Tyrant

  • in the modern english-language's usage of the word, a tyrant (derived from ancient greek τύραννος, túrannos) is an absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has usurped a legitimate ruler's sovereignty. often portrayed as cruel, tyrants may defend their positions by resorting to oppressive means.[1][2] the original greek term meant an absolute sovereign who came to power without constitutional right,[3] yet the word had a neutral connotation during the archaic and early classical periods.[4] however, greek philosopher plato saw tyrannos as a negative word, and on account of the decisive influence of philosophy on politics, its negative connotations only increased, continuing into the hellenistic period.

    the philosophers plato and aristotle defined a tyrant as a person who rules without law, using extreme and cruel methods against both his own people and others.[5][6] the encyclopédie defined the term as a usurper of sovereign power who makes "his subjects the victims of his passions and unjust desires, which he substitutes for laws".[7] in the late fifth and fourth centuries bc, a new kind of tyrant, one who had the support of the military, arose – specifically in sicily.

    one can apply accusations of tyranny to a variety of types of government:

    • to government by one individual (in an autocracy)
    • to government by a minority (in an oligarchy, tyranny of the minority)
    • to government by a majority (in a democracy, tyranny of the majority)
  • etymology
  • definition
  • early history
  • historical forms
  • in the classics
  • enlightenment
  • lists of tyrants
  • methods of obtaining and retaining power
  • see also
  • references
  • external links

In the modern English-language's usage of the word, a tyrant (derived from Ancient Greek τύραννος, túrannos) is an absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has usurped a legitimate ruler's sovereignty. Often portrayed as cruel, tyrants may defend their positions by resorting to oppressive means.[1][2] The original Greek term meant an absolute sovereign who came to power without constitutional right,[3] yet the word had a neutral connotation during the Archaic and early Classical periods.[4] However, Greek philosopher Plato saw tyrannos as a negative word, and on account of the decisive influence of philosophy on politics, its negative connotations only increased, continuing into the Hellenistic period.

The philosophers Plato and Aristotle defined a tyrant as a person who rules without law, using extreme and cruel methods against both his own people and others.[5][6] The Encyclopédie defined the term as a usurper of sovereign power who makes "his subjects the victims of his passions and unjust desires, which he substitutes for laws".[7] In the late fifth and fourth centuries BC, a new kind of tyrant, one who had the support of the military, arose – specifically in Sicily.

One can apply accusations of tyranny to a variety of types of government: