In the Athenian Democracy authority was wielded by the citizenry. Political rights were granted by descent, and allowed citizens to participate in the various political bodies and organs of governance. Citizens were grouped into 10 tribes and distributed in 139 local deme.
The Ekklesia, that is the assembly of the people, was usually held on the Pnyx. Every citizen was eligible to participate. It was responsible for every matter concerning the city, and reached decisions by the rule of majority.
The Council of the Five Hundred supervised daily affairs and was responsible for summoning the Ekklesia. 50 contingents from each tribe were appointed by lot as councilors for an annual tenure.
The Council of the Aeropagos, which got its name from the place where it met, the Hill of Ares (Areios pagos), was responsible for safekeeping the laws, and judging cases of felonious homicide between Athenian citizens. Membership was lifelong and it was granted exclusively to former archons after the conclusion of their annual tenure.
The Court of Heliaia consisted of 6000 citizens over the age of 30, who were picked as jurors by lot every year. Another selection by lot appointed the number of jurors needed on each particular day. The number of the jurors that manned every day courts varied from 201 to 2501 members.
Responsibility over the various matters of the city was held by the hundreds of superior or inferior magistrates for an annual tenure. The most important were the nine magistrates and the ten military commanders (strategoi). The nine were selected by lot for an annual tenure, which was non-repeatable. The tenure of the strategoi was annual, but appointment to the office was not made by lot, but by election; they could also be reelected as many times as possible. The Ekklesia appointed them to rule the army, and administer other important matters of the city.