Prytan (Greek πρύτανις prýtanis " head ", " first "; Aeoli πρότανις; . Plural πρυτάνεις prytaneis, " Prytanes " ) designated senior members of the government of a city ( polis ) in ancient Greece.

In many cities, such as in Corinth, there was a Prytanes as a single office, who exercised supreme authority for one year. He was there eponymous magistrates ( as in other cities archons or Damiourgen ).

In some cities were Prytanes members of a college, which exercised political leadership tasks. Best known are the Prytanes of Athens. In this city, which was initially divided into four tribes each with 12 Naukraria, have there been since the reign of the first Archon advice ( Bule ), which consisted of 48 so-called rulers of a ship's main team ( πρύτανις ναυκράρων ). After Cleisthenes reforms that occurred in Athens rushed 10 phyla, the 50 council members of a tribe officiated each for 35 or 36 days ( 1/10 of a year) as Prytanes before they were replaced by another tribe.

The seat of the Prytanes in Athens was the Leiton ( People's House ), which was later called prytaneion. Here was the sacred hearth State in honor of the goddess Hestia, had its fire the Prytanes always keep burning. Other objects of the Prytanes was the reception and entertainment of strangers and messengers of freemen and advice by acts of war.

More Prytanenkollegien, whose organization differed from that in Athens, there were about in Miletus, Rhodes and Samos.


  • Herodotus, Histories, 7, 197
  • Pausanias, traveling in Greece, 2, 4, 4
  • Strabo, Geographica, 424
  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, 2, 15