The highest officer of the confederacy was the general (oTparnyos), who was assisted by a treasurer (raµias), while the chief magistrates of the several communities bore the title of ephors (g 4 opoc).
Together with the kings and ephors it formed the supreme executive committee of the state, and it exercised also a considerable criminal and political jurisdiction, including the trial of kings; its competence extended to the infliction of a sentence of exile or even of death.
4 The superintendents (variously entitled also archpriests, deans, provosts, ephors) of the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church, as established in the several states of Germany and in Austria, are not bishops in any canonical sense, though their jurisdictions are known as dioceses and they exercise many episcopal functions.
But Lysander's boundless influence and ambition, and the superhuman honours paid him, roused the jealousy of the kings and the ephors, and, on being accused by the Persian satrap Pharnabazus, he was recalled to Sparta.
The restored fugitives selected five "ephors," including Critias, to organize a revolution, while the radicals.
The presiding officers were at first the kings, but in historical times the ephors, and the voting was conducted by shouts; if the president was doubtful as to the majority of voices, a division was taken and the votes were counted.
In later times, too, the actual debate was almost, if not wholly, confined to the kings, elders, ephors and perhaps the other magistrates.
The apella voted on peace and war, treaties and foreign policy in general: it decided which of the kings should conduct a campaign and settled questions of disputed succession to the throne: it elected elders, ephors and other magistrates, emancipated helots and perhaps voted on legal proposals.
Aristotle says that the ephors of each year on entering office declared war on the helots so that they might be put to death at any time without violating religious scruple (Plutarch, Lycurgus 28), and we have a well-attested record of 2000 helots being freed for service in war and then secretly assassinated (Thuc. iv.
The war party in Sparta regained its strength under new ephors and negotiations began for an alliance between Sparta, Argos and Boeotia.
9.22), 7) vavapxla oxeSew 4ripa (3aotXda KaOEUT11KEP. He was subject only to the ephors, who, if he proved incompetent, could depose him (Thuc. viii.
There is no evidence for the theory that originally the ephors were market inspectors; they seem rather to have had from the outset judicial or police functions.
Restored the royal power by murdering four of the ephors and abolishing the office, and though it was revived by Antigonus Doson after the battle of Sellasia, and existed at least down to Hadrian's reign (Sparta Museum Catalogue, Introd.
In historical times the ephors were five in number, the first of them giving his name to the year, like the eponymous archon at Athens.
The ephors were elected annually, originally no doubt by the kings, later by the people; their term of office began with the new moon after the autumnal equinox, and they had an official residence (Oop€Iov) in the Agora.
The ephors summoned and presided over meetings of the Gerousia and Apella, and formed the executive committee responsible for carrying out decrees.
There was a monthly exchange of oaths, the kings swearing to rule according to the laws, the ephors undertaking on this condition to maintain the royal authority (Xen.
The ephors, again, exercised a general guardianship of law and custom and superintended the training of the young.
Finally, the ephors were supreme in questions of foreign policy.
They possessed personal freedom and some measure of communal independence, but were apparently under the immediate supervision of Spartan harmosts (governors) and subject to the general control of the ephors, though Isocrates is probably going too far in saying (xii.
181) that the ephors might put to death without trial as many of the perioeci as they pleased.
After twice defeating the forces of the Achaean League in Arcadia, near Mount Lycaeum and at Leuctra,he strengthened his position by assassinating four of the ephors, abolishing the ephorate, which had usurped the supreme power, and banishing some eighty of the leading oligarchs.
The institution was under the supervision of the ephors, who, on entering office, annually proclaimed war against the helots (serf-class) and thus absolved from the guilt of murder any Spartan who should slay a helot.
It was instituted primarily as a precaution against the ever-present danger of a helot revolt, and secondarily perhaps as a training for young Spartans, who were sent out by the ephors to keep watch on the helots and assassinate any who might appear dangerous.
Subsequently appointed by the ephors to settle the political dissensions then rife at Byzantium and to protect the city and the neighbouring Greek colonies from Thracian attacks, he made himself tyrant of Byzantium, and, when declared an outlaw and driven thence by a Spartan force, he fled to Cyrus.
Their judicial functions had at the time when Herodotus wrote (about 430 B.C.) been restricted to cases dealing with heiresses, adoptions and the public roads: civil cases were decided by the ephors, criminal jurisdiction had passed to the council of elders and the ephors.
Here also, however, the royal prerogatives were curtailed in course of time: from the period of the Persian wars the king lost the right of declaring war on whom he pleased, he was accompanied to the field by two ephors, and he was supplanted also by the ephors in the control of foreign policy.
More and more, as time went on, the kings became mere figure-heads, except in their capacity as generals, and the real power was transferred to the ephors and to the gerousia.
The reason for this change lay partly in the fact that the ephors, chosen by popular election from the whole body of citizens, represented a democratic element in the constitution without violating those oligarchical methods which seemed necessary for its satisfactory administration; partly in the weakness of the kingship, the dual character of which inevitably gave rise to jealousy and discord between the two holders of the office, often resulting in a practical deadlock; partly in the loss of prestige suffered by the kingship, especially during the 5th century, owing to these quarrels, to the frequency with which kings ascended the throne as minors and a regency was necessary, and to the many cases in which a king was, rightly or wrongly, suspected of having accepted bribes from the enemies of the state and was condemned and banished.
The same reign saw also an important constitutional change, the substitution of a board of patronomi for the ephors, whose power had become almost despotic, and the curtailment of the functions exercised by the gerousia; these measures were, however, cancelled by Antigonus.