Ephor

The ephors were leaders of ancient Sparta and shared power with the two Spartan kings. The ephors were a council of five elected annually who swore "on behalf of the city", while the kings swore for themselves.[1]

Herodotus claimed that the institution was created by Lycurgus, while Plutarch considers it a later institution. It may have arisen from the need for governors while the kings were leading armies in battle. The ephors were elected by the popular assembly, and all citizens were eligible for election. They were forbidden to be reelected. They provided a balance for the two kings, who rarely cooperated with each other. Plato called the ephors tyrants who ran Sparta as despots, while the kings were little more than generals. Up to two ephors would accompany a king on extended military campaigns as a sign of control, and they held the authority to declare war during some periods in Spartan history.[2] There were a total of 7 Ephors, consisting of the two kings and the 5 who were elected.

According to Plutarch,[3] every autumn, at the crypteia, the ephors would pro forma declare war on the helot population so that any Spartan citizen could kill a helot without fear of blood guilt.[4] This was done to keep the large helot population in check.

The ephors did not have to kneel down before the Kings of Sparta and were held in high esteem by the citizens, because of the importance of their powers and because of the holy role they earned throughout their functions. Since decisions were made by majority vote, this could mean that Sparta's policy could change quickly, when the vote of one ephor changed. (E.g. in 403 BC when Pausanias convinced three of the ephors to send an army to Attica; this was a complete turn around to the politics of Lysander.[5])

Cleomenes III abolished the ephors in 227 BC, but they were restored by the Macedonian king Antigonus III Doson after the Battle of Sellasia in 222 BC. Although Sparta fell under Roman rule in 146 BC, the position existed into the 2nd century AD, when it was probably abolished by the Roman emperor Hadrian and superseded by Imperial governance as part of the province of Achaea.

Sparta
Zeus Naucratis Painter Louvre E668

Zeus on his throne with his eagle

This article is part of the series:
Spartan Constitution


Great Rhetra
Laws of Lycurgus
Politeia
List of Kings of Sparta
Gerousia
Ephorate
Apella
Spartiates
Perioeci
Helots
Agoge
Syssitia

Spartan army •   Other Greek city-states •  Law Portal

Legal power

The ephors held numerous duties including legislative, judicial, financial, and executive duties.[6] They had the power to indict a king, who would then be tried before the ephors and gerousia. Historians Paul Cartledge, Bury and Huxley agree that the ephors attained powers as great as the kings during the 7th century BC.

Etymology

The word "ephors" (Greek ἔφοροι éphoroi, plural form of ἔφορος éphoros) comes from the Greek ἐπί epi, "on" or "over", and ὁράω horaō, "to see", i.e. "one who oversees" or "overseer".

Contemporary Uses

The concept of an ephorate continues to be used by some contemporary organizations which require a monarchical element within a democratic framework. One such organization is the Ephorate of the Rascals, Rogues, and Rapscallions, an American fraternal research society.[7]

References

  1. ^ Xenophon, Constitution of Sparta they collected taxes and in forced laws in Sparta. 15.7.
  2. ^ Nicolas Richer (1998). Les éphores. Études sur l'histoire et sur l'image de Sparte (VIIIe-IIIe siècle avant Jésus-Christ). Histoire ancienne et médiévale 50. Pantheon-Sorbonne University. p. 636. ISBN 2-85944-347-9.
  3. ^ Life of Lycurgus, 28, 3–7.
  4. ^ Xenophon, Constitution of Sparta 15.6; Xenophon, Hellenica 2.3.9–10; Plutarch, Agis 12.1, 16.2; Plato, Laws 3.692; Aristotle, The Politics 2.6.14–16; A.H.M. Jones, Sparta (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1967), p. 26; Robert Struble, Jr., Treatise on Twelve Lights, chapter six, subsection entitled "Ancient Greece" Archived 2016-04-11 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Donald Kagan, The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. page 29. Ithaca/New York 1969, ISBN 0-8014-9556-3.
  6. ^ Ancient Sparta – description of governmental system
  7. ^ Constitution of the RR&R Ephorate

External links

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Alexandru Hâjdeu was one of the founding members of the Romanian Academy.

