Ephor

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.