Athenian Democracy

There were several forms of government in Ancient Greek city-states. The most famous being democracy which originated from one of the most prominent and influential city-states known as Athens. Other forms of government in Ancient Greek city states included oligarchy, tyranny, aristocracy and monarchy. I will begin by looking at the definitions of each of these forms of government.

Democracy can be defined as “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives”. The word democracy originates from the Greek word “dēmokratia”. It is formed from the words “demos” meaning “the people”, and “kratia” meaning “power” or “rule” ("Definition of Democracy in English by Oxford
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After Greece became embroiled in the Persian Wars, they forcefully subjugated their former allies. Bad decisions to continue wars, as well as serious infighting, caused the rapid fall of Athens’ democracy. Weakened from constant, unnecessary wars and infighting, Greece was easy prey and eventually entered under the rule of the Macedonians (Brand, n.d.). This was the beginning of a monarchy. After becoming a monarchy under the rule of King Alexander the Great of Macedon, Greece saw rule under a chain of foreign kings and emperors for two thousand years. These rulers included the Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottoman Turks (Brand, n.d.). The monarchy of the Macedonians, however, wasn’t the first case of monarchy in Ancient Greece. Around 2000 to 800 B.C.E. many Greek city states were ruled under monarchies. It should be noted that Greek settlements did not have queens; ruling power was usually in the hands of a king. At first, kings were chosen by the people of the city-state, and when the king died another was elected to take his place. Later, however, kings began to demand that their children inherit their power after death. The kings of Greece had many powers. They could make laws, act as judges, conduct religious ceremonies, and even lead armies during wars. Kings also had the power to punish those who disobeyed laws or evaded taxes. Kings also had councils of aristocrats to advise them. While these aristocrats had no real power at first, they soon came to realise that as a group they were stronger than the king. Eventually, the king was overthrown by aristocrats in most city states (Greek forms of Government,

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