A tyrant (from ancient Greek τύραννος, tyrannos), is a ruler who possesses absolute power and is not restricted by law, or one who has usurped the sovereignty of a legitimate ruler. Often portrayed as cruel, tyrants can defend their positions by resorting to repressive means. The original Greek term meant an absolute ruler who came to power without constitutional right, however the word had a neutral connotation during the Archaic and Roman periods. Early Classic. However, the Greek philosopher Plato viewed the word tyrannos asas a negative word, and due to the decisive influence of philosophy on politics, its negative connotations only increased, continuing into the Hellenistic period.

The philosophers Plato and Aristotle defined a tyrant as a person who rules without law, using extreme and cruel methods against both his own people and others. The Encyclopédie defined the term as a usurper of sovereign power who converts "his subjects into victims of their passions and unjust desires, which it substitutes for laws". At the end of the 5th and 4th century BC. C., a new type of tyrant arose, who had the support of the military, specifically in Sicily.

Accusations of tyranny can be applied to a variety of types of government:

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