What Was the Leader Called in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, the leader was called by different names depending on the city-state. The leader of Athens was called the “Archon,” while in Sparta, they were known as the “Ephors.” Let’s take a closer look at these titles and their roles.

The Archon of Athens

The Archon was one of nine magistrates who held power in Athens. They were elected by citizens and served for one year. The Archon had several responsibilities, including overseeing religious festivals, maintaining public order, and serving as a judge in some cases.

The Different Types of Archons

There were three types of Archons: the Eponymous Archon, the Polemarch, and the Basileus.

The Eponymous Archon was considered the most important because they gave their name to the year in which they served. They were responsible for organizing religious ceremonies and festivals.

The Polemarch was responsible for military affairs and commanded the army during times of war.

The Basileus was responsible for religious matters and oversaw the worship of Demeter and Persephone.

The Ephors of Sparta

The Ephors were a group of five officials who held power in Sparta. They were elected annually by citizens over the age of thirty. The Ephors had significant authority in Spartan society, with powers similar to that of a modern-day prime minister or president.

The Role of the Ephors

The Ephors had several roles, including overseeing education, maintaining public order, and serving as judges. They also had control over foreign policy decisions and could even call out Spartan kings if necessary.


In Ancient Greece, leaders held various titles depending on their city-state. The Archon in Athens oversaw religious festivals and maintained public order while serving as a judge.

The Ephors in Sparta held significant power and oversaw education, foreign policy decisions, and the Spartan kings. Understanding the roles of these leaders is crucial to understanding Ancient Greek society as a whole.