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date: 28 January 2023



  • D. M. MacDowell
  •  and Simon Hornblower


Prytaneis means ‘presidents’, sing. prytanis (πρύτανις). In Athens the *boulē, after it was reorganized in 508/7 bce by *Cleisthenes (2), consisted of fifty men chosen by lot from each of the ten *phylai, and each group of fifty served as prytaneis for one-tenth of the year (see calendar, greek). This period was called a prytany (πρυτανεία); owing to the vagaries of Athenian methods of reckoning a year, a prytany might be anything from 35 to 39 days. It was reduced to one-twelfth of the year when the number of phylai was increased to twelve in 307/6. To decide which phylē's group was to be prytaneis next, lots were drawn shortly before the beginning of each prytany except the last by all the groups which had not been prytaneis so far that year.The prytaneis were on duty every day. They made arrangements for meetings of the boulē and *ekklēsia, received envoys and letters addressed to the state, and conducted other day-to-day business.


  • Greek Law

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