The Dexileos Stele assesses the way that Athenian political thought... What did democracy really mean in Athens? However, when modern people shout for “democracy,” what they are really demanding is direct democracy within a parliamentary framework. Should sovereignty (kyrion) lie in the rule of law (nomoi), the constitution (politea), officials, or the citizens? The decrees of the Assembly could also be challenged by the law courts. A monarchy was essentially a system of government based on power gained through hereditary means. The Greek philosopher Aristotle divided ancient Greek government into monarchies, oligarchies, tyrannies and democracies, and most historians still use these same categories. Many civic positions were short-term and chosen by lot to ensure bribery was kept to a minimum. Spartan kings could, however, be put on trial and even exiled. SURVEY . Oligarchs in ancient Greece thus used a combination of coercion and co-optation to keep democracy at bay. The word monarchy comes from the Greek root words monos (which means “one”) and arkhein (which means “rule”). The regular turnover of archai, due to limited terms of office and the prohibition of re-election, meant abuse of power was kept in check and the rulers would, in turn, become the ruled. Most of the Greek people wanted Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, to be the new King. The Boeotian federation has a minimum property requirement for participation in the democratic assembly. In addition, politics is often lampooned in the comedies of Aristophanes. Any male citizen 18 years or over could speak (at least in theory) & vote in the assembly of Athens. An oligarchy is a system of political power controlled by a select group of individuals, sometimes small in number but it could also include large groups. Thus history has indeed been live evidence witnessing the transition of most oligarchies into tyrannies. 180 seconds . The oligarchy of the 400 take over the democracy in. However, during that time they had power over most areas of civic life and they could appoint and check on all the other public officials. Socrates Bust, Palazzo Massimoby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). Who was the main rival of ancient Greece? Only the first king, Otto, was actually styled King of Greece. 180 seconds . Different city-states had different systems. A head of state referendum was held in 1862 to name a new King. Learn. In 1832 Prince Otto of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach was styled His Majesty Otto I, King of Greece, over which he reigned for 30 years until he was deposed in 1862. Other than certain fringe elements, nobody even thinks about monarchy anymore. Or sometimes neighbored cities would be ruled differently, by one man or a group of men. "Ancient Greek Government." Related Content For the Greeks, the state was not seen as an interfering entity which sought to limit one’s freedom but as an apparatus through which the individual could fully express his membership of the community. In ancient Greece, monarchies were extremely rare. History Time Recommended for you Issues discussed in the assembly ranged from deciding magistracies to organising and maintaining food supplies to debating military matters. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. and replaced with an oligarchy -- rule by a privileged class of landowning aristocrats and wealthy merchants. Megara and Thebes were other states which had an oligarchic system. The Kingdom of Greece was ruled by the House of Wittelsbach between 1832 and 1862 and by the House of Glücksburg from 1862 to 1924, temporarily abolished during the Second Hellenic Republic, and from 1935 to 1973, when it was once more abolished and replaced by the Third Hellenic Republic. Similar in function to the boulē was the council of elders (selected men over 60), the gerousia, of Sparta, which also had the two Spartan kings as members and had certain legal powers. The American Empire. Athens’ constitution is called a democracy because it respects the interests not of the minority but of the whole people. What does the word "Democracy" mean? The political legitimacy and authority of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic (crowned republic), to restricted (constitutional monarchy), to fully autocratic (absolute monarchy), and can expand across the domains of the executive, legislative and judicial. There are also two specifically political texts with the same title, The Constitution of the Athenians, one written by Aristotle or one of his pupils and the other attributed (by some) to Xenophon. Vilhelm was elected unanimously by the Greek Assembly, and became His Majesty George I, King of the Hellenes. Cartwright, M. (2018, March 20). Importantly, positions of power often required not only free time but also financial layout to fund municipal projects such as shipbuilding and festivals. Military commanders also held public office in some city-states. Flashcards. answer choices "rule by the government" "rule by the many" "rule by the wealthy" "rule by the people" Tags: Question 7 . Monarchial rule – that is, rule by a king – was overthrown in ancient Greece because the monarchs' wealthy advisers and others in the aristocracy began to challenge the hereditary right of kings. These were probably elected by the assembly of Sparta and they held office for only one year. Speaker's Platform, Athens Assembly, Pynx, Athens. Surviving, though, are over 150 political speeches and 20,000 inscriptions which include 500 decrees and 10 laws. Whilst for Athens, it is possible to piece together a more complete history, we have only an incomplete picture of the systems in most city-states and many details of how the political apparatus actually functioned are missing. mikaelasnitzer. Monarchy. Not settling on a definitive answer to these questions, government in the ancient Greek world, therefore, took extraordinarily diverse forms and, across different city-states and over many