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The Bule (/ buːˈlɛː /, ancient Greek βουλή , transcribed as boulḗ or bulḗ ) was the council meeting in the cities ( poleis ) of ancient Greece . It was ordered in different ways and usually met in a public building called a bouleuterion by the agora .


The council in Athens was particularly important . As early as the royal time of Athens there was an advisory assembly, the members of which were exclusively nobles . 594 BC BC Solon carried out his famous reforms , which stood at the beginning of the development towards Attic democracy and as a result of which the Bule was transformed into a council of the four hundred . The council was made up of 100 redeemed councilors from each of the four phyls . They originally deliberated the popular assembly ( Ekklesia ).

Kleisthenes of Athens increased the membership to 500 ( Council of 500 ) and made membership available to every innocent citizen . With the reforms of Kleisthenes, the Bule gradually took over the political functions of the Areopagus , including negotiations on impeachments, responsibility for the fleet and the budget.

Other cities

There were councils in other Greek cities as well, mostly alongside a popular assembly, as in Athens. Depending on how far the constitution was influenced by Attic democracy, membership lasted for a certain period of time or for life. During the Roman Empire, the council was mostly supplemented by former magistrates based on the oligarchic principle.

The council was not called Bule everywhere. So there was also a gerusie in many cities (for example: "Council of Elders"); in Sparta the Gerusia was the only council.


  • Peter J. Rhodes: The Athenian Boule . 2nd edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1985, ISBN 0-19-814291-9 .

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