Aracus (admiral)

Aracus (Ancient Greek: Ἄρακος) was a man of ancient Sparta who served as an ephor in 409 BCE. He was appointed nauarch (ναύαρχος) of the Spartan fleet in 405, with Lysander as his vice-admiral (ἐπιστολεύς); Lysander was to have the actual power, but could not be named nauarch because Spartan law did not allow the same person to hold this office twice.In 398, Aracus was sent into Asia as one of the commissioners to inspect the state of things there, and to prolong the command of Dercyllidas; and in 369, he was one of the ambassadors sent to Athens, where Ἄρακος (Aracus) should be read instead of Ἄρατος (Aratus), though some sources confuse the names.

Archaeological Museum of Astros

The Archaeological Museum of Astros is a museum in Αstros, Arcadia, Greece. It is located in a building which has been used as Karytsiotis school, since the second half of the twentieth century. In 1985, the building was converted into a museum by the Ephor of Antiquities, Dr. Theodoros Spyropoulos. The courtyard of the building was similarly adapted into an archaeological park.

Chilon of Sparta

Chilon of Sparta (fl. 6th century BC) was a Spartan and one of the Seven Sages of Greece.

Chilonis (wife of Cleombrotus II)

Chilonis (Greek: Χιλονίς) was a Spartan princess and queen: daughter, wife, sister and grandmother of four different Spartan kings: Leonidas II, Cleombrotus II, Cleomenes III and Agesipolis III respectively.

Cyprus Archery Federation

The Cyprus Archery Federation (CAF) (Greek: Κυπριακή Ομοσπονδία Τοξοβολίας, Κ.Ο.ΤΟΞ) is the governing body for the sport of archery in Cyprus. It runs an annual national championship, and has hosted a number of international competitions.

Endius

Endius (Endios) was a Spartan ephor during the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC).

Endius was a son of Alcibiades, member of a family whose connection with that of the Athenian Alcibiades had in a previous generation introduced into the latter this Lacedaemonian name. Apparently he was one of the three ambassadors sent by Sparta in 420 BC to dissuade Athens from entering into an alliance with Argos. They were chosen, says Thucydides, from the belief of their being acceptable to the Athenians, and possibly in particular with a view to conciliate his guest, Alcibiades, who probably made use of this very advantage in effecting the deception by which he defeated their purpose.

He was elected ephor in the autumn of 413 BC, the time of the Athenian disaster at Syracuse. And through him Alcibiades now inflicted on his country the severe blow of bringing the Lacedaemonians to the coast of Ionia, which otherwise may have been postponed. His influence decided the government to lend its support to Chios; and when the blockade of their ships in Piraeus seemed likely to put a stop to all operations, he again persuaded Endius and his colleagues to make the attempt. Thucydides says that Alcibiades was his patrikos es ta malista xenos; so that probably it was with him that Alcibiades resided during his stay at Sparta.To these facts we may venture to add from Diodorus the further statement, that after the defeat at Cyzicus in 410 BC, he was sent from Sparta at the head of an embassy to Athens with reasonable proposals for peace, which were rejected thanks to the influence of the presumptuous demagogue Cleophon.

Endius, as the friend of Alcibiades, the victor of Cyzicus, would naturally be selected; and the account of Diodorus, with the exception of the oration he writes for Endius, may, notwithstanding the silence of Xenophon, be regarded as generally true.

Epitadeus

Epitadeus was an early 4th-century BC Spartan ephor, who strengthened conservative class distinctions by allowing gifts of land to independent citizens (Spartiates). This 4th Century rhetra allowed the Spartiatai to dispose of their private land at will rather than by conventional hereditary descent. This information is derived from a passage Plutarch's Life of Agis, who describes Epitadeus as headstrong and violent, and changing the rule as the result of a quarrel with his son. Epitadeus is mentioned by no other ancient sources, and may well be a fictional character employed to explain the decline in the alleged equality of Sparta.

