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(Greek, ekklesia: gathering of those summoned) In ancient Greece, the assembly of citizens in a city-state. The Athenian Ecclesia already existed in the 7th century; under Solon it consisted of all male citizens age 18 and older. It controlled policy, including the right to hear appeals in the public court, elect archons, and confer special privileges. After discussion, members voted by a show of hands; a simple majority determined the results. The body could not initiate new business, since motions had to originate in the boule. Ecclesias existed in most Greek city-states through Roman times, though their powers faded under the empire.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Ecclesia, visit Britannica.com.
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