Meaning of aristocracy
Aristocracy was a form of government practiced by people who stood out in society and was practiced in ancient Greece.
In the modern era it meant a group of people who held the power of the monarch in positions in the government administration.
Aristocracy is a form of social and political organization in which the government is monopolized by a privileged class.
The word aristocracy has a Greek origin and means “ aristos ”, better and “ cracy ”, power . In this way, aristocracy literally means ” government of the best “.
It would be one of the forms of government that existed in the world, such as democracy, plutocracy, etc.
The aristocracy would be formed by a group of people different from the rest of society . This distinction would be made through lineage, wealth, and inheritance.
That is why they are called ” aristos “, the best individuals of a society or, in the Greek case, city-states.
Aristotle was an author who studied the aristocracy and defended it as a form of government. The philosopher affirmed that the aristocrats thought of the common good, unlike the oligarchy that only defended its own interests.
What is the aristocracy?
With the rise of the Roman Empire, the aristocracy gained critical importance in supporting the Emperor by assuming positions of trust. Although they are no longer a form of government, it is impossible to conceive of the monarchy without the aristocracy.
During the feudal period, granting titles and privileges to nobles was a way for the sovereign to compensate for military services rendered by individuals in the defense of the territory.
In the Western world, during absolutism , the aristocracy became a privileged class that gravitated towards the king.
In this way we arrive at the more popular meaning of aristocracy as synonymous with a group of economically privileged people.
Aristocracy and Oligarchy
The negative connotation of the term arose when aristocracy came to be compared to oligarchy .
Political power was exercised by an elite, a small group of citizens chosen by the nobility, social prestige or privileges inherited from certain scientific, religious, artistic areas, etc.