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Deliberative council in the city-states of ancient Greece. It existed in almost all constitutional city-states, especially from the late 6th century BC. In Athens the boule was created as an aristocratic body by Solon in 594 BC; later, under Cleisthenes, 500 members were elected to represent the 10 tribes (50 each). A certain number, in rough proportion to size, were allotted to each deme. Complementing the work of the ecclesia and areopagus, the boule controlled finances, managed the fleet and cavalry, evaluated officials, received foreign ambassadors, and advised the strategus. The boule model largely influenced the organization of councils of other cities in the Hellenic period.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on boule, visit Britannica.com.