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date: 27 January 2023


, the rule of the few


, the rule of the few
  • Victor Ehrenberg
  •  and P. J. Rhodes


Oligarchy (‘the rule of the few’), with monarchy (see kingship) and democracy one of the three basic categories of constitution commonly used by the Greeks from the 5th cent. bce onwards. Whereas a democratic regime gave basic political rights to all adult males in the free non-immigrant population, and had slight or non-existent limitations on eligibility for office, an oligarchic regime excluded some of the free population even from basic political rights, and might exclude even more of them from office-holding and reduce the amount of business which came the way of the full citizen body. In practice those who were admitted to political activity by democracies but not by oligarchies were the poor, and *Aristotle, after listing the three categories of constitution and distinguishing correct and deviant versions of each, went on to say that really oligarchy is the rule of the rich and democracy is the rule of the poor (Pol.


  • Greek Law

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