Ephebe

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Ephebe
Blank.jpg
Established
Motto
Neighbours Omnia(turnwise), Djelibeybi(widdershins), Ur(rimwards).
Geographical Features clement offshore islands such as Papylos, the Pyrinankles.
Population small
Size small
Capital Ephebe
Type of government Democracy (vote limited to all those who are not a slave, mad, female, poor or foreign) Ruled by The Tyrant
Notable Citizens Didactylos, Urn, "Charcoal" Abraxas & Lavaeolus
Imports
Exports Ideas, wine, figs & dates; decorative stone; the occasional Gorgon. The Elgin Marbles.
National Anthem
Books Pyramids, Small Gods, The Compleat Discworld Atlas


A country in the continent of Klatch and on the coast of the Circle Sea. Ephebe is home to thousands of toga-wearing, wine-drinking, food-fighting philosophers. "Philosophy" includes logics, theology, social-economics, mathematics, and "natural philosophy" (physics, etc). Ephebe is powerful in politics, military, and knowledge base. Ephebe once boasted the second-largest Library on the Disc, but this was burnt down by the Omnians and hundreds of irreplaceable scrolls were presumed lost. (The fact many of them turned up later in the Library of Unseen University has not, oddly enough, aroused much comment).

In Ephebe, citizens can own slaves but have to pay them well, feed them well, and allow days-off. A slave who has worked long enough and earned enough money might choose to lose the slave status and become his own man. Otherwise he might remain a slave because the work benefits are so good and guarantee a minimum lifestyle which the free owner of slaves might not be able to afford, as so much of his income has to go on ensuring a minimum standard for his slaves. For the most part, the slaves in Ephebe are paid domestic staff or other kinds of employees. The ruler of Ephebe is a Tyrant elected by the citizens. The one privilege of citizens not enjoyed by slaves is the right to vote in the election for the next Tyrant.

Tsort is Ephebe's traditional enemy, because thousands of years ago, Tsort stole the queen Elenor from Ephebe. It should be noted that even famous saga-narrators in Ephebe are not capable of getting the fact straight, whether Elenor was stolen from Ephebe by Tsort or from Tsort by Ephebe. It was just one cause of a long, exhausting, jolly-good-fun war (see Eric). Ephebe is also neighbour to Djelibeybi and Omnia.

Major appearances of the location or the country as a military entity in Eric, Pyramids, and Small Gods. Often mentioned as the country where a philosopher might have been pondering a question while in his bath, suddenly realizing the answer, and then running out on the street shouting "Eureka!", which Ankh-Morporkians interpret as "Give me a towel!" (see Moving Pictures).

Ephebe uses bronze coinage called Derechmi and Obols.

Gorgons are apparently a viable non-human species here: one has emigrated to Ankh-Morpork and become a Watchwoman. In The Compleat Discworld Atlas, tourism has become a saleable commodity, with Ephebian Islands and the associated lifestyle being marketed as a plus point. (As is the guaranteed philosopher-free nature of the island of Papylos.)

Annotations

The resemblance to classical Athens here on Roundworld is too obvious to require much comment. The word Ephebe is the English form of the Greek Ephebos, an adolescent boy. In Athens such boys were normally taken under the wing of an older man in a purely Platonic relationship - well ideally anyway. In Sparta, for instance, the mentoring relationship was formally expected to take a more personal and intimate direction, which was believed to foster a strong bond in battle. The Thebans even built an army regiment out of many such man-boy pairings. The word is still there in modern psychology (and these days, criminology) to denote a certain practice - ephebophilia. A euphemism for one who lives openly as gay is that they have a Greek island lifestyle. No doubt habitués of the Blue Cat Club are referred to as enjoying Ephebian island holidays, nudge-nudge.

Derechmi and Obols are not a million miles away from the old (soon to be resumed?) Greek currency of drachmae.