Demiurge - Encyclopedia




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DEMIURGE (Gr. 8nµcovrybs, from 8 µcos, of or for the people, and 'pyov, work), a handicraftsman or artisan. In Homer the word has a wide application, including not only hand-workers but even heralds and physicians. In Attica the demiurgi formed one of the three classes (with the Eupatridae and the geomori, georgi or agroeci) into which the early population was divided (cf. Arist. Ath. Pol. xiii. 2). They represented either a class of the whole population, or, according to Busolt, a commercial nobility (see Eupatridae). In the sense of "worker for the people" the word was used throughout the Peloponnese, with the exception of Sparta, and in many parts of Greece, for a higher magistrate. The demiurgi among other officials represent Elis and Mantineia at the treaty of peace between Athens, Argos, Elis and Mantineia in 420 B.C. (Thuc. v. 47). In the Achaean League the name is given to ten elective officers who presided over the assembly, and Corinth sent "Epidemiurgi" every year to Potidaea, officials who apparently answered to the Spartan harmosts. In Plato 8rlµcovpyos is the name given to the "creator of the world" (Timaeus, 40) and the word was so adopted by the Gnostics (see Gnosticism).

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