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ECCLE´TI (ἔκκλητοι) was the name of an assembly at Sparta (only in Xen. Hell. 2.4, § 38; 5.2.33; 6.3.3). The same writer mentions, once only, a “Small Ecclesia” ( μικρὰ καλουμένη ἐκκλησία, Hell. 3.3.8). That the constitution of these bodies should be involved in much doubt is not surprising, considering how little is known of the popular assembly, whose very name is uncertain. It is usual to call it ἁλία which was elsewhere the name for assemblies of the governing class in the Dorian states, but is only applied to that of the Spartans in a single passage of Herodotus (7.134). The Attic writers do not trouble themselves to give the technical term (ξύλλογον σφῶν αὐτῶν τοιήσαντες τὸν εἰωθότα, Thuc. 1.67; but in ch. 87 and in Xen. Hell. 5.2, § 11, it is ἐκκλησία, as at Athens). There is reason to think that the native name was ἀπέλλα. In the so-called ῥήτρα of Lycurgus (Plut. Lyc. 6) we find ὥρας ἐξ ὥρας ἀπελλάζειν μεταξὺ Βαβύκας τε καὶ Κνακιῶνος: this is explained to mean that the assembly was to be held every month at the time of full moon (so the Schol. on Thuc. 1.67), between two points on the course of the Eurotas which marked the northern and southern limits of the capital. We have, besides, the glosses in Hesychius: Ἀπελλάζειν : ἐκκλησιάζειν : Λάκωνες: Ἀπέλλαι : σηκοί, ἐκκλησίαι, ἀρχαιρεσίαι: and μεγάλαι ἀπέλλαι in two late inscriptions found at Gythium (Le Bas, Voyage Archéologique, inscrr. 242, 243). Schömann remarks that ἀπέλλα, like ἁλία, is probably connected with ἀολλής (root Ϝείλω); the Ϝ being hardened into π. But Gilbert is hitherto the only writer who has gone so far as to put “The Apella” at the head of a chapter on this branch of the Spartan constitution.

The Small Ecclesia is mentioned only on the occasion of the conspiracy of Cinadon: the ephors, in the alarm of the discovery, “did not even summon the so-called μικρὰ ἐκκλησία, but only such stray members of the Gerusia as could be collected” (τῶν γερόντων ἄλλος ἄλλοθι). Gilbert holds that it was composed of the kings, ephors, and senators (cf. Grote, ch. 73, 6.407): but ἐκκλησία is hardly the word for a body of official persons only; the distinction between βουλή, consilium, and ἐκκλησία, concilium, runs all through Greek life. We prefer to regard it, with Schömann, as an assembly either of the ὅμοιοι then present in Sparta, or possibly of only some portion of them, as, e. g. those most advanced in years. It must clearly have represented the exclusive and conservative elements in the Spartan constitution, not the ὑπομείονες or inferior citizens, in whose interest Cinadon was conspiring.

The ἔκκλητοι themselves are involved in no less obscurity; we may notice the following opinions. 1. That they were identical with the ἐκκλησία, ἁλία or ἀπέλλα (Müller, Dorians, 3.5.10; and so Gilbert, who thinks that the word in Xenophon has no technical meaning at all). This seems to us by far the most probable. 2. That they were identical with the Small Ecclesia in the sense here adopted, i. e. an assembly of the ὅμοιοι only (L. Schmitz, in the former editions of this work). This also is not without plausibility: neither body is mentioned until the period after the Peloponnesian war, when the distinction between the citizens optimo jure and the other enfranchised classes had widened into a breach (cf. Thirlwall, 4.372ff.). 3. That they were exactly the converse of what the last theory makes them, i. e. Spartans not belonging to the ὅμοιοι, and only entitled to attend the assembly when “specially invited.” Schömann advances this view somewhat doubtfully, adding that the word “may also be explained in a different way” (apparently no. 1). But in all the three passages where the name ἔκκλητοι occurs the circumstances are such that it is very unlikely that the ὅμοιοι would have been passed over and their inferiors consulted; and we must reject this explanation. 4. The rendering in Liddell and Scott's Lexicon, “a committee of citizens chosen to report on certain questions,” is quite compatible with Gilbert's view that the word is not really used in a technical sense. (Schömann, Antiq. 1.234-236, E. T.; Gilbert, Staatsalterth. 1.53-56.)


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