Apella (Greek: Ἀπέλλα): people's assembly in Sparta, of which the homoioi could vote.
According to the Greek biographer/philosopher Plutarch, the monthly assembly of the Spartan men - free-born, more than thirty years old - had been instituted by Lycurgus, the legendary legislator of the unusual polis of the Spartans. Acting upon& an oracle from Delphi, he called it Apella because appellazein meant "to assemble" and contained a reference to the god Apollo.note[Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus .6.2.] The Apella gatherdd on a river plain and not in a decorated building, because, according to Plutarch, Lycurgus believed that
good counsel was not promoted, but rather discouraged, since the serious purposes of an assembly were rendered foolish and futile by vain thoughts, as they gazed upon statues and paintings, or scenic embellishments, or extravagantly decorated roofs of council halls.note[Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus .6.3.]
The assembly was not permitted to make a motion; instead, a motion was laid before them by the gerousia (council of elders) or the kings and could be accepted or rejected by shouting.note[Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus .6.3.] From the sixth century BCE, the ephors had the right to convene the assembly.
Its members were allowed to vote about
- the legitimate succession of kings;
- military commands;
- war, peace, and treaties.
- legislative changes;
The apella also elected the ephors, other magistrates, and members of the gerousia.