The gerousia was the council of elders in Greek cities. The most famous gerousia was that at Sparta. At Sparta the gerousia consisted of thiry people: the two kings, and 28 men over sixty. Appointemt was for life, and the election process involved clapping for the candidates that were most liked. Among its primary functions were the discussion of which issues should be brought before the Spartan assembly. It application in matters of foreign policy is debated. It was responsible for trial in important criminal cases, although possibly not royal ones. It was also involved in the supervision of laws and customs.

Over the course of its lifetime, in both Hellenistic and Roman times it underwent changes. Its size was reduced to 23, the term became annual, and the minimum age was reduced to 40.

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