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The tribal heroes as a group: history.

→ The tribal heroes as a group: mythology.

The individual heroes: Ajax.

The individual heroes: Aigeus.

The individual heroes: Akamas.

The individual heroes: Antiochos.

The individual heroes: Erechtheus.

The individual heroes: Hippothoon.

The individual heroes: Kekrops.

The individual heroes: Leos.

The individual heroes: Oineus.

The individual heroes: Pandion.

Images of the heroes: sculpture.

Images of the heroes: paintings.

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Athenian Political Art from the fifth and fourth centuries: Images of Tribal (Eponymous) Heroes 

Amy C. Smith, edition of January 18 2003

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· The tribal heroes as a group: mythology ·

Read about the evidence
Demosthenes (Dem. 60).
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Just as politics and religion were inextricably entwined at Athens, so were myth and history, which together served to support political and/or religious institutions. So it is no surprise that in a funeral oration Ps.-Dem. 60.27ff chooses first to praise the heroism of the deceased and then to connect some small fragment from the mythology of each tribal hero with the courage and patriotism of the fallen warriors. Thus the frequent appearance of the heroes—individually and particularly together—in mythological contexts dating to the era of the Democracy (from 508 down to 322)—whether as tragic characters on the stage or figures ornamenting vases may be considered politically motivated. Just as personifications symbolize places, institutions, and abstractions, the roles of the eponymous heroes in visual as well as the literary arts—whether or not in mythological contexts—is as symbols of the tribes with which they shared their names. Whether to patriotic tribesmen or to (dis)interested others, they advertise their tribes. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the heroes are always shown in a good light in Athenian visual arts.

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