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The Council 

Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of January 23, 2003

page 9 of 24

· Agenda for Meetings ·

Read about the evidence
Demosthenes (Dem. 18).
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).

The Presidents were responsible for summoning the Council to meet (Dem. 18.169; IG II2 1629.247-251). They were also responsible for setting the agenda (τὸ πρόγραμμα) for the meeting (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 44.2).

Read about the evidence
Aristophanes (Aristoph. Kn.).
Arisstotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).

In the early years of the Athenian democracy, the Presidents (πρυτάνεις) and their Chairman (ἐπιστάτης) presided over the conduct of Council meetings (Aristoph. Kn. 674; IG II2 50; IG I3 196). But in the 4th century, meetings were run by a different panel of officials. The Chairman would select by lot (κληροῖ) a board of nine Proedroi (προέδροι ἐννέα), one Councilor from each of the nine tribes of Athens (φυλαί), omitting the tribe whose Councilors were currently serving as Presidents (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 44.2). The Chairman would also select, from the nine Proedroi, one man to be Chairman of the Proedroi (ἐπιστάτς τῶν προέδρων), and would hand over the agenda to these men (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 44.2).

Read about the evidence
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).

The agenda naturally varied greatly from meeting to meeting, but there were certainly regularly recurring items. For example, people owing money to the Athenian state, on certain kinds of contracts—taxes, mining leases, etc. (see Aristot. Ath. Pol. 47.1)—were supposed to make regular payments to the state, payable once in each Prytany (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 47.3). So, the agenda for the first two meetings of the Council in each prytany included, as an item of business, the report of the “ten Receivers” (ἀποδέκται δέκα), who would read their records of who had and had not made his payment (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 48.1-2).

Also, an inscription from the 4th century records a decree stipulating that once in each Prytany, the Council must meet to discuss what work was necessary to keep the harbor and walls in goo repair, and how to pay for the work: “…the Council is to confer, on one meeting day during each Prytany, concerning wall-building” (τὴν δὲ βουλὴν τὴν ἀεὶ βουλεύουσαν ἐν μίαν ἡμέραν τῆς πρυτανείας ἑκάστης βουλῆς ἕδραν περὶ τῶν τειχοποιικῶν) (IG II2 244).

Read about the evidence
Demosthenes (Dem. 19).

Matters of foreign policy, which were not predictable, were often the subject of special meetings of the Council, with only one issue on the agenda (see for example Dem. 19.185).

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