Dr Anneka Rene, The University of Auckland

The classical Athenian cavalry, often touted by historians as an irrelevant arm of the classical Athenian army, was considered important enough by Athenian democracy to warrant sizable contributions to its financial upkeep. Unique fiscal support for the cavalry of Athens during the fifth century BC came in two forms: a supposed insurance scheme for each cavalryman’s mount, which is attested by over five hundred tablets found in the agora (‘civic centre’) and Ceramicus, and what is often called the katastasis (‘establishment loan’) to assist with the initial costs of joining the cavalry-corps. These two economic supports are often tied together in modern discussions as the same measure, with the assumption being that the lead tablets reflect the katastasis rather than a separate insurance scheme. I would instead put forward that these two measures are not only more plausibly separated, but that the sources indeed indicate this was the case in reality.

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