tnno6ct[Eov TQO6rov) as mention of an incidentalalbeit
characteristic feature, not originated, but fully used and made prominent by
Hippodamus. It is always risky to deny an unqualified statement of fact by
Aristotle, especially when he gives credit to someone whom he treats as
disparagingly as he does Hippodamus. I think a proper understanding of
Aristotle's words and meaning removes the apparentcontradiction between the
existence of the so-called Hippodameian method of street lay-out before
Hippodamus and Aristotle's claim that Hippodamus was the inventor of the
"division of cities".
An additional question that has been raised concerning Hippodamus' plan-
ning activity is whether it included a unified architecturalplan for the buildings
framing the agora, a feature which became so prominent in the Hellenistic cities
of Ionia. As we have seen, Haverfield ascribes an agora-centered plan to
Hippodamus in his mis-quotation of Aristotle. There seems to be no such
indication in the ancient sources. Modern historians of urban planning have
made the label "Hippodameian" a household word and have repeatedly affixed
it to the "new style" Ionian cities such as Miletus, Knidos, Priene, Ephesus etc.
There is no basis for this in ancient sources. When Pausanias (6.24.2) in his
description of Elis makes reference to the new-type regular agora, he does not
mention Hippodamus, but calls it "the fashion of the cities of Ionia". Vitruvius,
who continuously cites Greek authorities, never mentions Hippodamus. The
lexicographers, Photius, Hesychius, and Harpocration, under [inwobactEiLa
VEIAEaL; or UMno6cLEtog, mention Hippodamus' work in the Piraeus, the fact
that the agora there was named after him, that he was surnamed Thurios or
Milesios, and Hesychius, if the emendation is correct, that Hippodamus joined
the migration to Thurii; there is no mention of any building or planning activity
outside of the Piraeus. Unfortunately almost no archaeological evidence exists

Castagnoli (note 11) 128; Coppa (note 2) 990-992; T.J. Dunbabin, The Western Greeks,
Oxford (1948) 304-305.
8 M.J. Mellink "Archaeology in Asia Minor",
AJA 65 (1961) 47, AJA 67 (1963) 186.


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for the plan of Piraeus other than the OQOL. Only a few house foundations have
been found which indicate rectangularstreets."9Thus the only bits of informa-
tion on the agora of the Piraeus are the following. It was named after Hippoda-
mus. This could indicate that he might have contributed somewhat more to it
than just the assignment of the open space. Four horoi exist that marked the site
of what must have been a large public propylon that gave access to the agora
from the harbor. We also know from Xenophon (Hell. 2.4.11) that an avenue
led from the Hippodameian agora to the sanctuary of Artemis on the hill of
Munychia and that this avenue was about 200 feet wide.20From all this it seems
clear that the agora must have been an impressive place, but no other public
buildings on it are mentioned and we know from Demosthenes (Timotheus
49.22) that private houses were located there. It has been recognized that the
rectangular street-grid determined the regular shape of the agora. Castagnoli
points out that the uniform city blocks marked out by the grid always provide
the modules for any space allocation. A public square or building may take up
any number of these modules but never a part of a block. Thus the grid pattern
assures a regular rectangularshape of the agora with the streets running along its
edges in contrast to the old style agoras which had developed in random shapes
and were often haphazardly crossed by thoroughfares.21 While the public
buildings on the old-style agora had no guidelines for their orientation and
inter-relationship, the new rectangular shape itself favored the construction of
coordinated building complexes around the periphery such as L-shapes and
U-shapes and, as Wycherley observes, led to the emergence of a unified
architecturalcomposition framing the Hellenistic agora as the logical final stage
of a naturalevolution.22How far this development had progressed in Hippoda-
mus' concept or how much he may have contributed to it, we have no way of
knowing. The op0Lof the propylon furnish some indication that buildings
might have been included in his original plan. The naming of the agora after
Hippodamus may have been a sign of appreciation of a great accomplishment.
The scholiast tells us that Hippodamus was honored by the Athenians. But then,
according to Pausanias (1.1.3) there were two agoras in the Piraeus. If this is the
case, the name Hippodameian may have been used just to differentiate between
his agora and an older pre-existing one.
To summarize the features which apparently characterized Hippodamus'
planning activity: He initiated a system by which land was allocated in advance

'9 W.Judeich, Topographievon Athen, Munich (1931) 431-2.

