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2 In early times, the Council, according to Aristotle （Aristot. Ath. Pol. 3）, not only had the duty of guarding the laws, but was the main factor in the government of the city, and punished at its discretion “all who misbehaved themselves.” It even selected the magistrates for the several offices （Aristot. Ath. Pol. 8）. Under Solon the Council kept its most important powers: it superintended the laws and guarded the constitution, exercised a censorship over the citizens “in the most important matters,” and corrected offenders, having plenary authority to inflict punishment （Aristot. Ath. Pol. 8）. Under Cleisthenes its powers declined, but because of its wise and patriotic initiative in the Persian Wars it became again the supreme influence of the state （Aristot. Ath. Pol. 23）, and remained so until, under the leadership of Ephialtes, its important powers of supervision and censorship were taken from it and distributed to the Senate of the Five Hundred, the General Assembly, and the Heliastic juries （Aristot. Ath. Pol. 25）.
3 The Council was made up of ex-archons, who, after successfully passing an examination at the end of their terms of office to determine their fitness, became members of the Areopagus for life. The archons were at first “selected under qualifications of birth and of wealth.” See Aristot. Ath. Pol. 3. After the “reforms” of Ephialtes, the property qualification was dropped, the only requirement being that of genuine citizenship. See Plut. Arist.