Ancient Greek Tyranny: ancient Greece was a collection of different city-states, each with its own political freedom and style of government. As a result, different city-states had different types of governments in different eras.

Tyranny Government Definition

Though democracy is a major gift from ancient Greece, it was not the only famous and prevailing form of government. Ancient Greece Tyranny was the form of government which spread across different city-states of Greece during the 6th century BC.

Ancient Greece Tyranny

Ancient Greek Tyranny and Tyrants

Monarchy was the common form of government in the 10th and 9th century BC. Ancient Greek Tyranny first found its way in Ancient Greece in the city-state of Corinth. Cypselus was the first Tyrant. Although the popular meaning of tyranny is a ruler who is cruel and oppressive and gains power by force, it was not always the case in ancient Greece.

In ancient Greece, a tyrant was basically a person who inherited power or seized power unconstitutionally. It was different from a monarchy. The rulers were not always brutal or cruel and hence the current meaning of tyranny and the old meaning were a little different.

Other than Cypselus at Corinth, who came into power as his mother belonged to the ruling clan but his father didn’t, one of the better-known tyrannies was by Orthagoras at Sicyon. At Corinth, after the death of Cypselus, his son Periander took over and ruled for almost 40 years. He was considered as a typical bad tyrant and tyranny in Corinth came to an end in the late 580s after the death of Periander.

Ancient Greece Tyranny

In the famous city-state of Athens tyranny was established by Peisistratus. Athens flourished under his ruling and hence the notion that a tyrant is not necessarily a bad and cruel person was set. After his death, his elder son Hippias took over the reign and worked closely with his younger brother.

Tyrants in Ancient Greece

After Sparta won a battle against Hippias he went into exile and that probably marked the end of the age of tyrants, but tyranny still prevailed in the Greek city-states like Anatolia which the Persians conquered.