What Type of Government Did Ancient Greece Have?

Ancient Greece is one of the most fascinating civilizations in history. The Greeks were known for their contributions to philosophy, art, and science, but they were also known for their unique system of government. In this article, we will explore the type of government that Ancient Greece had.

The City-States

Ancient Greece was not a single country but rather a collection of city-states. Each city-state was its own entity with its own government.

Some of the most famous city-states were Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes. Although they shared a common language and culture, each city-state had its own unique way of governing.

The Athenian Democracy

Athens is perhaps the most famous of all the Greek city-states. It was also the birthplace of democracy.

In Athens, all citizens (excluding women, slaves, and foreigners) had a say in how their city was run. They would gather in an assembly to vote on important issues such as war and taxes.

The Council

The council was made up of 500 citizens who were chosen by lot each year. This council proposed laws and policies that would then be voted on by the assembly.

The Courts

The courts were an important part of Athenian democracy. There were two types of courts: one for criminal cases and one for civil cases. Jurors were chosen by lot from a pool of eligible citizens.

The Spartan Oligarchy

Sparta was known for its military prowess and strict way of life. Unlike Athens’ democracy, Sparta had an oligarchy – which means that power rested with a small group of people.

The Two Kings

Sparta had two kings who ruled together with equal power. These kings came from two different royal families.

The Gerousia

The Gerousia was a council made up of 28 citizens over the age of 60 and the two kings. They were responsible for proposing laws and policies.

The Ephors

The Ephors were five citizens elected annually who had the power to veto decisions made by the kings or Gerousia.


Ancient Greece had a diverse range of governments, from Athenian democracy to Spartan oligarchy. Each city-state had its own unique way of governing, but they all shared a common goal of maintaining order and stability within their communities. While these governments may seem outdated now, they laid the foundation for modern democracies around the world.