Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
A Summary of: The Council
Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of January 23, 2003
Plot on a Map
The Council of 500 (ἡ βουλὴ οἱ πεντακόσιοι) represented the full-time government of Athens. It consisted of 500 citizens, 50 from each of the ten tribes, who served for one year. The Council could issue decrees on its own regarding certain matters, but its main function was to prepare the agenda for meetings of the Assembly. The Council would meet to discuss and vote on “Preliminary decrees” (προβουλεύματα), and any of these that passed the Council’s vote went on for discussion and voting in the Assembly.