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Monarchy and Tyranny in Ancient Greece Essay

Decent Essays
In Greece, monarchies were found when the Mycenaeans ruled Greece during the period 2000 to 1100 BC. Monarchy is defined as a system of government where a single ruler has supreme power. The word “monarchy” comes from the Greek words “monos” meaning “single” and “archo” meaning “rule”. This single ruler, known as a king, ruled for life and passed the rule on to his heir when he died. The most famous monarchy was that of King Alexandra of Macedonia who ruled all of Greece from 336 BC.
Sparta had a mixed government consisting of elements of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy. The monarchy, although not a true monarchy, consisted of two kings from separate royal tribes. These kings were subject to the will of the Gerousia and the Ephors and
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Oligarchy comes from the Greek words “oligos” meaning “few” and “archo” meaning “rule”. Essentially “oligarchy” means “rule of the few in their own interests and not in the interest of the majority or the public good.” (Melville, 2011). Melville states that oligarchy was a “degeneration” of aristocracy as stated by Aristotle. Oligarchies were the most common form of government in the Ancient Greek city-states. In Sparta, the Gerousia (council of twenty-eight men over sixty-year of age together with the two kings) was an elite assembly dominated by the wealthier members of Spartan society. The Gerousia approved all laws that were submitted to the popular assembly for vote. The Ephors were a group of five men who were elected annually for a single term of office. The Ephors usually deferred to the guidance of the Gerousia (Brand, n.d.).
Democracy comes from the Greek words “demos” meaning “people” and “kratia” meaning “power or rule”. Essentially “democracy” means “rule of the people”. Cleisthenes took Solon’s reforms even further and reorganised the Boule (legislative council) to ensure that it was represented by all sections of society and not just the aristocracy. The popular assembly consisted of all free male citizens who voted on laws proposed by the Boule. Eventually, citizens would be paid to attend the assembly and to serve in public office. This would ensure that the poorer citizens would also be able to
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