I had been doing some research on Byzantine Empire, and I came across an argument that the Empire was actually much more democratic than would be apparent. It obviously did not have democratic institutions of a modern parliamentary democracy - but you don't need institutions to have democracy. What matters is the influence of people on power, and some arguments exist that this influence, in the Byzantine Empire, was extensive.
The Emperor was the authority, but not an unlimited authority. Emperor's authority could be challenged by the people, on the basis of his failure to serve the common good. The "people" here could be the populus as a whole, or any one group within it - the clergy, the army, the traders... the articles are much more extensive on that, so read them.
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/ ... -republic/
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