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The Presidents have a single Head elected by lot; he holds office for a day and a night, and may not hold office longer, nor serve a second time. He is keeper of the keys of the temples in which the money and documents of the state are lodged, and of the state seal, and he is required to stay in the Round-house, and so is whichever Third1 of the Presidential Boards he orders. [2] And whenever the Presidents call a meeting of the Council or of the People, this official selects by lot nine Chairmen, one from each tribe except the tribe presiding, and again from these a single Head, and he hands over the list of agenda to them; [3] and after receiving it they superintend procedure, bring forward the business to be dealt with, act as tellers, direct all the other business and have power to dismiss the meeting. A man cannot become Head more than once a year, but he can be Chairman once in each presidency. [4]

They also conduct elections of Generals, and Cavalry Commanders and the other military officers in the Assembly, in whatever manner seems good to the People; and these elections are held by the first board of Presidents, after the sixth Presidency,2 in whose term of office favorable weather-omens may occur. These matters also require a preliminary resolution of the Council.

1 See Aristot. Ath. Pol. 8.30 n.

2 i.e. the Presidents holding the seventh or a later term of office, see Aristot. Ath. Pol. 43.2. Rain, thunder, etc., were bad omens, but the regulation had a practical value for the open-air meetings in the Pnyx.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 43.2
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