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EPHORS
Form: Ephoroi=overseers.

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A boardof five members at Sparta, elected annually from all the citizens. It is said to have been established by Lycurgus or king Theopompus (770 B.C.). The original intention was that it should give decisions in private matters, and represent the absent kings in certain of their duties, especially the superintendence of the officials and of public discipline. But their circle of authority gradually widened, till it came to mean a superintendence over the whole commonwealth, including the kings. The ephors had the right of raising objections against their actions, calling them, like other officials, to account for their conduct, punishing them with fines and reprimands, and even prosecuting them before the senate, and threatening them with deposition and death. They were the only citizens who were not obliged to rise in the kings' presence, a fact which gives a good idea of the relative position of the two parties. Besides the duty of opposing everything which they thought adverse to the laws and interests of Sparta, they had from early times the right of summoning the deliberative and legislative assemblies, the Gerusia and Ecclesia, to make proposals to them, and take the lead in proceedings left to their management. Two of them regularly accompanied the kings on their campaigns. It is probable also that they had the superintendence of the public treasure. In their capacity of protectors of the public discipline their authority extended itself to the minutest details of private life. In regard to the Helots and Periceci it was still more alsolute. Even on a pericecus they could pass sentence of death without trial. (See PERICECI) On important occasions a majority of their votes was required. At the end of their annual office, on which they entered at the beginning of the Spartan year or at the time of the autumnal equinox, they were liable to be called to account by their successors. The year was dated by the name of the first Ephor on the board.
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PLACE HOLDER FOR COUNTER
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