Word: Definition: Example:
Panoply A vast and impressive array – or the complete armor of a hoplite. There was a panoply of snacks on the party table.
Phalanx A formation of heavily armed infantry soldiers, moving in close ranks as a single unit. The phalanx system was a brutal but effective form of Grecian warfare.
Oligarchy Government by the few – where a few people rule the many. Ancient Sparta was an oligarchy.
Aristocracy A class of people holding exceptional rank and privileges. In the French Revolution, the pampered aristocracy were overthrown by the oppressed poor.
Democracy A form of government ruled by the people. In a democracy, the public choose their leader.
Tyranny A form of government where one man holds unrestrained and absolute power. Josef Stalin ruled a tyranny in the early Soviet Union.
Usurper One who seizes an office or power by force or without the legal right to do so. In Shakespeare’s Richard II, Bolingbroke is a usurper to the crown of Richard.
Hellespont A thin strait separating European and Asian Turkey. Xerxes brought a giant army across the Hellespont to invade Greece.
Epic Denoting a long poetic composition centered on a hero and his exploits and dramas. The epics of Homer are famous for their scope and imagination.
City-state A sovereign state consisting of a city and its dependent territories. Ancient Greece was separated into many city-states, or poleis.


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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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