Boule (ancient Greece) - Wikipedia
Athens and Sparta were the two largest city-states and they had many wars and were three main bodies of the government: the Assembly, the Council of In cities of ancient Greece, the boule was a council of over citizens appointed to run daily The boule met every day except for festival days and ill-omened days. According to Aristotle states. Sparta was a country besides Athens. The three pillars of democracy were: the Assembly of the Dêmos, the Council of government was restored, after Sparta defeated Athens in BCE, he says that But the number of Athenians in attendance at a given meeting seems to have been . The Council of represented the full-time government of Athens.
Each third was made up of demes.
Think of a deme as a village or a neighborhood in the case of the city: Cleisthenes' reform made Athenians belong primarily to a unit that was spread around Attica. Hence it was more difficult for influential families to build up geographical power-bases. In spite of that, Athens remained essentially aristocratic and plutocratic. Each new tribe had a statue in the agora, a shrine, property to raise revenue, and was organized to provide a quota of men for the military as well as civic offices.
Cleisthenes may also have increased the citizen body by including landless thetes as well as land-owners. He created a Council of in place of the Council of This was a probouleutic council.
The ten tribes provided a general apiece. As time went on, Cleisthenes was more and more ignored by Athenians, while they portrayed Theseus and Solon as their democratic founders. Cleisthenes had a rocky start in Athens.
First, he machinated to oust the tyrant Hippias. Then when he was ousted, Cleisthenes faced a rival, Isagoras. Isagoras responded by calling on the Spartan Cleomenes. Cleomenes demanded that Cleisthenes leave Athens because of the very old curse on the Alcmaeonids because of their role in murdering the followers of Cylon, a would-be tyrant from an earlier age in Athens.
Cleisthenes left Athens, Cleomenes came to Athens and demanded that the council of be abolished and tried to put Isagoras in power. When the council refused, Cleomenes took possession of the Acropolis. The people besieged the acropolis in anger, and Cleomenes withdrew. The Athenians recalled Cleisthenes and his supporters, and Cleisthenes' reforms went ahead.
It was probably easier for him to carry thru his reforms at that point because Isagoras and his supporters had either fled or were in disrepute. Inhowever, Cleomenes tried to attack Athens again, aided by Thebans from the northwest and Chalcidians from the northeast. The campaign fell apart, but it shows the opposition to Athenian developments. In the north, the Athenians defeated the Chalcidians and Thebans and established an Athenian garrison to keep watch on their north.
How things actually worked in the early 5th century is not clear. There was the Areopagus, the Council ofand an Assembly of the people ecclesia. Although the people technically apparently had full power, they were slow to use it.
The Areopagus had a lot of power, presumably. The board of generals worked by rotation at Marathon, each general was commander of the whole army for a day in rotation of some sort and by consensus. They had financial roles as well as foreign policy roles in addition to military. Because they were elected for ability and could stand for office year after year, they were the most important officials in many ways.
The Council of was changed every year. The selection may have been by lot after a preliminary election.
- Council of Five Hundred
They came from the top three census classes. The main function of the Council was probouleutic. The Assembly ecclesia was open to every citizen, including thetes. Thousands of sailors manning the fleet grew more and more aware of their political power. With his disgrace after the insulting dismissal by the Spartans, Ephialtes stripped the Areopagus of its powers.
Later Athenians portrayed the Areopagus as a benevolent guardian of laws and supervisor of morals that was destroyed by revolutionary radicals. Whatever it was that Ephialtes did, and there is debate and limited evidence, he seems to have reduced the power of the Areopagus and correspondingly increased the powers of the Council, the Law Courts, and the Assembly. He is probably responsible for the popular courts which were to have so much power later.
Much of what we think about the running of Athens is built on knowledge from the second half of the 5th century, and the earlier period is hazy. We know that in the later half, the Areopagus was limited to homicide and religious cases, and that magistrates had to submit to examinations of their conduct in office.
This may have been something of what Ephialtes instituted or laid the tracks for. Ephialtes was assassinated, presumably by anti-democratic forces. With Cimon ostracized inand soon after he came back, dead inPericles rose to the forefront and was largely unopposed in his further reforms.
Under Pericles, what is referred to as radical democracy took shape. The assembly and the law courts had ultimate authority. No property requirement for most offices. Election was reserved for offices that required professional expertise. Much was done by sortition, also called "lot.
The generals remained in many ways the most important officials. They were not just military commanders, but also surely ex officio members of the council. They influenced foreign policy as well as finances. A general elected year after year could dominate domestic as well as foreign policy, but they were still subject to the assembly. If they disagreed with the assembly's decision, they would still follow it, because the people might not elect them again if they did not, and they had to face an examination of their conduct on leaving office.
That in fact led some generals to be indecisive, with Nicias, the general of the Sicilian Expedition, a prime example. At some point, the older method of selection for office was eliminated. That method had been to hold a prelim election to establish a pool of candidates, then to select one by lot. At some point in the Pericles' lifetime, two methods were used exclusively: Also during Pericles' tenure, pay for civic service was instituted.
No single other reform furthered democracy as much as pay for service. Now many more people could afford to serve, and for some, serving became attractive financially. First, dicasts, or jurors, began to be paid. A low rate, but half a day's wages or so.
Ancient Greece for Kids: Government
That was introduced by Pericles while Cimon was still around, perhaps to counteract his liberality with his own wealth. Jurors were appointed by lot annually and could serve year after year.
By Aristophanes Waspsthere were 6, jurors per year. Cleon increased the pay rate to 3 obols a day.
Pericles also started the payment of soldiers and sailors 3 obols a day. Bythe councillors and archons were paid.
The archons' roles were vastly reduced: Ephialtes stripped them of the role of handing down judgements the jury did that. Individual archons supervised religious festivals and presided over certain suits, and conducted certain religious rites. The 6 Thesmothetai a kind of archon had juridical duties and drew up the court calendar. The Council of Boule is a mystery in its early existence, but we know that later its membership was determined by lot from the whole citizen body, 50 men from each tribe each year.
No one could serve more than twice. Each Prytany, the 50 from one tribe ran the Council with one man each day being Epistates President!
The council was deliberative, administrative, and judicial. It prepared the agenda for the Assembly and saw that the Assemblies decrees were carried out. It investigated candidates for office and was involved in their post-tenure examinations. The Assembly met 40 times a year or more. Every citizen could attend. There was no seniority system.
It elected the generals and other elected offices. Solonian boule[ edit ] The Athenian boule under Solon heard appeals from the most important decisions of the courts. Those in the poorest class could not serve on the boule of The higher governmental posts, archons magistrateswere reserved for citizens of the top two income groups. The men were chosen by lot at the deme level, each deme having been allotted a certain number of places proportional to population.
Membership was restricted at this time to the top three of the original four property classes the PentacosiomedimniHippeis and Zeugitaebut not the Thetes and to citizens over the age of thirty.
The former restriction, though never officially changed, fell out of practice by the middle of the 5th century BC. Members of the boule served for one year and no man could serve more than twice in his life, nor more than once a decade. The leaders of the boule the prytany consisted of 50 men chosen from among theand a new 'prytany' was chosen every month.
The man in charge of prytany was replaced every day from among the 50 members. The boule met every day except for festival days and ill-omened days. According to AristotleCleisthenes introduced the Bouleutic Oath.
Boule (ancient Greece)
It supervised the state's finances, navy, cavalry, sacred matters, building and shipping matters and care for invalids and orphans. Its own members staffed many boards that oversaw the finer points of these many administrative duties.
It undertook the examination of public officials both before and after leaving office most offices lasting one year to ensure honest accounting and loyalty to the state.