Ancient Greek Government Analysis

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Ancient Greece had been through with thousands of poleis (city states) existing at the same time. Together with the existence of these poleis were different systems of governments being set up. In particular, there were five main types of government dominantly appeared during the history of ancient Greek, including monarchy, aristocracy, tyranny, oligarchy and democracy. Each type of government mentioned here was substituted by one another during the course of ancient Greek’s development. So, the question is, what is the difference among all?
From the governance perspective, these types of government were different in nature of ruling method and composition of rulers. Monarchy is typically a government singly run by king or queen (Moulton,
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The word tyranny came from the original word tyrannos, borrowed from the Lydian language, to refer to an absolute rule who had taken the power illegally (Marshall Cavendish, 2011, p. 64). These tyrants who led the tyranny governing style were mostly the middle-class who had been upset with the aristocrats and made uprising against them to gain power. Due to that fact, tyrants were considered to steal the ruling power illegally. Especially, “One result of the phenomenon of tyranny was that by undermining the position of the aristocracy, it paved the way for democracy” (Marshall Cavendish, p. 65). So, the question is, how did democracy in ancient Greek look like? Beck (p. 147) explained that democracy can stand for a constitution which is opposed to tyranny, or in the sense of modern scholarship, “a constitution which is based on a very high degree of popular participation”. Rabb and Suleiman, in their research, mentioned that democracy means “a political constitution based on rules that confer the power to take collective decisions to a (more or less) large number of the members of the group and respect basic liberal rights” (Rabb & Suleiman, 2003, p.23). Therefore, it can be understood that democracy is a government ruled collectively by the citizens, in this sense, those who are empowered with the rights to citizens in the city…show more content…
According to Moulton (p. 55), monarchy was very common in Greece between 16th to 11th centuries B.C. which were called shortly the Mycenaean age. Subsequently, monarchies were mostly overthrown by oligarchy and aristocracy. Oligarchy and aristocracy replaced monarchy to become dominant choice in many poleis during the time before 500s B.C. (Moulton, p. 78). Tyranny started to rise during the seventh and sixth centuries B.C, which was called the Archaic period, in relating to “much social unrest in the burgeoning city-states of Greece” (Marshall Cavendish, p. 64). One of the first tyrants was Cypselus who drove out the ruling aristocracy in 657 B.C and tyranny started to become the most common form of government in the Greek world in the next 150 years. Finally, democracy started to replace tyranny and flourished during the age of Cleisthenes starting from 510 B.C and came to its pinnacle under the leadership of Pericles, who lived from around 495 to 429 B.C)
In conclusion, ancient Greek had seen the rise and fall of thousands of city-states, and also many different forms of government including monarchy, oligarchy, aristocracy, tyranny and democracy. Even though these types of governments were different in nature, and were subsequently changed by the others, they remained great inspirations to the development of global political world until today, especially

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