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πρύτανις, “a president”). The name in various Greek free States for the highest officials. In many States, especially in early times, one, two, or five prytancis ruled with almost kingly power. At Athens prytanis was the name for the member of a body of officials who presided over that body when it had any public business to transact. This title was also given to the presidents of the naucrariae and Senate (who, with their epistates at their head, presided over the Senate and Assembly during the fifth century B.C.). In the fourth century the presidential duties were transferred to the proedri and their epistates. See Aristot. Athen. Polit. 44, ed. Kenyon; and the articles Boulé; Ecclesia; Naucraria.

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