Aristocracy, Tyranny, Monarchy: Different Models of Governments in Ancient Greece

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Ancient Greece is a clear example of different types of government, these being monarchy, aristocracy, tyranny, oligarchy, or democracy. We are aware a couple city-states had changes in government throughout the years. For example, Athens was an oligarchy before revolutionizing themselves into becoming a democracy. In the past, there were many forms of politics, monarchy being one of the most common of them all. Nowadays we live in a world were democracy is a very popular concept, still, we are surrounded by many different government styles. In the following essay I will reference all the different governing styles Ancient Greece encountered.

Monarchy was a power which give only one person the right to govern a territory. Corinth is a clear example of a Greek city-state govern by a king. In a monarchy, the king acted as a judge and created their own laws. He also was the one leading the army, conducted religious ceremonies, and punished people if he felt he had to. In conclusion, a monarchy only depended on one solely person to maintain a territory (i-Tang Gwendolyn Chen, 2018). Meanwhile, in an aristocracy, there was also a king; but instead of being the king who only governed, a group of wealthy people were the ones who had the most power. In an aristocracy, these group of wealthy people were the ones who advised the king on what decision to make. Before Athenians adventure themselves into oligarchy and democracy, they were an aristocracy(i-Tang Gwendolyn Chen, 2018). Athenian citizens got tired of the idea that only the rich were the ones taking decisions, therefore, they ended this type of government.

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Now, I will talk about democracy. Athens democratic institution’s main goal was to give its citizens direct participation alongside important political power (See U in History / Mythology, 2017). All citizens in Athens, being poor or rich, elected their representatives by voting. Any citizen was able to act as a politician and convince the people why he should be voted for. This gave Athenian citizens the power to create, choose, respond, and eradicate different laws and their own problems. Citizens were taking decisions for themselves, this way, choices could become more fairly for the overall people

Sparta was an oligarchy which means it was ruled by a few smart people who practically made all the decisions for the polis. The most respected and important government group was called Ephors, this group consisted of five men who were elected every year based on their ability to rule (Digital Diogenes, 2016). Sparta having an Oligarchy, depended only on a couple people who made decisions for the whole city-state; this might have led rich people to become richer and poor people to become poorer.

And lastly, a tyranny; in this type of government, one person takes the power by force. A tyrant is described as a person who is given power by the people they are governing, also, it was very common to see the beginning of a tyranny being beneficial to its citizens (i-Tang Gwendolyn Chen, 2018). But because a tyrant is given so much power and freedom, they could also take advantage of it in a bad way. In a tyranny, the tyrant has no limits and they couldn’t inherit power; a great synonym for a tyrant is a dictator. Figures like Cypselus at Corinth and Cleisthenes at Sicyon were the first to make the introduction of this type of government in Ancient Greece (“Greek Tyrants”).

In conclusion, I do want to make a mention that even do ancient Greece was a civilization with overall similar cultures and ideals (not in all cases), they had many different governing styles between their city-states. Sometimes, a city-state could have many governing types like in the case of Athens. This shows how awaken and diverse people were in this ancient civilization. I believe this is a reflection for countries in the 21st century where we have so many different governing styles.  

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