By Roger Chesneau
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5 per cent per annum would require, on average, between six and seven live births for every woman who survived to the end of her reproductive cycle. Responsibility was heavy and came quickly: more than a third of children had lost their father by the age of 15 (that is, would have come into their inheritance), and at that age fewer than one in ten will have had a living grandfather. What are the implications of a population on Pithekoussai that numbered between 7,000 and 14,000 by 700? Let us take consumption ﬁrst.
The fortunate survival of an inscription from the city of Cyrene in North Africa 34 INVENTING THE GREEK POLIS gives us an exceptionally vivid picture of what happened. Towards the end of the fourth century the people of Thera had something of a crisis, and they attempted to relieve it by making use of their ancestral links with Cyrene. They sent an embassy to Cyrene to ‘remind’ the people there that at the time that Cyrene had been founded, some 300 years earlier, a sworn agreement had been made according to which a Theran who came to Cyrene at a later date could claim citizenship there.
Although literary sources occasionally offer ﬁgures for the total population of a city, these are rarely trustworthy. A character in Menander argues that the gods cannot possibly concern themselves with whether every individual is up to good or bad, given that there are 1,000 cities and each of them has 30,000 inhabitants (Epitrepontes 1084–91). 6–8). Although Thucydides’ ﬁgures are not without their problems, they indicate a ﬁfth-century Athenian adult male citizen population of about 50,000, which suggests that taking men, women, and children together there were around 200,000 Athenians, not counting slaves or resident foreigners.