A timocracy (from Greek τιμή timē, "honor, worth" and -κρατία -kratia, "rule")in Aristotle's Politics is a state where only property owners may participate in government. More advanced forms of timocracy, where power derives entirely from wealth with no regard for social or civic responsibility, may shift in their form and become a plutocracy where the wealthy rule.
Solon introduced the ideas of timokratia as a graded oligarchy in his Solonian Constitution for Athens in the early 6th century BC. His was the first known deliberately implemented form of timocracy, allocating political rights and economic responsibility depending on membership of one of four tiers of the population. Solon defined these tiers by measuring how many bushels of produce each man could produce in a year, namely:
N. G. L. Hammond supposes Solon instituted a graduated tax upon the upper classes, levied in a ratio of 6:3:1, with the lowest class of thetes paying nothing in taxes but remaining ineligible for elected office.
Aristotle later wrote in his Nicomachean Ethics (Book 8, Chapter 10) about three "true political forms" for a state, each of which could appear in corrupt form, becoming one of three negative forms. Aristotle describes timocracy in the sense of rule by property-owners: it comprised one of his true political forms. Aristotelian timocracy approximated to the constitution of Athens, although Athens exemplified the corrupted version of this form, described as democracy.
In the early times of American independence only men who would hold enough property and money (except in New Jersey, where women meeting the requirements were allowed as well) could vote; there were also at times requirement of race:
In The Republic , Plato describes five regimes (of which four are unjust). Timocracy (Book VIII, 545 B - 550 B) is listed as the first "unjust" regime. Aristocracy degenerates into timocracy when, due to miscalculation on the part of its governed class, the next generation of guardians and auxiliaries includes persons of an inferior nature (the persons with souls made of iron or bronze, as opposed to the ideal guardians and auxiliaries, who have souls made of gold and silver). A timocracy, in choosing its leaders, is "inclining rather to the more high-spirited and simple-minded type, who are better suited for war".The city-state of Sparta provided Plato with a real-world model for this form of government. Modern observers might describe Sparta as a totalitarian or one-party state, although the details we know of its society come almost exclusively from Sparta's enemies. The idea of militarism-stratocracy accurately reflects the fundamental values of Spartan society. The only one of Plato's five regimes that he does seem fit to govern is aristocracy, the four other regimes (including Timocracy) are unjust according to Plato. The unjust regimes in Plato's work refer to governing that lead to chaos and ultimately corruption.
Pericles was a Greek politician and general during the Golden Age of Athens. He was prominent and influential in Athenian politics, particularly between the Greco-Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian War, and was acclaimed by Thucydides, a contemporary historian, as "the first citizen of Athens". Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles", but the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars or as late as the following century.
Solon was an Athenian statesman, constitutional lawmaker and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in Archaic Athens. His reforms failed in the short term, yet Solon is credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy. His constitutional reform also succeeded in overturning most laws established by Draco.
A tyrant, in the modern English usage of the word, is an absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has usurped a legitimate ruler's sovereignty. Often portrayed as cruel, tyrants may defend their positions by resorting to repressive means. The original Greek term meant an absolute sovereign who came to power without constitutional right, yet the word had a neutral connotation during the Archaic and early Classical periods. However, Greek philosopher Plato saw tyrannos as a negative word, and on account of the decisive influence of philosophy on politics,
Plato deemed tyranny the "fourth and worst disorder of a state." Tyrants lack "the very faculty that is the instrument of judgment"—reason. The tyrannical man is enslaved because the best part of him (reason) is enslaved, and likewise, the tyrannical state is enslaved, because it too lacks reason and order.
The Solonian constitution was created by Solon in the early 6th century BC. At the time of Solon, the Athenian State was almost falling to pieces in consequence of dissensions between the parties into which the population was divided. Solon wanted to revise or abolish the older laws of Draco. He promulgated a code of laws embracing the whole of public and private life, the salutary effects of which lasted long after the end of his constitution.
