reated four classes which each had a set of rights and duties: they were, in order of decreasing wealth, the Pentacosiomedimni, Hippeis, Zeugitae, Thetes). These classes formed groups that eventually became the governmental bodies in a democracy. First of these bodies was the Ecclesia or Assembly, where all citizens, whatever their designation, were entitled to participate. The Ecclesia became the sovereign body, whose task it was to promulgate laws and decrees, elect officials, and hear appeals from the courts.
The second group was the Boule of 400, the council of citizens tasked to run the day-to-day affairs of the city and prepare the business of the Ecclesia. Only citizens from the upper three classes could qualify to be a member of the Boule, and membership was bestowed by election. Each citizen was entitled to serve for only one year, and may serve only twice in his lifetime. Every month, 50 men are chosen by the boule of 500 from among themselves to served in the prytany (the leaders of the Boule), and every day a new leader is chosen by the 50 from among themselves. Except for holidays, the Boule met every day.
Another group, the archons or magistrates was reserved for the two higher income groups, and they occupied the higher governmental post. The retired archons then comprised the Areopagus, who oversaw and called attention to any improper actions of the Ecclesia (Kurt A. Raaflaub, Josiah Ober, and Robert W. Wallace, Origins of democracy in ancient Greece, 2007). The laws eventually created by the Ecclesia eliminated slavery of Athenians by Athenians, established rules and procedures for legal redress against abusive archons, and determined political privilege based on productive wealth rather than noble birth.
This early democratic system was eventually adapted by the Romans. Many of the basic principles of rule by the people were adopted; Rome had its Senate which took the place of the Assembly, and its decimviri took the place of the boule.