==Evolution of the Office== The history of the democratization of the archonship is beset with equal difficulty.
Although the institution of the popular courts by Solon had within it the germ of democratic supremacy, it is clear that the immediate result was small; thus, in the next decade anarchia was continuous and Damasias held the archonship for more than two years in defiance of the new constitution; the prolonged dissension in this matter shows that the office of archon still retained its supreme importance.
Gradually, however, the archonship lost its power, especially in judicial matters, until it retained merely the right of holding the preliminary investigation and the formal direction of the popular courts.
We know that Peisistratus ruled by controlling the archonship, which was always held by members of his family, and the archonship of Isagoras was clearly an important party victory; we know further the names of three important men who held the office between Cleisthenes' reform and the Persian War (Hipparchus, Themistocles, Aristides) from which we infer that the office was still the prize of party competition.
There can, on these assumptions, be no doubt that, from the early years of the 5th century B.C., the archonship was of practically no importance.