20 R. Martin, L'Urbanisme, 256, suggests that this might not have been an avenue at all but simply
open space. This proposal misses the point of Xenophon's story completely who says that the two
battle formations filled the "hodos", and that the larger body was forced to deploy in greaterdepth,
which obviously would not have been the case if the encounter had not taken place in a true street
lined by buildings.
21 Castagnoli (note I1) 56; Dinsmoor (note 3) 214; Gerkan 54; Wycherley (note 2) 63; Martin
(note 2) 273-274. 22 Wycherley 69-84; Martin 105.

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Hippodamusandthe PlannedCity 421

on the basis of political, social and economic considerations. Land probably was
allotted for three types of use: religious (teQ6v), public (6,ti6otov) and private
(lblov), but of course not in equal parts. He used a street plan that had gradually
evolved in Ionia and the colonies of the West. This plan consisted in a uniform
grid of oblong blocks created by a few longitudinal and even fewer latitudinal
avenues(aXatTEict) andnarrowalleys(cTEvwtot) betweenthem(if Kondis'and
Castagnoli's reconstruction of the plans of Thurii and Rhodes are correct). The
plan for the agora may or may not have included some public buildings. The
earlier use of this street plan does not contradict Aristotle's assertion that
Hippodamus invented the btacLQEOL of cities because Aristotle's term refers to
over-all zoning of the land. When Aristotle calls an orthogonal plan Hippoda-
meian he does so after the man who introduced the plan to Athens.
2. What is the connection between Hippodamus and cities other than the
Piraeus? How can the activities ascribed to him be reconciled with his lifespan?
According to all sources, Hippodamus was a Milesian, but no reference is ever
made to his life or activity in Miletus. All sources agree that he laid out the
Piraeus. Only the scholia to Aristophanes (Eq. 327) give any indication of the
time of that activity placing it vaguely in the time of the Persian wars (xaTa' Tla
Mr98xa). The scholiast also tells us that some called Hippodamus Milesian,
others Thurian and still others Samian. Similarly, Photius (under'bmobaRou
vtw[at) says that he was a Milesian or Thurian metereologos. Hesychius under
the same heading states that Hippodamus being a Milesian settled in Thurii (6
toxFolxcyqa Fi; EouQtaxo1U';;this, however is an emmendation of the manus-
cript reading XVQ1Qxo1.). In addition, Strabo (14. 654) writes that Rhodes was
founded during the Peloponnesian war by the same architect, as they say, as the
Piraeus. Besides Aristotle's report this is the sum total of information on
Hippodamus' planning or building activity. We notice that with exception of
Strabo's reference to Rhodes, nobody assigns any work-activity to Hippoda-
mus outside of the Piraeus. Also besides the mention of the Persian wars the
only datable events contained in this information are the foundation of Thurii
- 444/3, and the foundation of Rhodes - 408/7. The assumption that Hippoda-
mus planned Thurii is based only on the fact that Diodorus' brief description of
the lay-out of Thurii fits the presumed characteristics of the Hippodameian
plan. Thus the planning of Rhodes is the only professional activity other than
the reconstruction of the Piraeus ascribed to Hippodamus by any extant ancient
Still, in the current literature the general assumption is that Hippodamus,
born in Miletus, must have gained his experience and his credentials in the
re-building of Miletus.23 Since this project is supposed to have taken place
23 Gerkan 46; Dinsmoor 214; Wycherley 17. Martin 104-6 sees in Hippodamus a product of the
Milesian and Pythagorean schools of philosophers and mathematicians, who steeped in the heritage
of the 6th century, applied their theories in Miletus.

