Republic, Other ancient republics

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A republic is a form of government in which power resides in the people, and the government is ruled by elected leaders run according to law (from ), rather than inherited or appointed (such as through inheritance or divine mandate). In modern times the definition of a republic is also commonly limited to a government which excludes a monarch. Currently, 135 of the world's 206 sovereign states use the word "republic" as part of their official names.


The term "republic" is not commonly used to refer to pre-classical city states, especially if outside of Europe and the area which was under Graeco-Roman influence. However some early states outside of Europe had governments that are sometimes today considered similar to republics.

In the ancient Near East, a number of cities of the Eastern Mediterranean achieved collective rule. Arwad has been cited as one of the earliest known examples of a republic, in which the people, rather than a monarch, are described as sovereign. The Israelite confederation of the era before the United Monarchy has also been considered a type of republic. In Africa the Axum Empire was organized as a confederation ruled similar to a royal republic. Similarly the Igbo nation of what is now Nigeria.

In the early 20th century a number of Indian scholars, most notably as K.P. Jayaswal, argued that a number of states in ancient India had republican forms of government. There are no surviving constitutions or works of political philosophy from this period in Indian history but surviving religious texts do refer to a number of states having Gaṇa sangha, or council-based, as opposed to monarchical, governments.

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