Oligarchies in Classical Greece


Along with autocracy (basileia/tyrannis) and democracy, aristocracies and oligarchies are counted among the "traditional" political systems in the Greek poleis of the classical period. Compared to several extensive studies on tyranneis and demokratia (mostly concerned with Athenian Democracy), however, the "rule of the few" has been neglected by modern scholarship - the last comprehensive study has been published in 1896. Against this background, the project aims at a thorough revision of the topic. A better understanding of Greek oligarchies is to be expected not only due to new, mainly epigraphic evidence related to individual poleis. Also our way of analyzing antique political system has been modified in important aspects, i.e. the traditional scientific approach to oligarchies via purely constitutional analysis, often dependent on Aristotle, today is no longer sufficient. Nevertheless, while it is possible to point to inconsistencies of the traditional approach, it is likewise unsatisfying to simply ignore the ancient categories or to "prove" that Aristotle's analysis has failed (as recent research partially has done). Rather, the project tries to develop an new analytical framework and to apply it to the empirical data.


Principal Investigators
Winterling, Aloys Prof. Dr. (Details) (Ancient History II)

Duration of Project
Start date: 08/2010
End date: 12/2015

Research Areas
Oligarchie, Oligarchen, Polis, Verfassung, Aristokratie, Herrschaft, Aristoteles, oligarchy, Greek polis, aristocracy, Greek constitutions

Last updated on 2020-11-03 at 23:12