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immediately after 479,24 Hippodamus would have had to be born before 500 and
would have been over ninety years old in 408 when the city of Rhodes was
founded. Consequently Strabo's statement was rejected as impossible. The
argument for denial of Hippodamus' participation in the work at Rhodes was
further supported on the following grounds: Strabo's statement (14.654) is
weakened by the absence of a mention of Hippodamus' name and by the phrase
"6); wa(tv". Gerkan considered it unlikely that Hippodamus as a sympathizer
of Athens would have joined the Rhodians who sided with the Peloponne-
sians.25He also supports an early re-building of the Piraeus by the epigraphical
evidence of the boundary stones whose letterforms he ascribes to the early fifth
century, and by the scholiast's words "xCvTatT'a Mr&x6". He reasons that
although the peace with Persia was not concluded until 449/8, the war was too
remote in its later stages to be a likely reference for dating an important event.26
Fabricius bases his chronology on the dating of Archeptolemus who according
to the same scholion was Hippodamus' son and should have been born before
455 to allow for his political activity in 425.27 Fabricius, however, does not
consider the letter-forms of the boundary stones (rho with a tail and three-
stroke sigma) valid evidence for dating them in the period of Themistocles.
P. Foucart has been the most influential advocate of such an early date.28In this
he has been followed by R. Martin, who sees in Hippodamus a product of the
6th century Milesian school of philosophy and who is convinced that Hippoda-
mus must have received his education and ideas as a member of the group which
conceived the plan of the new Miletus.29Not even Gerkan or Fabricius are
willing to accept a Themistoclean date, and they consider Pericles the driving
force in the rebuilding of the town of Piraeus. Judeich believes that the
letter-forms are still possible towards the middle of the fifth century and puts the
rebuilding of the town around that time.30All of these authorities, however,
agree that Hippodamus would have been too old, even had he been alive, to have
a hand in the foundation of Rhodes, and thus reject Strabo's testimony.
But Wycherley who earlier had accepted Gerkan's arguments3'later revised
his opinion and presented the case for acceptance of Strabo's report and
Hippodamus' part in the planning of Rhodes: The earlier scholars had no
knowledge of the plan of Rhodes and were misled by Diodorus' description of
the city as "theater-like" and thus not fitting their concept of the Hippodameian
scheme. Since then, through Kondis, Bradford and others,32the street-plan of
Rhodes has become known and has been found to be the typical orthogonal
system. The theater-shape must refer to the geographic configuration of the

24 Gerkan 46; Martin 101. 25 Gerkan 49 26 Gerkan 47.

27 E. Fabricius, "Hippodamos", RE 8-2, c. 1732.

28 P. Foucart, "Constructions de Themistocle au Piree et a Salamine", Journal des Savants

5 (1907) 177-186. 29 R.Martin (note 2) 104. 10 Judeich (note 19) 76 n. 2.

31 Wycherley (note 2) 17. 32 Kondis (note 13); Bradford (note 2) 278-286.

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Hippodamusandthe PlannedCity 423
terrain rather than to a semicircular street-layout. Information which Strabo
received from the Rhodians was apt to be reliable as circumstances attending the
foundation of their city would be an important part of their tradition and
a matter of record. Opinions concerning Hippodamus' political sympathies
carry little weight since nobody is able to guess the views of the man who had left
Athens for Thurii some thirtyfive years earlier. Many people must have lost
their sympathy for Athens during that period. With the most important
difficulty, the chronology, Wycherley dealt by assuming a later date for the
re-building of the town of Piraeus. He points out that the confidence in dating
on the basis of the letter-forms is not as great today as it once used to be.
Stone-cutters have their own idiosyncrasies and the boundary stones may have
been given an intentionally archaic appearance.Also, the Piraeus may have been
constructed in several phases with the military installations built first and the
town later.33Wycherley proposes the following time table:
As a young man, we may imagine, he (sc. Hippodamus) gained experience
and inspiration at the rebirth of his native city Miletus. He came to
Athens, perhaps towards 460, in time to place his stamp upon the Piraeus
and he lived at Piraeus for a while. In 443 B. C. he went to Thurii, where he
would find work to occupy him for years.34
Thus Hippodamus born at the latest in 495, would have been 16 at the rebuilding
of Miletus, 35 when he planned the Piraeus in 460, and in his late eighties at
Rhodes in 408. This, as Wycherley says, would not have been an unprecedented
old age in Greece for an active and productive life.
I do believe, however, that Wycherley's chronology stretches probability to
the limit and I would like to argue for an even later one. The fact that Aristotle
knew details of Hippodamus' personal mannerisms makes it appearthat he lived
not too long before Aristotle's time. After all, Hippodamus was not of the
stature of one of these legendary sages to whom the Greeks loved to attach all
kinds of anecdotes concerning their idiosyncrasies. Aristotle could have known
of Hippodamus' theories through his writings and of his activities through
official records, but that he knew about Hippodamus' mannerof dress, makes it
appear that some of the older members of the Academy, such as perhaps Plato
himself, might still have known and remembered him.
More important are the following considerations. One of the principal
reasons for an early dating of Hippodamus seems to be his presumed participa-
tion in the rebuilding of Miletus. It does seem a priori paradox to affirm for
Hippodamus an activity at Miletus for which there is no ancient evidence at all
and to reject an activity at Rhodes which is attested by Strabo, a usually quite

3 R. E. Wycherley, "Hippodamus and Rhodes", Historia 13 (1964), 135-139; (cf. SEG XXI 1I4).
3 Ibid. Wycherley thus returns almost to the original chronology of Hermann (note 1) 17-18,
and of Erdmann (note 1) 198, who date Hippodamus' birth to 475 and have him plan Rhodes as an
old man.

