Which of These Defines Rule by the Few Such as in Ancient Greece?

Rule by the few, also known as oligarchy, was a common form of government in Ancient Greece. It was a system where a small group of individuals held power and made decisions on behalf of the larger population. In this article, we will explore the various factors that define rule by the few in Ancient Greece.


One of the defining factors of an oligarchy was wealth. The ruling class tended to be composed of wealthy individuals who could afford to hold public office and participate in decision-making.

They were often landowners who had significant economic power and influence over others. This concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few individuals made it difficult for others to gain access to political power.


In addition to wealth, birth also played a crucial role in defining rule by the few. In many cases, political power was inherited through family connections.

The offspring of influential families were often groomed for leadership positions from a young age, giving them an advantage over others who did not have such connections. This led to a situation where political power was concentrated within a small group of families.

Political Influence

Another factor that defined rule by the few in Ancient Greece was political influence. Those who held power were able to exert significant influence over others through their control over institutions such as the army, courts, and bureaucracy. They were also able to use their wealth and social connections to build alliances with other powerful individuals, further cementing their grip on political power.

Limited Participation

Oligarchies were characterized by limited participation in decision-making. Only a small percentage of the population had access to political power, while the majority had little or no say in how their communities were governed. This limited participation often led to feelings of resentment and frustration among those who felt excluded from the political process.


In conclusion, rule by the few in Ancient Greece was defined by wealth, birth, political influence, and limited participation. These factors created a system where a small group of individuals held significant power and made decisions on behalf of the larger population. While oligarchies were common in Ancient Greece, they were not without their flaws and often led to social unrest and political instability.