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GERUSIA 100.00%
The supreme deliberative authority among the Spartans, according to the constitution of Lycurgus. It consisted of twenty-eight men of at least sixty years of age, called Gerontes, elected by the public assembly for life. The meetings of the Gerusia were presided over by the two kings, who had the right of voting. The number of the council therefore amounted to thirty. It was their duty to deliberate beforehand on all important affairs of state, and prepare preliminary resolutions upon them, to be voted upon by the public assembly. They had also jurisdiction in the case of all offences which were punishable by death or loss of civil rights. They satin judgment, if necessary, even on the kings, in later times associating the ephors with them in this function. Their authority, like that of the kings, suffered considerable restriction at the hands of the ephors. They had a similar position in the Cretan constitution, according to which only the members of the highest magistracy, called the Cosmoi, or regulators, could enter the council, and that after a blameless term of administration.
COSMI 100.00%
EPHORS 11.65%
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.
Type: Standard
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