Arrian spent a considerable portion of his time at Athens, where he was archon 147-148.
The aristocratic council of the Areopagus constituted the chief criminal court, and nominated the magistrates, among whom the chief archon passed judgment in family suits, controlled admission to the genos or clan, and consequently the acquisition of the franchise.
It is equally clear that owing to the predominating importance of civil affairs, the archon became the chief state official and gave his name to the year (hence archon eponymus).
There are some resemblances to the Valentinian system, but whereas the great Archon sins in ignorance, Ialdabaoth sins against knowledge; there is also less of Greek philosophy in the Ophite system.
Traditionally, the monarchy after the death of Codrus (?1068 B.C.) gave place to the life archon whose tenure of office was limited afterwards to ten years and then to one year.
On entering upon office the archon (archon eponymus) made proclamation by his herald that he would not interfere with private property.
Chief archon for the ensuing year (489-488).
In 107 Hadrian was legatus praetorius of lower Pannonia, in 108 consul suffectus, in 112 archon at Athens, legatus in the Parthian campaign (113117), in 117 consul designatus for the following year, in 119 consul for the third and last time only for four months.
Furthermore it is not till 457 that even a Zeugite archon is known, according to the Constitution of Athens (c. 26), which dates the change as five years after the death of Ephialtes and does not connect it with Aristides.
Latterly it appears to have become aristocratic, and most of the power was concentrated in the hands of the first archon or Proteuon, who in time was superseded by the strategus sent out from Byzantium.