What Was Ancient Greece Political System?

Ancient Greece is widely regarded as one of the most influential civilizations in history. It was a period of great societal, cultural, and political development.

The ancient Greeks were known for their unique political system that laid the foundation for modern democracy. In this article, we will explore the political system of ancient Greece and its impact on the world.

The City-State System

Ancient Greece was divided into several city-states or polis, each with its own government and laws. The city-state was a self-governing system in which citizens were responsible for making decisions through a democratic process. Athens, Sparta, and Corinth were some of the most well-known city-states in ancient Greece.

Athenian Democracy

Athens was one of the most prominent city-states in ancient Greece and is often credited as the birthplace of democracy. The Athenian democracy was a direct form of government in which all citizens had equal power to vote and make decisions.

However, not all members of society were considered citizens. Women, slaves, and foreigners were excluded from participating in the democratic process.

The Spartan Oligarchy

On the other hand, Sparta had an oligarchic form of government where a small group of elite citizens held all political power. This system was characterized by strict social hierarchy and militaristic values.

The Role of Citizens

In ancient Greek society, citizenship was granted to adult males who were born in the city-state or had been granted citizenship through naturalization. Citizens had certain rights such as voting in elections and serving on juries. They also had specific obligations such as serving in the military when called upon.

The Assembly

The assembly was an essential part of ancient Greek politics. It was made up of all eligible citizens who would gather to debate issues and vote on important matters such as war, alliances, and laws. The assembly was a direct democracy in which every citizen had an equal say.

The Council

The council was another important body in ancient Greek politics. It was responsible for proposing laws and policies to the assembly. Members of the council were selected by lot, ensuring that all citizens had an equal chance of serving.

The Courts

The courts played a crucial role in ancient Greek politics and justice. They were responsible for resolving disputes and enforcing the law. Juries were made up of citizens who had been selected by lot.


In conclusion, ancient Greece’s political system laid the foundation for modern democratic societies. The city-state system, direct democracy, and citizen participation were all innovative ideas that influenced western political thought for centuries to come. While not perfect, the ancient Greeks’ commitment to democratic principles has left a lasting impact on the world as we know it today.