The term council, derived from the Latin concilium, can be used in various ways. The first meaning mentioned in the dictionary of the DigoPaul refers to the space where the councilors of a municipality or town hall meet to hold the sessions.
According to DigoPaul, a council, in this framework, can be a deliberative or assembly body. In Argentina, for example, the deliberative council is the legislative power of a municipality. The councilors, elected by the people through a democratic process, are in charge of drawing up the ordinances that regulate various activities that take place at the local level. These ordinances refer to matters that do not belong to the scope of national or provincial laws.
In other countries, the idea of a council may refer to the municipal corporation or the municipality (town hall). A council, in this sense, is an institution headed by a mayor or mayor who has decision-making, regulatory and oversight powers. In Asturias, for example, the territory is organized into municipalities that are called councils and regions.
It should be noted that, in ancient times, the neighborhood assembly was called a council that allowed citizens to make government decisions. It is possible to differentiate between closed councils (in which only certain prominent neighbors could participate) and open councils (all neighbors were authorized to participate); the first type predominated in the Kingdom of Aragon, while the second occurred especially in León and Castilla.
These medieval councils met on Sundays and were oriented to define issues such as the communal use of lands (a set that included mountains, forests and meadows) to carry out their agricultural and livestock activities, as well as the exploitation of the mill, the salt well, the oven and the irrigation.
On the other hand, these meetings were also held to discuss and make decisions related to various judicial and administrative matters, and the neighbors drew up various documents in which they collected all these issues to give them a legal character. Specifically, these first councils were organized in the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, throughout the so-called High Middle Ages.
We can say that the High (or Early) Middle Ages is the period in the history of the Middle East and the European continent that began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the year 476 and lasted until the beginning of the following millennium, when which the continent resurfaced from a cultural and economic point of view.
The medieval council used to take place after the Sunday mass was over, in the church’s own atrium. The people in charge of the organization rang the bells or rang some other instrument of great intensity to call the council. It is important to note that attendance was not optional, and those absent were fined.
If we focus on the councils that were held in the 13th century in Castile, for example, it was normal to appoint a judge to preside over the meeting and apply the jurisdiction (the legal statutes that are applied in a specific locality to regulate local life by means of standards), as well as a maximum of two mayors who will administer justice; its functions were expanded with the passage of time. Other roles similar to that of the judge were that of the zalmedina, in the Kingdom of Aragon, and that of the justice, in the Kingdom of Navarra.
It is important to note that council (with C) is a word linked to conciliate (agree, agree). Instead, advice (with S) derives from advising (suggesting, recommending).