Ancient Greek Government Hierarchy

When it comes to political systems and the government hierarchy of ancient Greece, one thing that instantly comes to the mind of people is democracy. Ancient Greece was the inventor of democracy but it was not the only government type that was prevalent in ancient Greece.

In the pre-classical era, ancient Greece witnessed certain different types governments and political hierarchies. since the geography of Greece was such that it divided the whole country in certain independent kingdoms that were ruled by ,kings, monarchs, tyrants etc. Following is the brief description of ancient Greek government hierarchy which possessed the following levels:

Ancient Greek Government Hierarchy

Ancient Greek Government Hierarchy

  • Democracy
  • Tyranny
  • Oligarchy
  • Monarchy


Monarchy is a type of government that is headed by a king and the whole kingdom is rules with the laws and regulations formed by the king. Greece was divided in various independent city states and the earliest form of government that gained popularity was monarchy. In this form of government, sovereignty and power is embodied in a single individual monarch. Monarchies were hereditary and successors of monarchs keep on ruling the kingdoms for generations.


After monarchy, the type of government that took over in some of the parts of ancient Greece was oligarchy. In this, instead of one king the kingdom was ruled by a group of rulers. The most famous of oligarchy was the city state of Sparta which was ruled by two kings at the same time.

The oligarchs were the people who could be distinguished by wealth, family ties, military control or royalty.  In oligarchy the prominent people who rules the kingdom, passed on their influence form one generation to the other.


In the ancient Greece, the type of government that came on third level in the ancient Greek government hierarchy was Tyranny. It was quite similar to oligarchy in certain aspects. In the ancient Greece few influential opportunists gained power over other aristocrats with the support of lower classes. These influential opportunists were known as tyrants. Tyrants were also considered as the people who illegally controlled the governmental power.

This type of government was prevalent during 6th & 7th century BC in some of the parts of ancientGreece. Tyrants used to rule the kingdoms without any structural laws and regulations and they always put their interests over the advantages of the people. Tyrants were the harsh rulers who did not support any class of the society.


Lastly, the government which took over in many parts of Greece was democracy that originally started from the city state of Athens. Athenians introduced the right of voting but it was not uniformly given to all the people in the society. Women, children, slaves and foreigners were not allowed to vote.

After Athens many other city states in ancient Greece started practising democracy. In the democracy of ancient Greece, people did not vote to elect their representatives, instead they directly voted for the executive & legislation bills that were developed for the public. The political satire created by the poets and artists remarkably affected and influence the opinion of the voters.