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Ancient History Assignment What was the role and the authority of the ephors in the Spartiate Constitution In ancient Sparta the office of ephor was both the most interesting and the most obscure of the offices under the Spartan constitution It seems that the ephors became more important and gained more and more political power as the history of Sparta proceeded According to tradition the order was established at the time of the first Spartan war to help the kings of Sparta to carry out their main duties Messenia 736-716 BC which necessitated the protracted absence from their country of the two reigning kings of Sparta Alcamenes and Theopompus But by the time first Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC the kings had lost much of their power and it is certain that the ephorate had gained a great deal of what the kings had lost At its peak of authority the board of ephors was the organ of citizen control over the dual kingship of Sparta There were five ephors elected each year by the full Assembly of Equals This annually elected board functioned until it was destroyed in the 3rd century BC by the Spartan kings Agis IV reigned 244-241 BC and Cleomenes III reigned 235-222 BC Later it was revived and lasted until AD 200 Anybody who was a Spartan Equal and over thirty years old was eligible to stand for election Their relation to the two Spartiate kings was curious The kings were recognised as the only authorised military commanders but the ephors had full discretion in levying troops During campaigns they had no voice in command but they might bring the royal leaders to trial for alleged errors in conducting war The ephors cast the deciding voice when the kings disagreed Their decisions were the result of a simple majority vote The responsibilities of the ephorate included giving foreign ambassadors permission
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