anacyclosis

The political doctrine of anacyclosis is a cyclical theory of political evolution. The theory of anacyclosis is based upon the Greek typology of constitutional forms of rule by the one, the few, and the many. Anacyclosis states that three basic forms of “benign” government (monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy) are inherently weak and unstable, tending to degenerate rapidly into the three basic forms of “malignant” government (tyranny, oligarchy, and ochlocracy). Note that “ochlocracy” refers to mob rule, not the concept of democracy created in the late 18th century.

According to the doctrine, “benign” governments have the interests of all at heart, whereas “malignant” governments have the interests of a select few at heart. However, all six are considered unworkable because the first three rapidly transform into the latter three due to political corruption.

Definition from Wikipedia.

potentate

A monarch or ruler, esp. an autocratic one.

The gleaming metal and jewels of the gorgeous ornaments of the men and women, duplicated in the trappings of the zitidars and thoats, and interspersed with the flashing colors of magnificent silks and furs and feathers, lent a barbaric splendor to the caravan which would have turned an East Indian potentate green with envy.

Definition from Kindle

satrapy

thefreedictionary.com:

n. pl. satrapies

1. The territory or sphere under the rule of a satrap.

2. A nation, state, territory, or area controlled as if by a satrap: “No military legions from the West are going to liberate their Eastern European satrapies” (John Hughes).

Google, meanwhile, defines “satrap” as “a provincial governor in the ancient Persian empire”.

Source: Iain M. Banks, Matter.