AristokratiaThe Greek word "aristokratia" translates loosely to "rule of the best." After that point, things get even less clear. Who are the best? Does rule mean they are appointed to modern bureaucratic governments, or rule as divinely-ordained kings? Best of all, there's plenty of variation between those extremes.
aristocracy. A vague term, derived from the Greek aristokratia, meaning the rule of the best. In ancient Roman society it was represented by the patricians. It is broader than peerage or even nobility. In common parlance, it was usually taken to mean the upper classes or ‘betters’ and was confined largely to landowners. Since, unlike peerage, there was no legal definition, it was a matter of opinion who constituted the aristocracy, whether the concept included the gentry, and, if so, how far down that group it went. - The Oxford Companion to British HistoryVague as it seems to us now, aristokratia once meant something very clear: every nation had a culture, and the founders of that culture who proved themselves to be the best became the aristocracy, or a group of large landowners who managed the society. The original idea meant they owned land in order to manage it, but our modern conception is a bit confused because we own things in order to own them, not for any other purpose.