Ephor

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Ephor

 

a member of a collegium of supreme officials in Sparta, in ancient Greece. Five ephors were elected annually by the assembly of citizens.

The collegium of ephors was established in the mid-eighth century B.C The ephors convened and presided over meetings of the Gerousia (council of elders) and the Apella (popular assembly); they managed the state treasury, announced troop call-ups, appointed military commanders, and handled legal matters. The ephors supervised the activities of the kings and officials; they also watched over the behavior of citizens and of the dependent population—the Perioeci and the Helots. The ephors were the bulwark of the oligarchic regime that existed in Sparta.