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Bill Thayer

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p20 Aeditui

Unsigned article on p20 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

AEDITUI, AEDITUMI, AEDITIMIa (νεωκόροι, ζάκοροι), persons who took care of the temples, and attended the cleaning of them. Notwithstanding this menial service, they partook of the priestly character, and are sometimes even called priests by the Greek grammarians (Suid. Hesych. Etym. M. s.v. ζάκορος; Pollux, I.14). In many cases they were women, as Timo in Herodotus (VI.134), who also speaks of her as ὑποζάκορος, from which it is clear that in some places several of these priests must have been attached to one and the same temple, and that they differed among themselves in rank. Subsequently the menial services connected with the office of the Neocori were left to slaves, and the latter became a title given to priestly officers of high rank, of whom an account is given in a separate article [Neocori]. The aeditui lived in the temples, or near them, and acted as ciceroni to those persons who wished to see them (Plin. H. N. XXXVI.4 §10; Cic. Verr. IV.44; Liv. XXX.17; Schol. ad Hor. Ep. II.1.230). In ancient times the aeditui were citizens, but under the emperors freedmen (Serv. ad Virg. Aen. IX.648).

[image ALT: A photo of an inscription.]

Tombstone of M. Ulpius Faustus,
10‑year‑old son of Marcus Ulpius Antas,
an aedituus at the Temple of Concord.

(Vatican Library)

Thayer's Note:

a An ancient grammarian's take on these variants is given by Gellius, XII.10; the translator's note there provides a modern viewpoint.

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Page updated: 1 Jul 13