Ancient Greece Government (Secondary Source)
The Ancient Greeks may be most famous for their ideas and philosophies on government and politics. It was in Greece, and particularly Athens, that democracy was first conceived and used as a primary form of government.
The Greek City-State
Ancient Greece was made up of city-states. A city-state was a major city and the surrounding areas. Each city-state had its own rule and government. Sometimes the city-states fought each other. Athens and Sparta were the two largest city-states and they had many wars and battles.
Types of Government
There were three main types of government:
- Democracy - A government ruled by the people, or assembly. Officials and leaders were elected and all citizens had a say.
- Monarchy - A single ruler like a king. In Athens this ruler was called a Tyrant.
- Oligarchy - When the government is ruled by a small group.
Over time some city-states, like Athens, would change governments. Sometimes they were ruled by Tyrants and, at other times, they were a democracy.
Democracy in Ancient Greece was very direct. What this means is that all the citizens voted on all the laws. Rather than vote for representatives, like we do, each citizen was expected to vote for every law.
They did have officials to run the government, however. Most of these officials were chosen by a lottery. So every citizen had a chance, regardless of their popularity or wealth, to become an official. A few key positions were voted on, such as the treasurer and the 10 generals who ran the army (also called the strategoi).
Who could vote?
In order to vote, you had to be a citizen. However, not everyone who lived in Athens was a citizen. Only men who had completed their military training were counted as citizens.
Bodies of Government
There were three main bodies of the government: the Assembly, the Council of 500, and the Courts.
The Assembly included all citizens who showed up to vote. Everyone who was a citizen could participate as part of the assembly. The assembly would decide on new laws and important decisions, like whether or not to go to war.
The Council oversaw much of the day-to-day running of the government. The Council was determined by lottery. If your name was chosen, then you would be on the council for one year.
The Courts handled lawsuits and trials. The courts had large juries to help make decisions. For private lawsuits the jury was at least 201 people, for public lawsuits the jury was at least 501 people.
Ancient Greek And Roman Empire Essay
518 Words3 Pages
Ancient Greek and Roman similarities.
The ancient Greek and Roman civilizations of Europe began to progress toward a more civilized order of society. As there were no previous establishment to base their ideals on, it was understandable that there were some difficulties in their progression as a society. Although the ancient Greek and Roman governments fell, both had similar paths of creation, conquest, and destruction.
Greek society began by the formation of the city-state. "The city-state, based on tribal allegiances, was generally the first political association during the early stages of civilization." ( Perry, 45) This was the first step in the progression toward…show more content…
Both Greeks and Romans tried to realize some form of democracy. "It is to Greece that we ultimately trace the idea of democracy and all that accompanies it: citizenship, constitutions, equality before the law, government by law, reasoned debate, respect for the individual, and confidence in human intelligence." (Perry, 52)
Because Rome tried to maintain a republic it had different needs compared to the Greeks. "The Romans, unlike the Greeks, were distinguished by practicality and common sense, not by a love of abstract thought. In their pragmatic and empirical fashion, they gradually developed the procedures of public politics and the legal state." (Perry 88)
The fall of the Greeks was a direct result of a breakdown of social theories. "When people no longer regarded the law as an expression of sacred traditions ordained by the gods but saw it as a merely human contrivance, respect for the law diminished, weakening the foundations of the society. The results were party conflicts, politicians who scrambled for personal power, and moral uncertainty." (Perry 55)
The Romans suffered a similar fate as a result of an unfocused administration. "Instead of developing a professional civil service to administer the conquered lands, Roman leaders attempted to