Even though we admit that Chios, Lesbos and Samos (up to 440) retained their oligarchic governments and that Selymbria, at a time (409 B.C.) when the empire was in extremis, was permitted to choose its own constitution, there can be no doubt that, from whatever motive and with whatever result, Athens did exercise over many of her allies an authority which extended to the most intimate concerns of local administration.
The Great Council of Venice, the curiae of Rome, were each of them the assembly of a privileged class, an assembly in which every member of that class had a right to a place, an assembly which might be called popular as far as the privileged class was concerned, though rigidly oligarchic as regarded the excluded classes.
This was the germ of the great council, the Maggior Consiglio, which was rendered strictly oligarchic in 1296.
Power passed into the hands of John de Witt, who represented the oligarchic element and the special interests of one province, Holland, and was taken from the Orange party which represented the more democratic element and the more general interests of the Seven Provinces.
This was owing partly to the evils of an oligarchic government; partly to the weakness resulting from the natural attraction of the Orthodox-Greek element in Lithu ania towards Muscovy, especially after the fall of Constantinople, but chiefly to the administrative superiority of the highly centralized Muscovite government.