The Prytaneis (Executive Committee)
The senators administered their meetings themselves. Each tribal contingent in the Boule served in rotation for a period of 35 or 36 days as the Prytaneis, or Executive Committee. During their time in office, the Prytaneis were responsible for day-to-day administration, the schedule, order of business and the like. The Prytaneis had their headquarters in the Tholos, a large round building which lay just adjacent to the Bouleuterion.
During their term of office they were fed at public expense, and the Tholos served also as their dining hall. The meals were probably fairly modest in the beginning: cheese, barley cakes, olives, leeks, and wine, although by the late 5th century the menu also included fish and meat.
Some of the tableware used at these public meals has been recovered from the vicinity of the building. The simple black-glaze cups, bowls, and pitchers have a ligature scratched or painted on them: ΔΕ for demosion (public property), presumably so that the senators would not inadvertently walk off with the official crockery.
It is clear from written sources that the Tholos was used as a dining hall, but it is difficult to find a suitable arrangement for its furniture. Greeks usually ate reclining on couches, but there is no good arrangement whereby fifty couches can be made to fit into the building. It may be that in this instance the senators ate sitting up, on a bench around the inner face of the wall.
In addition to dining in the Tholos, at least one third of the Prytaneis were expected to be on duty in the building at all times, so at least seventeen senators actually slept there at night. Thus, if some emergency arose either within the city or as a result of news from abroad, there were senators available at all times, ready to deal with it. The Tholos therefore in a sense represents the heart of the Athenian democracy, where common citizens were always on duty.