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reliable source. The critical gap between Wycherley's chronology and the earlier
one by Gerkan and Fabricius amounts to only about ten years. The gap could be
bridged in several ways. If one wishes to hold fast to the not implausible
hypothesis of a learning period for Hippodamus in Miletus in which he could
have acquired the experience and reputation which led to his commission at the
Piraeus, one might consider the possibility of a later date for the re-building of
Miletus. M. Mayer proposes that Miletus, which according to Herodotus
(6.19-23) had been totally depopulated, could not have been rebuilt on a large
scale before 466 after Cimon had regained control of southern Ionia. He further
believes that the letterforms of the OQOL are still quite possible towards the
middle of the fifth century.35I would like to add that a date after 466 would still
have been "xaTa Tza Mrj&xa"at a time when the Persian war loomed again
larger in the consciousness of the Athenians because of the expeditions to
Cyprus and Egypt and Cimon's death. Acceptance of a 466 date for the
beginning of the re-planning of Miletus would permit a forward shift of
Hippodamus' chronology by 13 years. Thus he could have been born in 482 and
worked in Rhodes at the age of 74.
If one, however, prefers the 479 reconstruction date for Miletus, there is no
need to ascribe to Hippodamus any active part in that enterprise. As mentioned
before, no ancient source even remotely hints at such a connection. Further-
more, even if one is willing to grant that Hippodamus derived his inspirations
from the new Miletus, one does not have to imply his participation or even
presence at the building stage. A city is a permanent monument to its plan. One
can study its lay-out, its functional advantages and disadvantages and its
aesthetic qualities just as well or probably better twenty years later when it is
completed and inhabited and find food for speculation on how a city should be
built. And Hippodamus, according to Aristotle's account, was primarilya theo-
retician and a planner; none of the ancient sources ascribeany actualbuildings to
him. It is true that in addition to ETEWQoX6Oyo; he is called aQxLTxTwv by
Harpocration, but this would be the designation of the man in charge of any
project, and does not necessarily mean that he had actually learnedand practiced
the "building trade".36 Aristotle ridicules Hippodamus for "trying to be
knowledgeable about all of (qAoGg"(Pol. 1367b28) and Aristotle's summary of
Hippodamus' theories seems to be a paraphraseof Hippodamus' own writings.
Would it not appear then that Hippodamus' written theories would have
constituted his "credentials" for access to Pericles' circle and eventually his
commission at the Piraeus, rather than an unattested practical activity in
Miletus? Thus, it is not necessary at all to connect Hippodamus with a purely
conjectural participation in the re-construction of Miletus in order to explain
why he was entrusted with his assignment at the Piraeus. But it was this putative
's M. Mayer, "Miletos", RE 25-2, c. 1633.
36 As proposed by Gerkan 44, 46, 57; cf. Martin 105.

