What Did the Council Do in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, the council was an essential part of the government. The council was known as the Boule and was made up of 500 citizens who were selected by lot for one-year terms. The Boule was responsible for a range of duties that helped to keep the city-state running smoothly.

The Role of the Boule in Ancient Greece

The Boule played a crucial role in Ancient Greek politics. They were responsible for proposing laws and policies that would benefit the city-state. They also oversaw the work of other government officials, ensuring that they were carrying out their duties effectively.

One of the most important functions of the Boule was to prepare the agenda for meetings of the Assembly. The Assembly was made up of all male citizens over the age of 18 and would meet regularly to discuss issues facing the city-state.

The Boule also had a role in overseeing finances. They managed public funds and ensured that taxes were collected fairly and efficiently. They also oversaw public works projects such as building roads, bridges, and public buildings.

The Members of the Boule

As mentioned earlier, members of the Boule were selected by lot. This meant that every citizen had an equal chance of being selected to serve on the council. The selection process took place annually, and any citizen over 30 years old could be chosen.

Being a member of the Boule was considered an honor in Ancient Greece, as it allowed citizens to have a direct impact on their city-state’s governance. Members were paid for their services and received various privileges such as front-row seats at public events.

The Legacy of Ancient Greek Councils

The concept of councils has endured throughout history, with many modern governments utilizing similar structures to those used in Ancient Greece. For example, many local governments have councils made up of elected officials who oversee local affairs.

Additionally, many modern-day companies and organizations have councils or boards that oversee their operations, much like the Boule did in Ancient Greece.


The council, or Boule, played a vital role in Ancient Greek society. They were responsible for proposing laws and policies, overseeing the work of other government officials, managing finances, and preparing agendas for meetings of the Assembly. The concept of councils has endured throughout history and is still used today in many modern governments and organizations.