Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 March 2023



  • Victor Ehrenberg
  •  and P. J. Rhodes


The term is applied by modern scholars to the regimes of early Greece in which states were ruled by the noble families which had emerged from the Dark Age with the most landed property and political power, but the word aristokratia is not found before the 5th cent. bce, perhaps coined in response to ‘*democracy’. Thereafter it was the preferred term of those wishing to give a favourable picture of oligarchy. In *Plato (1)'s Republic aristocracy is the name given to the ideal form of constitution when there are several rulers rather than one; in the threefold classification of monarchy (*kingship), *oligarchy, and democracy aristocracy is the good form of oligarchy.


  • Greek Law

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription