What Type of Government Did the Ancient Greece Have?

Ancient Greece is considered as one of the most significant civilizations in history. They developed a unique culture that had a significant impact on the western world.

One of the essential elements of their society was their political system. In this article, we will explore the type of government that existed in Ancient Greece.

The Early Forms of Governance

In its early days, Ancient Greece was divided into city-states, each with its own form of government. The two most common forms were oligarchy and monarchy.

Oligarchy: This form of government was prevalent in Sparta, where power was held by a small group of people who belonged to privileged families. The ruling class consisted of wealthy merchants and landowners who controlled all aspects of life within the city-state.

Monarchy: In this type of governance, power rested with a single individual who ruled over the city-state as its monarch. The kingship was typically hereditary and passed down from father to son. Monarchies were prevalent in places like Corinth and Athens.

The Rise of Democracy

As time passed, democracy emerged as a new form of governance in Ancient Greece. It originated in Athens during the late 6th century BC and became popular throughout Greece over time.

Democracy: In this political system, power rested with citizens who could participate directly in decision-making processes. Athenian democracy had several features that made it unique:

  • Citizenship was limited to adult males who were born in Athens.
  • Citizens attended regular assemblies where they voted on important issues such as war and peace.
  • Citizens could serve on juries and hold public office for limited terms.

The Roman Influence

The Romans conquered Greece in 146 BC and introduced a new form of governance known as Roman Republic. This system of governance was a combination of democracy and oligarchy.

Roman Republic: It was a system in which power rested with elected officials, including two consuls who served as the head of state. The Senate, consisting of wealthy individuals, acted as an advisory body to the consuls.

The Legacy of Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece’s political system has had a significant impact on the world. The concepts of democracy, oligarchy, and monarchy continue to influence modern forms of governance worldwide. Today, many countries have adopted democratic systems that allow citizens to participate in decision-making processes.


In conclusion, Ancient Greece had various forms of government throughout its history. Oligarchy and monarchy were prevalent in its early days, while democracy emerged later on.

The Roman Republic introduced a new system that combined elements of democracy and oligarchy. These political systems have left an indelible mark on modern governance and continue to shape the world we live in today.