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Random information on the term “SPARTA”:
This article is part of the series:Spartan Constitution
The ephors were leaders of ancient Sparta, and its colonies of Taras and Heraclea, and shared power with the two Spartan kings. The ephors were a council of five elected annually who swore “on behalf of the city” while the kings swore for themselves.
Herodotus claimed that the institution was created by Lycurgus, while Plutarch considers it a later institution. It may have arisen from the need for governors while the kings were leading armies in battle. The ephors were elected by the popular assembly, and all citizens were eligible. They were forbidden to be re-elected and provided a balance for the two kings, who rarely co-operated. Plato called the ephors tyrants who ran Sparta as despots while the kings were little more than generals. Up to two ephors would accompany a king on extended military campaigns as a sign of control, and they held the authority to declare war during some periods in Spartan history. There were a total of seven ephors, consisting of the two kings and the five who were elected.