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Βουλή). In the Homeric Age, a Boulé, or council of principal men, was probably a wellestablished and important feature in every Greek state. The Boulé of the Greek army before Troy consists of the kings or principal chieftains (βασιλῆες, γέροντες), who meet at the call of Agamemnon, commander-in-chief, for free and equal debate on questions of policy.

In historical times, a Boulé is found in very many Greek states, but it is only at Athens that the institution is intimately known to us. Here there were, strictly speaking, two bodies bearing this name—the Senate of the Areopagus (see Areopagus) and the Senate of Five Hundred. It is the latter body which is always meant when the Boulé is spoken of without further designation, and it is this which is here described.

Composition, Organization, etc.—The membership of the Boulé, which under the Solonian constitution had been 400, 100 from each of the four old tribes, was raised by Clisthenes (B.C. 508-507) to 500, 50 from each of the ten new tribes. When, in 306, the tribes were increased to twelve, the Boulé was increased to 600, but in the time of Hadrian it was reduced to 500 again. The senators (βουλευταί) had to be at least thirty years of age. Their term of service was from the beginning to the end of an Attic year. They were selected by lot; the senators of one tribe not being taken indiscriminately from the entire tribe, but so that each deme of the tribe should have a fixed number of members. Possibly the demes nominated candidates by ballot, and the lot was used only to select the necessary number from among these nominees. Every senator, before entering into office, had to undergo an examination (δοκιμασία) by the retiring Senate. At the expiration of his term he had to render an account (εὔθυνα) of his official career.

In order to facilitate the despatch of business and to secure rotation of authority, the year was divided into ten periods (35 or 36 days each, in ordinary years), called prytanies (πρυτανεῖαι); and the senators of each tribe in turn assumed the leadership for one prytany, under the name of prytanes (πρυτάνεις). The prytanes had their headquarters in the prytaneum (πρυτανεῖον), or tholos (θόλος), a circular building near the Senate-house (βουλευτήριον). Matters of business could here be brought before them, with a view to prompt consideration by Senate and Ecclesia. Every day one of the prytanes was selected by lot as epistates (ἐπιστάτης τῶν πρυτανέων). He kept the public seal and the keys of the temples in which were deposited the public treasure and the public archives. In the fifth century this epistates also presided at the meeting of the Boulé held on his day, as well as at the meeting of the Ecclesia, if one was held. Early in the fourth century, perhaps in 378-377, a more complicated method of securing a chairman was introduced. The aforesaid epistates selected by lot nine proëdri (πρόεδροι), one from each of the non-prytanizing tribes, and out of the proëdri a second epistates (ἐπιστάτης τῶν προέδρων), to serve as chairman and carry forward, with the assistance of his fellow-proëdri, the legislative business of the day. No one could serve as επιστάτης τῶν πρυτανέων or as ἐπιστάτης τῶν προ-

Example of “Boustrophedon” Writing. (From Sigeum.)

έδρων for more than one day in the same year. The Boulé had also a secretary (γραμματεύς), who kept the records of both Boulé and Ecclesia. A session was held every day, except holidays; there would perhaps be 300 sessions in a year. The usual place of meeting was the βουλευτήριον, near the Agora. The pay for attendance was, in Aristotle's time, five obols per day.



Legislative.—According to the theory of the Athenian constitution, no subject could be acted upon in the Ecclesia until it had been considered in the Boulé and a bill (προβούλευμα) there drawn up. The Boulé, however, was a mere committee of the Ecclesia, not a co-ordinate legislative body. Its concurrence was not necessary to the passage of a measure.


Administrative.—These were very numerous and extensive. For example: the Boulé decided on the claims of pauper cripples to receive the dole provided for by law; it determined who should belong to the cavalry (ἱππεῖς), and inspected the cavalry horses, condemning the unfit; it superintended the navy and the docks; above all, it had a general oversight of the public finance, presiding over the farming of taxes, the renting of mines, payments to the special financial officials, etc. These and other administrative duties doubtless constituted the bulk of the work of the Boulé.


Judicial.—The Boulé, like other magistracies, could punish those who violated its authority. It could also, either of its own motion or on the denunciation (εἰσαγγελία) of a private citizen, pass sentence on officials, especially financial officials, for malfeasance in office. In the period of the developed democracy its power, in most cases, seems to have been limited to the imposition of a fine of 500 drachmas. The evidence, however, on this point is confusing. See J. W. Headlam, Election by Lot at Athens, chap. ii.

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