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Classical Greek Oligarchy – A Political History - Princeton Scholarship Online
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Classical Greek Oligarchy: A Political History

Matthew Simonton


This book thoroughly reassesses an important but neglected form of government in ancient Greece, the “rule of the few.” The book challenges scholarly orthodoxy by showing that oligarchy was not the default mode of politics from time immemorial, but instead emerged alongside, and in reaction to, democracy. It establishes how oligarchies maintained power in the face of potential citizen resistance. It argues that oligarchs designed distinctive political institutions—such as intra-oligarchic power sharing, targeted repression, and rewards for informants—to prevent collective action among the majo ... More

Keywords: oligarchy, rule of the few, democracy, power, oligarchs, authoritarianism, ancient politics, nondemocratic government

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780691174976
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691174976.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew Simonton, author
Arizona State University