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Hippodamusandthe PlannedCity 425
association with Miletus that required an early birthdate for Hippodamus and
thus made it difficult to accept Strabo's word that Hippodamus planned the city
of Rhodes. The second reason for stretching his lifespan back to the beginning of
the fifth century or even the sixth was the dating of the boundary stones to the
first quarter of the fifth century although this early dating, as we have seen, had
been questioned by Fabricius and M. Mayer. Since our knowledge of history
between the Persian wars and the Peloponnesian war depends to a large degree
on epigraphic evidence datable only on the basis of the letter-forms, this
problem has recently become subject of much discussion among epigraphists
and historians. Today, as R. Meiggs and others have shown, there is clearly
datable evidence for the use of three-stroke sigma as late as 445 and for rho with
a tail until 438 in official Attic inscriptions.37 Thus the early birthdate for
Hippodamus based on the letters in the 6OOL is no longer a valid argument.
In summary, either a later date for the rebuilding of Miletus, or a discarding of
the unsupported notion that Hippodamus played a part in it, would overcome
the difficulty of an overly long lifespan for Hippodamus and would allow to
credit to him the plan of Rhodes as attested by Strabo. The question of his
contribution to Rhodes, on the other hand, is crucial to our knowledge of
Hippodamus' work since it is the only city ascribed to him by an ancient source
of which we know the plan to a considerable extent. If we deny his involvement
with Rhodes, Kondis' and Castagnoli's findings lose much of their direct
relevance to the appraisal of Hippodamus and his work.
3. Was Archeptolemos the son of Hippodamus?
The scholia to Aristophanes, Eq. 327 are important because next to the
passages in Aristotle they contain the most extensive information on Hippoda-
mus and the only literary clue for dating his work at the Piraeus. The context is
as follows. There are three passages in Aristophanes which are taken to refer to
Archeptolemus' part in transmitting a peace offer by the Spartansin 425/424 in
connection with the Pylos - Sphacteria operation (Thucydides 4.16). In Eq.
321-327 the chorus tells us that Cleon despoils the possessions of the Athenians
while "o 6' I'3to6a*ou weeps as he looks on". In the second passage (Eq.
792-796) Agoracritus accuses Cleon of having no pity for the people who have
been living for eight years in barrels and cubbyholes and of keeping them
confined in order to be able to fleece them; therefore he has scattered Archepto-
lemus' peace to the wind and has kicked out the envoys who proposed the truce.
In the third passage (Pax 665), Hermes explains to the Athenians why Peace is
angry: "She says she came on her own free will after the Pylos affair bringing
a chest full of treaties and was voted down thrice in the assembly". The scholion

3 R. E. Meiggs and David Lewis, A Selecion of Greek Historical Inscriptions to the End of the
Fifth Century B. C., Oxford (1969) 81; R. Meiggs, "The Dating of Fifth-Century Attic Inscrip-
tions", JHS 86 (1966) 92; B.D. Meritt and H.T. Wade-Gery, "The Dating of Documents to the
Mid-Fifth Century" JHS (1962) 67.

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to Eq. 327 identifies Hippodamus thus: he lived in the Piraeus and had a house
there which he gave up to become public property; he "put together" (oavvya-
yev) the Piraeus xaTcat at Mq8bLxd; he was honored by the Athenians; some
called him Thurian, some Samian, and some Milesian. About Archeptolemus
the scholiast tells us that he benefitted the city greatly and was the enemy of
The text of the scholia is somewhat confused. Certain statements which
clearly refer to Hippodamus appear as if they pertained to Archeptolemus and
vice versa. But after some sorting out, the above is the gist of the information.
Examined separately neither the remarks on Archeptolemus nor the ones on
Hippodamus seem inconstistent with what we know about them from other
sources. The difficulty lies, of course, in the alleged family relationship. Gerkan
has presented the case against such an association. Archeptolemus must have
been an Athenian citizen. Otherwise he could not have held his political offices
(he was executed in 411 as one of the fourhundred). But after Pericles'
citizenship laws of 451/450 Hippodamus could not have been a citizen, no
ancient source calls him ever an Athenian. Ownership of a house is no evidence
of citizenship; many metics had that privilege." As son of a foreigner, Archepto-
lemus could not have been a citizen. Furthermore, Hippodamus living in the
Piraeus, should have belonged to vpuXiHippothoontis while Archeptolemus'
6n'cq Agryle belonged to piXiVErechtheis. The trochaic meter in Aristophanes
(Eq. 327) requires a long alpha in Hippodamou, but such a dorisizing form is
impossible in Miletus where the name is attested as Hippodemus. Thus Arche-
ptolemus' father's name as well as his oligarchic polities seem ratherto suggest an
Attic aristocratic family. Gerkan thus considers the identification of Archepto-
lemus' father with Hippodamus of Miletus erroneous. Wycherley referring to
Gerkan's arguments also dismisses the matter as a case of mistaken identity.39
Yet one cannot help feeling uneasy about such a simple dismissal. Fabricius
thought the scholiast's succinct statement could not be disregardedand used it
for his dating of Hippodamus. The most important source on Archeptolemus is
found in Plutarch (Moralia 10, vit. X orat., Antiphon 833d-834d); appended to
Antiphon's vita is a Vq(oPiCEwhich Plutarch cited from Caecilius and which is
assumed to have Craterus as original source. According to the Vpiqoc,
Antiphon and 'AQXnTo6XEto gI7rno6ba&oU from Agryle were convicted of
treason and sentenced to death, confiscation of their properties, and &Ul[ia for
themselves and their descendants.40The decree confirms Archeptolemus' citi-
zenship as well as his father's name, the two most contradictory points. The
assumption of a confusion with another Hippodamus would be easier to accept
if we knew another man of this name. But the name Hippodamus is otherwise
not attested for Athens or Attica at all. And, as Fabricius points out, he must
Gerkan 44; Erdmann 199-201; cf. A.R.W. Harrison, The Law of Athens, Oxford (1968)
237-238. 39 Wycherley (note 33) 139. 40 F.Jacoby, FGHv. 3, pt.3, 342 F.5.

