What Type of Government Did Athens Have?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 25, 2020 4:28:25 PM ET
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The ancient city of Athens, Greece, had a democratic government. Its democracy was "the rule of the mob," and historians consider the Athenians as the developers of democracy.

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In 508 B.C., Athens became one of the first societies in ancient times to establish democracy. During this time, oligarchy, or governing powers shared by a small group of society's members, was the norm. In the Athenian system, magistrates and jurors were picked by lottery from the Assembly, composed of citizens, since it was believed that judgment should come from one's peers. All citizens had the right to bring both private and public matters to the courts.