centuries, political power could rest in the hands of a single individual, an elite or in every male citizen: democracy - widely regarded as the Greeks' greatest contribution to civilization. Although Sparta also possessed a citizen assembly, it is most famous for its system of two kings. Ancient History Encyclopedia. They were subject to votes of confidence by the Assembly but this didn’t stop Pericles, for example, holding office as strategos for 15 consecutive years. It was Aristotle who made a significant division of Greek governmentsinto monarchies, oligarchies, tyrannies, and democracies. However, the Athenian monarchy did not last very long. advantages and disadvantages of government in ancient greece. Critics of democracy, such as Thucydides and Aristophanes, also pointed out that the dēmos could be too easily swayed by a good orator or popular leaders (the demagogues) and get carried away with their emotions. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. They also tended to be overtaken by tyrants, especially “when the hereditary ruler was more benevolent and ruled in the genuine interest of his people (Cartwright, 2013).” Although this is the case, the Mycenaeans were one city-state in which monarchies flourished for the majority of their reign from 2000 to 1100 B.C.E. Other sources which discuss politics and government include Aristotle’s Politics and the historical works of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. We know that in 411 BCE in Athens, ‘the oligarchy of the 400’ took power out of the hands of the Assembly and were themselves superseded by a more moderate oligarchy of 5000. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Monarchy was the earliest system of government in Greece. But city-states developed these shared characteristics in strikingly different ways. Oligarchy. In the Greek world monarchies were rare and were often only distinguishable from a tyranny when the hereditary ruler was more benevolent and ruled in the genuine interest of his people. Match. Welcome Back to the Official Greek Royal Family web site. The city-states in Greece were established some time around the 9th century BC. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Although the Greek city-states differed in size and natural resources, over the course of the Archaic Age they came to share certain fundamental political institutions and social traditions: citizenship, slavery, the legal disadvantages and political exclusion of women, and the continuing predominance of wealthy elites in public life. Monarchies were quite a rare form of government in Ancient Greece and it is sometimes hard to differentiate between governments that were classified as tyrannies versus governments that were classified as monarchies. Cartwright, Mark. Citizens probably accounted for 10-20% of the polis population, and of these it has been estimated that only 3,000 or so people actively participated in politics. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Therefore, it was probably the case that public positions were in reality dominated by the wealthier citizens. The four most common systems of Greek government were: Our knowledge of the political systems in the ancient Greek world comes from a wide range of sources. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. - Melissa Schwartzberg, Power & The Polis - Ancient Greek Society 02, The Tyrant Kadmos permits the establishment of democratic government on, Period of full and direct citizen democracy in. Created by. to 800 B.C.E., most Greek city-states were Overall, Athens was free from foreign invasion, rich in farmland and located perfectly to trade with the innumerable islands that dot the Aegea… In the Greek world monarchies were rare and were often only distinguishable from a tyranny when the hereditary ruler was more benevolent and ruled in the genuine interest of his people. The fact of the matter is that monarchy in Greece had a very tainted history, with the king being at odds with the democratically elected government and impeding its work or even dissolving it (the government). ), after the time of Alexander the Great. Note that oligarchy simply means “ruled by a few” and that it shouldn’t be confused with a monarchy, since many of the city-states had kings or a tyranny, which is a system of government where one individual rules. However, Greek tyrants were not necessarily evil rulers (as the word signifies today); they simply looked after their own interests. The Greek Crown was originally offered to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha but he declined, later being elected King of the Belgians. The kings of Sparta were kept in check by ephors (ephoroi) who were themselves elected by the assembly. Tags: Question 6 . During this type of political system the states were rules by king and he used to be the supreme power. This feeling was especially evidenced in the demonizing of the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes, the tyrants par excellence. Social Studies Content Standards for Ancient Greece 6.4 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early civilizations of Ancient Greece. The different cities, that composed Ancient Greece, experienced with these forms of governments one after another. In the preceding centuries, Greek city-states were governed by a variety of entities, including kings, oligarchies, tyrants, and, as in the case of Athens, a democracy.” Web. The word democracy derives from the Greek dēmos which referred to the entire citizen body and although it is Athens which has become associated with the birth of democracy (demokratia) from around 460 BCE, other Greek states did establish a similar political system, notably, Argos, (briefly) Syracuse, Rhodes, and Erythrai. Unfortunately, information concerning oligarchies in the Greek world is sparse. An oligarchic government was mostly the result of a democratic government going wrong. Spell. 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