a general name for any form of government in which the supreme functions of
political administration are in the hands of a single person. The term
is applied to such
governments, whether they are hereditary or elective, legal or usurped. If
all the officials and ministers of the ruler are merely his deputies,
appointed and removable by him, then the term μοναρχια
strictly applies. Aristotle (Aristot. Pol. 3.15, 2
,= p. 1287) calls
This form of monarchy did
not belong to Greek states except as a consequence of revolution, when some
citizen usurped this power for himself, and sometimes transmitted it.
Monarchy of the more constitutional kind, as described in Homer, probably
existed throughout Greece at the time of the Dorian conquest, and gradually
disappeared, appeared, as in each state the weak or violent rule stirred up
successful opposition of the people. In Argos, however, it lasted to the
time of the invasion of Xerxes (Hdt. 7.149
disappeared before the Peloponnesian War. In Sparta it remained in a
peculiar form. In its commonest application, it is equivalent βυσιλεία,
whether absolute or limited. But the
rule of an aesymnetes
or a tyrant
would equally be called a μοναρχία.
3.16, 4.8 =
pp. 1286, 1294;--Plato, Polit.
p. 291, C, E; p.
302, D, E.) Hence Plutarch uses it to express the Latin dictatura.
Aristotle defines four sorts of βασιλεία
: “firstly, the kingship of the
heroic period, when the obedience was voluntary, but the power of the
kings strictly defined, the king being general, judge, and supreme
religious functionary; secondly, the non-Greek, which was a hereditary
despotic rule of a constitutional character; thirdly, the Asymneteia, as
it is called, an elective tyranny; and, fourthly, the Laconian, which
may be broadly defined as a hereditary generalship for life.”
3.14, Welldon's translation.) It
is by a somewhat rhetorical use of the word that it is applied now and then
to the δῆμος.
(Eur. Supp. 352
; Arist. Pol.
For a more detailed examination of the subject, the reader is referred to
the articles REX, ARCHON, TYRANNUS, PRYTANIS,