One of the 9 Archon
s of Athens
and the third most important of them. The meaning of the word basileus
, and indeed the Archon Basileus retained the traditional and ceremonial roles of the king.
The Archon Basileus supervised over the religious affairs of the Athenian polis, including the Panathenaia, the mysteries of Eleusis (though the actual management of the mysteries was held by several of the aristocratic families of the city, officially they were subjected to the Archon Basileus' authority), and the Dionysia.
The Archon Basileus also supervised over all courts that had anything to do with religion including desecration of temples, murders (murders were considered religious offonces as the Greeks believed that they made the entire polis unholy), and blasphemy, and usually he sat in court and managed the court sessions.
During the annual Dionysia the Archon Basileus was believed to be the actual embodiment of the god Dionysus, and in a grand ceremony consumated with his wife, the Basilea, as the embodiment of the polis of Athens, thus symbolizing the ties between the polis and the god.