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The form of the ancient constitution that existed before Draco was as follows. Appointment to the supreme offices of state went by birth and wealth; and they were held at first for life, and afterwards for a term of ten years. [2] The greatest and oldest of the offices were the King, the War-lord and the Archon. Of these the office of King was the oldest, for it was ancestral. The second established was the office of War-lord, which was added because some of the Kings proved cowardly in warfare (which was the reason why the Athenians had summoned Ion to their aid in an emergency).1 [3] The last of these three offices established was that of the Archon, the institution of which is dated by a majority of authorities in the time of Medon,2 though some put it in that of Acastus,3 adducing in evidence the fact that the Nine Archons swear that they will perform their oaths even as in the time of Acastus, showing that in his time the house of Codrus retired from the Kingship in return for the privileges bestowed on the Archon.4 Whichever of the two accounts is true, it would make very little difference in the dates; but that this was the last of these offices to be instituted is also indicated by the fact that the Archon does not administer any of the ancestral rites, as do the King and the War-lord, but merely the duties added later; on account of which also the Archonship only became great in recent times, when augmented by the added duties. [4] Legislators5 were elected many years later, when the elections to the offices were now yearly, to perform the function of publicly recording the ordinances and to preserve them for the trial of litigants; hence this alone of the supreme offices was never tenable for more than a year. [5] These are the intervals between the dates of the institution of the various supreme offices. And the Nine Archons6 were not all together, but the King had what is now called the Bucolium,7 near the town hall8 (as is indicated by the fact that even at the present day the union and marriage9 of the King's Wife with Dionysus takes place there), while the Archon had the President's Hall, and the War-lord the Epilyceum (which formerly used to be called the War-lord's House, but because Epilycus on becoming War-lord rebuilt and furnished it, it received the name of Epilyceum); and the Legislators had the Legislators' Court. But in Solon's time they all came together in the Legislators' Court. They also had power to give final judgement in lawsuits, and not as now merely to hold a preliminary trial. Such then were the regulations relating to the supreme offices. [6] The Council of Areopagus had the official function of guarding the laws, but actually it administered the greatest number and the most important of the affairs of state, inflicting penalties and fines upon offenders against public order without appeal; for the elections of the Archons went by birth and wealth, and the members of the Areopagus were appointed from them, owing to which this alone of the offices has remained even to the present day tenable for life. This, then, was the outline of the first form of the constitution.

1 Aristot. Ath. Pol. Fr. 1 above.

2 Son of Codrus (see Aristot. Ath. Pol. Fr. 7 above) and life-archon.

3 Medon's successor.

4 Or, with Sandys's reading, 'corresponding privileges being (at the same time) assigned to the Archon.'

5 The official title of the six junior Archons.

6 i.e. their official residences and courts.

7 Otherwise unknown.

8 Position uncertain.

9 An annual ceremony by which the god Dionysus was incorporated as an Athenian: the lady personifying his consort passed a night in his temple.

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