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Pnyx 1

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Pnyx 1
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View looking southeast at the rock–cut platform, the bema, from which Athenian citizens and notables would address the assembled ecclesia.

The hill of Pnyx is located about 0.3 mi. [0.5 km.] west of the Acropolis.  It was here that the early assemblies of the Athenian democracy met.  This assembly, the ecclesia, met on the average once every nine days and discussed and voted on items brought to it by the town council, the boule.  Any citizen could speak to an issue and decisions were make by a vote of the majority present.  However, 6,000 citizens (all male) were needed for a quorum and sometimes it was necessary to scour the agora ( 440 yards [400 m.] to the northeast) in order to recruit citizens to secure the minimum needed for the quorum.

 

This area, exhibiting three building phases, was first used in the early fifth century B.C. and continued in use at least through the fourth century B.C.  At some point the ecclesia moved to the more convenient Theater of Dionysus (at the southern foot of the Acropolis).

 

This site is amazing, for a case can be made that this was the “birth place of democracy” - as famous Athenian leaders/orators such as Themistocles, Pericles, and Demosthenes addressed the assembly in this area!