The term aristocracy (literally “rule of the best”), which originated in Ancient Greek political theory, has had three meanings since the Late Middle Ages: (1) from Aristotelian theory of forms of government, it denoted legitimate and just rule (Authority) in pursuit of the common good by a minority considered outstanding through a claim to virtue - this was in contrast to monarchy and democracy and, at least in self-presen…
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Weber, Wolfgang E.J.,
Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy.
Consulted online on 22 January 2018 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_030965>