What Were Leaders in Ancient Greece Called?

Leadership has been an integral part of human society since the beginning of civilization. Ancient Greece was no exception to this, and the Greeks had a unique system of government that relied heavily on leadership.

However, what were leaders in ancient Greece called? Let’s explore the answer to this question in more detail.

Ancient Greek Leadership

Ancient Greece was home to several city-states, each with its own unique form of government. Some city-states were ruled by monarchs, while others were governed by oligarchies or democracies. Regardless of the type of government, leadership played a crucial role in ancient Greek society.


In ancient Greece, monarchs were leaders who ruled over a kingdom or territory. Monarchy was the earliest form of government in ancient Greece and was prevalent during the Mycenaean period (1600-1100 BCE). Monarchs were typically hereditary rulers who inherited their position from their father or another male relative.


Oligarchy was a form of government that existed in some ancient Greek city-states. Oligarchs were leaders who held power because of their wealth or social status. They usually belonged to wealthy families and had significant influence over political decisions.


Demagogues were leaders who rose to power by appealing to the emotions and prejudices of the people. They were skilled orators who could sway public opinion through their speeches and charisma. Demagogues often used fear-mongering tactics to gain support from the masses.


Tyranny was a form of government that existed in some ancient Greek city-states. Tyrants were leaders who seized power through unconstitutional means, usually by force. Once in power, they ruled with absolute authority and often suppressed political opposition.

The Role of Leadership in Ancient Greece

Leadership was crucial in ancient Greek society because it helped maintain order and stability. Leaders were responsible for making important decisions that affected the lives of the people they governed. They also served as role models for their citizens and were expected to set an example by living virtuous lives.

Leadership and War

In ancient Greece, leadership was particularly important during times of war. The Greeks were known for their military prowess, and it was often the skill and bravery of their leaders that determined the outcome of battles. Leaders who displayed courage and strategic thinking on the battlefield were highly respected by their troops.

Leadership and Philosophy

Philosophy played a significant role in ancient Greek society, and many of the greatest philosophers were also leaders. Philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates all had a profound influence on ancient Greek politics and society. Their ideas about ethics, morality, and justice helped shape the way that leaders governed their city-states.


In conclusion, leadership played a vital role in ancient Greek society. From monarchs to tyrants, leaders held significant power over the people they governed.

However, leadership was not just about holding power; it was also about setting an example for others to follow. The legacy of ancient Greek leadership can still be felt today in modern politics, philosophy, and culture.