Ancient Egypt was also a theocracy, controlled by the clergy. The Pharaoh?s advisors and ministers were almost always priests, who were considered the only ones worthy and able to carry out the god-king?s commands. As in most religious ancient societies, priests had special status above the rest of the citizens, forming a kind of nobility
The governmental officials included the vizier, or the prime minister, the chief treasurer, the tax collector, the minister of public works, and the army commander. These officials were directly responsible to the Pharaoh. The land itself was divided up into provinces called nomes. Each nome had a governor, who was appointed by the Pharaoh, and responsible to the vizier.
Taxes were paid in goods and labor. Citizens were drafted into the army and forced labor for periods of time to pay what was called a corv?e, the labor tax. Slaves, mercenaries, and draftees were often used in the army. It is believed, however, that Egyptian slaves were not used to construct sacred monuments, such as the Pyramids. Egyptologists were led to this conclusion by recent finding of worker burial grounds near such monuments. The workers received proper Egyptian burials, whereas slaves did not.
The majority of Egyptian people were peasants who worked the land along the fertile Nile flood basin. These people had no voice in their government, and accepted this fact because it was backed by their religion. This mingling of religion and government is probably what kept Egypt so powerful and centralized during its high points
The Greeks had a lot of different kinds of governments, because there were many different city-states in ancient Greece, and they each had their own government. In addition, people’s ideas about what made a good government changed over time.
Aristotle divided Greek governments into monarchies, oligarchies, tyrannies and democracies, and most historians still use these same divisions. For the most part, Greece began by having monarchies, then oligarchies, then tyrannies and then democracies, but at each period there were plenty of city-states using a different system, and there were many which never did become democracies or tyrannies at all.
In the Late Bronze Age (the Mycenean period), between about 2000 and 1200 BC, all Greek city-states seem to have been monarchies, ruled by kings. Homer’s Iliad, and Greek mythology in general, shows us a whole series of kings like Agamemnon and Theseus, and some of their palaces have survived for archaeologists to dig up.
After the Dark Age, though, only a few Greek city-states still had kings. Sparta is the most famous of these, though actually Sparta had two kings, usually brothers or cousins, at the same time. One would stay home and the other go off to fight wars.
Most city-states in the Archaic period were ruled by oligarchies, which is a group of aristocrats (rich men) who tell everyone else what to do. Then in the 600’s and 500’s BC a lot of city-states were taken over by tyrants. Tyrants were usually one of the aristocrats who got power over the others by getting the support of the poor people. They ruled kind of like kings, but without any legal right to rule.
In 510 BC, the city-state of Athens created the first democratic government, and soon other Greek city-states imitated them. Even city-states that weren’t Greek, like Carthage and Rome, experimented with giving the poor people more power at this time. But Athenian democracy did not really give power to everyone. Most of the people in Athens couldn’t vote – no women, no slaves, no foreigners (even Greeks from other city-states), no children. And also, Athens at this time had an empire, ruling over many other Greek city-states, and none of those people living in the other city-states could vote either. Of course it is a lot easier to have a democratic government when you are only deciding what other people should do.
(And many Greek city-states kept oligarchic government, or tyrannies, or monarchies, through this whole time).