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Oligarchy is a form of government. In an oligarchic system, all the power is held by a small group of people. It is usually the most powerful people who govern the state. It was used in Sparta, where the kingship alternated between three leading families.
Rule by the best
An oligarchy where the best rule is called Aristocracy.
Rule by the rich
If the richest people rule the country, this is called Plutocracy.
- Online Text: Leonard Whibley, Greek Oligarchies: Their Character and Organisation (1896), still the only full-scale treatment of oligarchy in Classical Greece.