Critias was an ancient Athenian, known today for being a student of Socrates, a writer of some regard, and the leader of the Thirty Tyrants, who ruled Athens for several months after the conclusion of the Peloponnesian War in 404/403.
The Thirty Tyrants were a pro-Spartan oligarchy installed in Athens in 404 BC, after the Athenian democracy had been defeated by Sparta in the Peloponnesian War. Upon Lysander's request, the Thirty were elected as a tyrannical government, not just as a legislative committee. Although they maintained power for only a brief eight months, their reign resulted in the killing of 5% of the Athenian population, the confiscation of citizens' property and the exile of other democratic supporters. They became known as the "Thirty Tyrants" because of their cruel and oppressive tactics. The two leading members were Critias and Theramenes.
Laconophilia is love or admiration of Sparta and of the Spartan culture or constitution. The term derives from Laconia, the part of the Peloponnesus where the Spartans lived.
Politeia is an ancient Greek word used in Greek political thought, especially that of Plato and Aristotle. Derived from the word polis ("city-state"), it has a range of meanings from "the rights of citizens" to a "form of government".
The Aristoi was the label given to the noblemen in ancient Greek society, and in particular ancient Athens. The term literally means "best", with the denotation of best in terms of birth, rank, and nobility, but also usually possessing the connotation of also being the morally best. The term in fact derives similarly with arete: "The root of the word is the same as aristos, the word which shows superlative ability and superiority, and "aristos" was constantly used in the plural to denote the nobility."
The Republic is a Socratic dialogue, authored by Plato around 375 BCE, concerning justice, the order and character of the just city-state, and the just man. It is Plato's best-known work, and one of the world's most influential works of philosophy and political theory, both intellectually and historically.
Politics is a work of political philosophy by Aristotle, a 4th-century BC Greek philosopher.
A democracy is a political system, or a system of decision-making within an institution, organization, or state, in which all members have an equal share of power. Modern democracies are characterized by two capabilities of their citizens that differentiate them fundamentally from earlier forms of government: to intervene in society and have their sovereign held accountable to the international laws of other governments of their kind. Democratic government is commonly juxtaposed with oligarchic and monarchic systems, which are ruled by a minority and a sole monarch respectively.
Agriculture was the foundation of the Ancient Greek economy. Nearly 80% of the population was involved in this activity.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ancient Greece:
The Draconian constitution, or Draco's code, was a written law code enforced by Draco in Athens near the end of the 7th century BC; its composition started around 621 BC. It was written in response to the unjust interpretation and modification of oral law by Athenian aristocrats. As most societies in Ancient Greece codified basic law during the mid-seventh century BC, Athenian oral law was manipulated by the aristocracy until the emergence of Draco's code. Around 621 BC the people of Athens commissioned Draco to devise a written law code and constitution, giving him the title of the first legislator of Athens. The literate could read the code at a central location accessible to anyone. This enactment of a rule of law was an early manifestation of Athenian democracy.
Slavery was a widely accepted practice in ancient Greece, as it was in contemporaneous societies. The principal use of slaves was in agriculture, but they were also used in stone quarries or mines, and as domestic servants.
Athenian democracy developed around the 6th century BC in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica. Although Athens is the most famous ancient Greek democratic city-state, it was not the only one, nor was it the first; multiple other city-states adopted similar democratic constitutions before Athens. By the late 4th century BC as many as half of the over one thousand existing Greek city-states might have been democracies. Athens practiced a political system of legislation and executive bills. Participation was open to adult, free male citizens, who probably constituted no more than 30 percent of the total adult population.
A property qualification is a clause or rule by which those without property (land), or those without property of a set appraised value, or those without income of a set value, are not enfranchised to vote in elections, to stand for election, to hold office or from other activities.
The Athenian Revolution was a revolt by the people of Athens that overthrew the ruling aristocratic oligarchy, establishing the almost century-long self-governance of Athens in the form of a participatory democracy – open to all free male citizens. It was a reaction to a broader trend of tyranny that had swept through Athens and the rest of Greece.