Five Forms Of Government In Ancient Greece

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Introduction

The city-states of Athens and Greece were ruled by a diverse range of governments. Under these were the monarchy, the aristocracy, the tyranny, the oligarchy and the democracy. In this paper we will compare and contrast these 5 forms of governments in ancient Greek city-states.

The Monarchy

A monarchy is a type of government most recognizable by the fact that power rests in the hands of one person. Usually in the past, monarchies have been ruled by kings, together with his advisors.

The word monarchy is derived from the Greek terms monos (meaning single or alone) and arkhein (meaning to rule). Former kingdoms that operated under a monarchy were the Mycenaeans. They ruled Greece from 2000 to 1100 B.C.E.

Under a monarchy,
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The word tyranny comes from the Greek word tyrannos (meaning usurper with supreme power).

In Greece tyrannies arose around mid 600 B.C.E. Tyrannies came into being because the ruling oligarchs refused the up and coming wealthy men, a say in government issues.

As a result former military leaders responded to the demands of the people, and promised to bring a change. These individuals would seize power with the backing of the
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The Oligarchy

Oligarchy is defined as the type of government where the rule of the government is in the hands of a few. The word comes from the Greek terms oligos (meaning a few) and arkhein (meaning to rule).

Around 1100-800 B.C.E, a small group of people started to share power and rule in a couple of Greek city-states.

This power was mostly shared amongst the aristocrats, who had a lot of wealth inherited from family. As time moved on, even this type of arrangement changed into a type of system where power vested in the hands of a few selected wealthy people.

Some of the members of this group were aristocrats, while others were wealthy men. Just like the monarchs, the oligarchs lived in opulence and would enforce rule through military support.

Over time oligarchy as a rule started to disappear. In Corinth for instance, the people overthrew the oligarchy because of their harsh rule. Only in one state was there a stable oligarchic rule, Sparta.

The Democracy

The democracy is the type of rule where power is in the hands of the people. The word democracy comes from the Greek terms demos (meaning people) and kratos (meaning
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