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The Prytaneion of Ephesus

A Prytaneion ( Greek  πρυτανεῖον ) was the seat of the Prytans ( πρυτάνεις prytaneis ), who ran the business of government in many cities ( Poleis ) in ancient Greece . The Prytanen were the leading representatives of the Bule (council assembly). The Prytaneion stood in the center of the city, mostly near the agora . In the Prytaneion burned the sacred fire of Hestia , the goddess of the domestic hearth . Since no uniform building typology has been developed for Prytaneia, it is usually difficult to identify them.

The feeding in the Prytaneion was granted for special merits and, according to today's ideas, corresponds to the award of an honorary citizen.


The Prytaneion of Panticapaeum, II bc

On the southwest side of the Agora of Athens stood the Tholos , a round temple that served as the seat of the Prytans. It was probably made between 470 and 460 BC. Built on the ruins of an older building dating from 480 BC. BC was destroyed by the Persians and could also have served as Prytaneion.

After the reforms of Kleisthenes, the Prytans of Athens were formed alternately for 35 or 36 days by the 50 councilors of a phyle , a third of whom had to be present day and night. They slept in the Tholos and were also fed here.

The Tholos was founded in 86 BC. Destroyed by Sulla and rebuilt under Augustus . The building was used until around 450 AD.


  • Stephen G. Miller: The Prytaneion. Its Function and Architectural Form . University Press, Berkeley, Calif. 1978, ISBN 0-520-03316-7 .
  • Martin Steskal: The Prytaneion of Ephesus (research in Ephesos 9/4) Vienna 2010