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Hippodamusandthe PlannedCity 427

have been a prominent personality if Aristophanes could introduce Archeptole-

mus simply as "Hippodamus' son" without mentioning his name and expect the
audience to recognize him.41
I would like to offer a suggestion which would make the error of identity
more plausible and acceptable. We know of two persons who apparently
belonged to a noble Attic family by the name of Hippodamas. The first appears
on an inscribed casualty list of the tribe of Erechtheis.42He wasa cQary6; and
was killed in Egypt between 460 and 458. We notice that Erechtheis is the CpUA'
of Archeptolemus, that Hippodamas would have been the right age to be his
father and that as the CoTQaTfyo6in a daring and disastrous operation he would
have been known well enough to Aristophanes' audience. The obvious problem,
however, is that the genitive of Hippodamas should be 'I3toba6dLavTo;. The
second Hippodamas known to us was archon in 375 BC and his name appearsin
nominative and in the genitive 'I3T3uo8CtaavTo;in an inscription.43He is also
mentioned by Diodorus Siculus (15.38.1) and - this is the significant part
- Diodorus uses the genitive Innob&qiov. Thus it appears at least possible that
the variant genitive eImobair oo on the analogy of first-declension, a-stem
masculines may have been in use, as for instance the variants of XWxQaTolU
instead of cxQLTOvUor wx6QarTjvfor wxQa'T-r.44The "wrong" genitive
could have easily caused the scholiast's confusion. On the basis of this conjectu-
re and the evidence of Archeptolemus' citizenship, it would appear justified to
deny Hippodamus' of Miletus paternity of Archeptolemus, and thus to disre-
gard the argument based on Archeptolemus' dates for an early birthdate of

No evidence exists that Hippodamus was in any way associated with the
planning or re-building of Miletus. As most authorities agree, the scholiast is
most likely wrong in identifying the father of Archeptolemus with Hippodamus
of Miletus. The re-construction of the Piraeus may well have taken place during
the 450s. Thus it is quite possible that Hippodamus, born between 490 and 480,
could have been actively involved in the planning of Rhodes when he was in his
seventies. Therefore, the streetplan of Rhodes on which much of Kondis' and
Castagnoli's work is based, is indicative of the "Hippodameian" lay-out
although it is not Hippodamus' invention. Hippodamus' importance lies in

4' RE, Hippodamos, c. 1732.

1. G. 12929; cf. M. N. Tod, A Seleaion of Greek Historical Inscriptions,Oxford (1946) 40-43.
43 I. G. I12 1635; Tod v. 2, 72-76, 78, 82.
44 C.D. Buck, The Greek Dlialects, 3d ed., Chicago and London
(1965) 90. It seems a strange
coincidence that H. North Fowler in the Loeb edition of Plutarch's Moralia, Harvard (1949) 353,
translates in the text "Archeptolemus, son of Hippodamus", but writes without any note or
explanation in the index (483) "Hippodamas, father of Archeptolemus" - printing error or Freudian
slip because North Fowler was thinking along the same lines?

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428 ALFRED BURNS, Hippodamusandthe PlannedCity

a new theoreticalapproachexpressedin his writingswhich consistedin a total

land-allocationbasedon these premises.Much of the foregoingis necessarily
conjectureand cannot be proved.But so aremost previousspeculations.Our
hypotheses seem to have the advantagethat they are consistentwith all the
ancienttestimonyexcepta partof the scholiato Aristophanesandwe thinkwe
haveoffereda plausibleexplanationfor the scholiast'serror.

Universityof Hawaii AlfredBurns

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