Ancient Greece was divided into many different areas, called city-states. There were many city-states throughout the entire country, and each one had its own government. Athens and Sparta were two of the most powerful city-states in Greece. Sparta was governed by the military, while Athens had a democratic government. Over time, people's opinions about what made a good government changed, and various types of governments developed as well.
This is a sequence of Greek governments that were defined by Aristotle: monarchies, oligarchies, tyrannies, and democracies. Many places in Greece began with these government systems, from monarchies to oligarchies, to tyrannies, and finally to democracies. However, there were plenty of areas that were using different systems, resulting with many city-states that never did become democracies or tyrannies at all.
In the beginning, Athens was governed by a monarchy, rule by one person. Soldiers handpicked their leader and put him into power. However, monarchy did not last long in Athens, as a new government system soon developed in 800BC. This system was called the oligarchy, meaning "ruled by the few".
During the period of 600 to 500 BC, rulers who took power to lead an unjust government were often accused as tyrants. Yet at around 510BC, the first democratic government began sprouting its roots in Athens, soon leading many other Greek city-states to imitate the system. Greece had established one of the first democracies ever!
What did the word "democracy" mean to the Greeks? It meant, "Power of the people," that everyone was given say in government. Eventually, even city-states that weren't Greek, such as Carthage and Rome, tried to give everyone the power to participate in government, especially the poor people. In Greece, all male citizens who were at least the age of eighteen were qualified as council members, judges or government officials. However, all three of these jobs lasted only a year, and at that time,...
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