Leonidas II

Leonidas II (; Ancient Greek: Λεωνίδας Β΄, Leōnídas B', "Lion's son, Lion-like"), was the 28th Agiad King of Sparta from 254 to 235 BC.

Mask of Agamemnon

The Mask of Agamemnon is a gold funeral mask discovered at the ancient Greek site of Mycenae. The mask, displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, has been described by Cathy Gere as the "Mona Lisa of prehistory".German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who discovered the artifact in 1876, believed that he had found the body of the Mycenaean king Agamemnon, leader of the Achaeans in Homer's epic of the Trojan War, the Iliad, but modern archaeological research suggests that the mask predates the period of the legendary Trojan War by about 300 years.

Møstings Hus

Møstings Hus (Møsting's House) is a small Neoclassical country house now used as an exhibition space in the Frederiksberg district of Copenhagen, Denmark. A pond lies in front of the building.

Paideia

In the culture of ancient Greece, the term paideia (also spelled paedeia) (; Greek: παιδεία, paideía) referred to the rearing and education of the ideal member of the polis. It incorporated both practical, subject-based schooling and a focus upon the socialization of individuals within the aristocratic order of the polis. The practical aspects of this education included subjects subsumed under the modern designation of the liberal arts (rhetoric, grammar, and philosophy are examples), as well as scientific disciplines like arithmetic and medicine. An ideal and successful member of the polis would possess intellectual, moral and physical refinement, so training in gymnastics and wrestling was valued for its effect on the body alongside the moral education which the Greeks believed was imparted by the study of music, poetry, and philosophy. This approach to the rearing of a well-rounded Greek male was common to the Greek-speaking world, with the exception of Sparta where a rigid and militaristic form of education known as the agoge was practiced.

Pasiphaë

In Greek mythology, Pasiphaë (; Greek: Πασιφάη Pasipháē, "wide-shining" derived from pas "all, for all, of all" and phaos "light") was a queen of Crete.

Skouzes family

The Skouzes family (Greek: οικογένεια Σκουζέ) was a leading family in Athens.

The Skouze family appeared in the 17th century, during the period of Ottoman rule over Greece. The first attested member of the family was Nikolaos Skouzes (1640–1710), who took part in the Morean War (1684–1699) on the Venetian side. His great-grandsons were Georgantas Skouzes (1776–1822), a member of the Filiki Etaireia and ephor of Athens during the initial stages of the Greek Revolution, and Panagis Skouzes (1777–1847), who became one of the greatest landowners before the Revolution and played an active role during the latter.

His nephew, Alexandros Skouzes (1853–1937), lawyer and diplomat, became a member of the Greek Parliament and served several terms as Foreign Minister of Greece. Another descendant of the family, Dimitrios Skouzes (1890–1972), was a writer and mayor of Athens for a short time in 1949.

Today, there are no male descendants of the family, but some landmarks are still named after them: Skouze Hill and Skouze Square, where the family had its residence and where a bust of Dimitrios Skouzes is displayed today.

Spartan Constitution

The Spartan Constitution, or Politeia, refers to the government and laws of the Dorian city-state of Sparta from the time of Lycurgus, the legendary law-giver, to the incorporation of Sparta into the Roman Republic: approximately the 9th century BC to the 2nd century BC. Every city-state of Greece had a politeia at all times of its sovereign life, including the preceding Achaean Sparta and the subsequent Roman Sparta. The politeia of Dorian Sparta, however, was noted by many classical authors for its unique features, which supported a rigidly layered social system and a strong military.

Sthenelaidas

Sthenelaidas (Gr. Σθενελαίδας) was a Spartan who held the office of ephor in 432 BC, and, in the congress of the Lacedaemonians and their allies at Sparta in that year, vehemently and successfully urged the assembly to declare war with Athens. The speech which Thucydides puts into his mouth on this occasion is strongly marked by the characteristics of Spartan eloquence: brevity and simplicity. He was the father of the Spartan general Alcamenes.

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