Ancient Greece Political Hierarchy

Politics and political hierarchies are a significant and inseparable part of a country. Ancient Greece consisted of various cities which were more or less politically independent and were at that time were known as poleis. The geography of the country contributed in the fragmentation of the ancient Greece various small and big independent units which politically took the shape of independently running cities. Various flavours of politics were visible in these cities ranging from monarchy, and democracy to oligarchy.

This type of distinctive political understanding was a consequence of the split of the country into various city-states.  The major cities of the country included Athens and Sparta.  Both these cities had their own government system and politics. The political hierarchy in the ancient Greece comprised of the following hierarchical political levels:

  • Monarchy
  • Oligarchy
  • Tyranny
  • Democracy
Ancient Greece Political Hierarchy
Ancient Greece Political Hierarchy


As visible from ancient Greek history, it is quite clear that Greece when began with the political systems most of the part of the country started with monarchies. Although when most of the country was having monarchy as their political system, there were many cities in the country that were practising a different political system. The monarchies existed in the ancient Greece between 2000 BC and 1200 BC, which is also known as the Mycenaean period or the late Bronze Age. During this type of political system the states were rules by king and he used to be the supreme power.


After the end of Dark Age only few cities in ancient Greece were left with kings ruling them.  Rest of the cities changed their political systems from monarchy to oligarchy. In an oligarchy system, kings are replaced with aristocrats (group of rich people in society) ruled cities. These aristocrats decided that which class of people will do what type of job in the social structure. In such kind of political system the government lies in the hands of few powerful belonging to the dominating class of the society. This type of system was popular till 600 BC


Around 500 BC oligarchy saw its end in many states and a new type of political system came into existence, which we today know as tyranny. In this kind of political systems the aristocrats were replaced by tyrants. Tyrants were group of people from the aristocrat class but they accumulated power with the support of poor people of society and became dominating over aristocrats. This type of system was quite similar to monarchy where people of city were ruled by a king like tyrant, but there was no law or rule during the reign of tyrants.


The time when tyranny was getting popular in few Greek cities, a new type of political system came into existence in Athens. Athens became the first democratic city where there were certain rules & regulation to be followed and much more power was offered to the poor & lower classes of society. Although this democracy was quite different, as, the women, slaves, foreigners and children were not allowed to vote.