Bouleuterion

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Description

Each year 500 citizens (50 from each tribe) were drawn by lot to form the Boule charged with the daily management of the city. During their time of duty, the members of this council could not be mobilized and had places of honour at the theatre. They gathered at sunrise at the Bouleuterion. The building was also used to store archives.

The so called "Old Bouleuterion" was built around 500 BC on the west side of the Agora. In 480 BC, the Persians captured the city and destroyed most of its buildings. However, the Athenians managed to repair the Bouleuterion and it continued to be in use until around 415 BC.

The building measured about 22.9 m wide by 22.5 m deep. It rested on a foundation of Akropolis limestone in the polygonal style. It probably had tiers of wood benches on its north, west and east sides.

An archaic temple dedicated to the Mother of the Gods stood near the Bouleuterion until 480 BC when it was destroyed by the Persian invaders. When the Athenians returned to their city, they housed the cult image of the Mother of the Gods, a statue attributed to Pheidias or Agorakritos, in the Bouleuterion.

Later Features

The "New Bouleuterion" was probably built after our period of reference (421 BC) towards the end of the 5th century BC.

The Ionic Propylon giving access to the Old Bouleuterion as well as to the New Bouleuterion was built around 300 BC.

References

American School of Classical Studies at Athens; The Athenian Agora: A Guide to the Excavation and Museum, 1990

Connolly, Peter and Hazel Dodge; The Ancient City - Life in Classical Athens & Rome, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998

Davis, W. S.; A Day in Old Athens, 1910

Flacelière, Robert, La vie quotidienne en Grèce au siècle de Périclès, Hachette, 1959

Martin, Jacques; Les voyages d'Alix - Athènes, Casterman, 2001

Travlos, John, Pictorial dictionary of Ancient Athens, Books that matter, New York, 1971, p. 191

To Do

  1. Try to find out what the statue of Rhea looked like (the museum of the agora is supposed to have a miniature copy of the Roman period)
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