Ephebe isa country on the continent of Klatch based on Ancient Greece. It places a premium on knowledge, boasting a large number of philosophers who wear togas, drink wine and throw food and who tend to jump out of the bath in order to note down ideas while shouting "Eureka" (Ephebian for "Fetch me a towel"). "Philosophy" includes logics, theology, social-economics, mathematics, and "natural philosophy" (physics, etc). Ephebe is advanced in politics - "mocracy" (Discworld's democracy) was invented here. They are also strong militarily boasting a large navy. 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 his slave status and become his own master. Equally 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 toward ensuring a minimum standard for his slaves. For the most part, the slaves in Ephebe are paid domestic staff or other kinds of employees. Ephebe is ruled by a Tyrant elected by the citizens but not the slaves - Discworld's democratic country, a practice which the Ephebians have been largely unsuccessful in exporting.
Tsort is Ephebe's traditional enemy, because thousands of years ago, Tsort stole the queen Elenor from Ephebe in events that parallel Roundworld's Trojan Wars. 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.
Ephebe uses bronze coinage called Derechmi and Obols which are not far removed from the old Greek currency of the drachmae.
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Pratchett has taken the name Ephebe from the Greek word for an adolescent male. In ancient Greek society and mythology, an ephebos was a boy, aged 17–18, who went through a period of initiation that included military training. In Athens such boys were normally taken under the wing of an older man in a purely Platonic relationship - in theory at least. In Sparta, 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 such man-boy pairings. The word ephebophilia is used in psychology and criminology to denote the primary sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19.
Appearances:[edit | edit source]
Moving Pictures - minor mention