Politics: World Wide Greek Words

Philosophy and politics go hand in hand today and even more so in ancient times when political thought was just beginning to form and shape new theories and perspectives about concepts like polity, citizenship, nation and ideology. 

How many Greek words were used in the last 3 lines really? 

Quite a few is the answer, since it is almost impossible to talk about politics and political sciences without using words that have etymological roots in both the Greek language and Greek political thought. 

First of all the word politics itself is Greek. It means science of government and derives from the Greek word politicos, first modeled in Aristotle’s “Affairs of State.” The adjective “politicos” comes from polis and politis, two words used in Ancient Greek political thought to describe the concepts of state and citizen respectively. 

Greeks experimented with every kind of polity; monarchy, oligarchy, tyranny and of course the highest of them all, democracy. Greece takes pride in having given birth to the polity of democracy, the government in which people have the authority to choose their governing legislation. When it comes to its etymology, it comes from the Greek word “demokratia.” “Demos” means people and “kratos” rule. Put together the two words basically describe the essence of democracy; rule by the people. 

Autonomy or autonomous are words widely used and understood by everybody despite their deeper philosophical and ideological meanings. We hear about autonomous regions, states or countries. The word autonomy comes from the ancient Greek word “autonomia.” Autonomia consists of the word autos=self and nomos=law and was used to describe the condition of self-government which is exactly the same as what it means today. 

Of course there are no politics without ideology. Ideology comes from the Greek word idea and basically means the science of ideas. The term is also used in religious or economic theories and can be found in political science in a descriptive sense to refer to political belief systems. 

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