The Bouleuterion

The Bouleuterion in ​​the upper agora area of ancient Akragas

On the northern slope of Poggio San Nicola a site excavation conducted in the 80s has brought to light the bouleuterion, a public building linked to the meetings of the boule – the assembly of representative magistrates – elected by the people – who had purely legislative functions.

In the classical age, access to the boule could take place through regular elections, but it could happen, as in the case of Clisthenes’ Athens, that someone couldm gain access to this prestigious post through a draw among all free citizens with political rights who had passed the thirtieth year. The boule had the legislative function while to the ekklesia* was reserved the task of evaluating, also making proposals for changes, what had been decided.

The construction of the bouleuterion of Akragas has been dated by archaeologists, through a stratigraphic reading of the monument, to the 6th century BC With its powerful walls on a large terrace, this building must have had six rows of . The front row, placed in the center, was the proedria (prestigious seats with backs and armrests) for the most important authorities. The rectangular-based ambulacrum was 21.50 x 12.50 m and is still partly visible. Most likely the structure had a cover supported by four columns. In Roman times it lost its function as a public building and was embellished with marble and mosaics to become an odeon (a building for musical events).

Text © Copyright Corrado Capraro