Bouleuterion

PRIENE

Bouleuterion

Priene and the other Ionian cities consisted of two assembly system at their politic life; Boule and Demos. Boule was an advisory council with a fewer amount of members: called the Bouleutus. Demos was an assembly of citizens which constituted of all the people of Priene of which meetings were hold in the Ekklesiasterion or in the theatre.

Although at first the building was thought to be the Ekklesiasterion; later it was accepted as the Bouleuterion, since its capacity was only for 640 persons. The assembly of citizens meet once a year here and elected the administrators. On the other hand the Boule held the meetings and took the decisions regarding to the administration of the city here and it is the best preserved building in Priene. 

The edifice is situated behind the Sacred Stoa which is 20 meters wide and 201 meters long. It has 26 steps on the north side and 10 each on the west and east sides. The building is surrounded on three sides’ benches. The seats were on the east and west reached by the stairs.

The altar of the edifice is made of marble which is located in the exact center. It is decorated with ornamented busts of gods, bulls’ heads with wreaths and laurel leaves. It is understood that the altar is dated to ht 2nd century B.C.

On the south (front) side of the bouleuterion, there are two main doors. Between the doors a niche is situated which was believed to have been used as desk after the benches were added in front of it. Additionally the building has two more doors on the north and west. Through these doors people could go out into the Athena Street and the side street. Latecomers could enter the hall silently by these secondary doors. On the other hand there is no proof that the edifice had windows. So it is assumed that the lightning was provided by the south side which was open to the sky.