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December 11, 2007

Bouleuterion

A bouleuterion was a building which housed the council of citizens (boule) in Ancient Greece. There are several extant remains of Bouleuterions around Greece and former Greek territories of ancient times.

Etymology

The boule, a basic institution of the ancient city-state in historical times, consisted of the citizens' representatives who assembled in order to confer and decide about public affairs. The word Bouleuterion is composed from Greek 'boule' (council) and the suffix -terion (place for doing something).

Olympia

The Bouleuterion at Olympia, Greece, is the building where the administration took place. It is shaped as early Greek temples were shaped in a kind of square horse-shoe and it has tiered seating arrangement.

Athens

The Boule, better known as the council of 500, was the city council of ancient Athens. The Bouleuterion therefore is the building the council speaks in. It was located in the Ancient Agora of Athens.

Akrai, Sicily

Bouleuterion ruins in Akrai
Bouleuterion ruins in Akrai

Rectangular building which lies near the Palazzolo Acreide town theater. Its foundation dates back to the second half of the 2nd century BC.

The auditorium comprised three rows of stone seats, amphitheatrically arrayed and divided into three tiers accommodating 100 persons. Through an underground passage, the auditorium was connected to the adjacent Theatre where the "Ekklesia of demos", the citizens assembly gathered. The architectural connection of the two edifices and their location close to the Agora, suggest their identification as the administrative centre of the city. The plan of the Bouleuterion closely follows the pattern of the Bouleuterion at Miletus.

Remains of the rows of seats, the foundation and parts of the interior walls are still visible today.

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