Peisistratos


Peisistratos (Greek: Πεισίστρατος; born late 7th century BC, died 528/27 BC), also spelled Peisistratus or Pisistratus, the son of Hippocrates (not to be confused with the Greek physician Hippocrates), was a ruler of ancient Athens during most of the period between 561 and 527 BC. His unification of Attica, the triangular peninsula of Greece containing Athens, along with economic and cultural improvements laid the groundwork for the later preeminence of Athens in ancient Greece.[1][2] His legacy lies primarily in his institution of the Panathenaic Games, historically assigned the date of 566 BC, and the consequent first attempt at producing a definitive version of the Homeric epics. Peisistratos' championing of the lower class of Athens, the hyperakrioi (see below), is an early example of populism.[3] While in power, he did not hesitate to confront the aristocracy and greatly reduce their privileges, confiscating their lands and giving them to the poor. Peisistratos funded many religious and artistic programs,[4] in order to improve the economy and spread the wealth more equally among the Athenian people.

Peisistratos
Ingres - Pisistratus head and left hand of Alcibiades, 1824-1834.jpg
19th-century depiction
Tyrant of Athens
In office
561 BC, 559–556 BC, 545–528 BC
Personal details
BornLate 7th century
Athens, Greece
Died528/27 BC
Athens, Greece

Peisistratids is the common family or clan name for the three tyrants, who ruled in Athens from 546 to 510 BC, referring to Peisistratos and his two sons, Hipparchos or Hipparkhos and Hippias.

BackgroundEdit

Ancient Greek governments traditionally were monarchy-based, dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries BC.[5] For the 7th and 6th centuries during the Archaic Period, political power began to be wielded by aristocratic families, who had accumulated wealth, land, and religious or political offices, as the Greek city-states began to develop. The most notable families could trace their lineage back to a legendary or mythological founder/king, such as Herakles (Heracles) or an ancestor who participated in the Trojan War, for example.[6][7] In the 6th and 5th centuries BC, prominent aristocratic families of Athens were the Peisistratids, Philaids, and the Alkmeonids.[8] The Peisistratid clan were originally from the Mycenaean Bronze Age city of Pylos, located in the region of Messenia, Greece, and traced their ancestry to the mythological king of Pylos, Neleus, whose son, Nestor, the Homeric hero, fought in the Trojan War.[9][10]

The second clan, the Alkmeonids, came to prominence in the 6th century BC during the lifetime of their namesake Alkmeon and whose son, Megakles, both opposed and supported Peisistratos at various points in his reign.[11][6] Due to the infighting between aristocratic families and the inability to maintain order, a tyrant was well-positioned to capitalize on the discontent of the poor and disenfranchised to make a bid for power.[12][5] In the age of antiquity and especially in the Archaic Age of Greece, a tyrant was not viewed in the modern sense of the definition, but rather, a ruler who obtained power unconstitutionally, usually through the use of force, or inherited such power.[13] In the first documented instance of Athenian tyranny, Herodotus notes the story of Kylon, an ancient Olympic Games champion, who gathered supporters, in either 636 or 632 BC, in an attempt to seize power by occupying the Acropolis. His attempt was unsuccessful and despite assurances to the contrary, Kylon and his supporters were allegedly killed by the Alkmeonids, resulting in the Alkmeonid curse.[14]

Related to Peisistratos through his mother, Solon was an Athenian statesman and lawmaker who, in the early 6th century, restructured the social class system of Athens as well as reformed the law code, originated by Draco. Among his many reforms, Solon eliminated debt slavery which primarily impacted poor Athenians, who were in the majority, and giving the demos, the common people of the city-state, collectively a concession to ease their suffering and possibly preventing a civil war.[15] Peisistratos' later rise to power would draw on support from many of the poor people comprising this constituency.

Early life and rise to powerEdit

 
Location of Attica region on the mainland of Greece

Not much is known about the early years of Peisistratos' life, but his father, Hippocrates, attended the Olympic Games in either 608 or 604 and during a sacrifice to the gods, the meat was boiled without a fire and was witnessed by Chilon the Lacedaemonian. As a result of this sign, Chilon recommended that Hippocrates send away his wife, if she could bear children, and if he had a son, to disown him. Hippocrates did not follow Chilon's advice, and later, he had a son named Peisistratos.[16]

Originally, Peisistratus became known as an Athenian general who captured the port of Nisaea (or Nisiai) in the nearby city-state of Megara in approximately 565 BC.[17][16] This victory opened up the unofficial trade blockage that had been contributing to food shortages in Athens during the previous several decades.[18]

In the subsequent years after Solon and his departure from Athens, Aristotle reports that the city of Athens was still very divided and in turmoil, with many secondary sources noting the development of three distinct political factions competing for control of Athens and its government. According to Aristotle, these groups were partitioned in both a geographic (as documented below) and economic sense. The first two factions, based on the plains and the coast, appeared to exist prior to the formation of the third faction. The third group, referred to as men of the Highlands (or Hill), had various motives to align with Peisistratos, including those men in poverty, recent immigrants who feared loss of citizenship, and lenders who were denied the ability to collect their debts.[19] Names of the competing factions differ according to the accessed source, with some references offering details on each group's composition while others do not:

  • Pedieis or Pediakoi: the population that resided on the plains, led by Lycurgus. These landowners produced grain, giving them leverage during the food shortage.[20]
  • Paralioi or Paraloi: the population living along the coast, led by Megacles, an Alcmaeonid. The Paralioi party was not as strong as the Pedieis, primarily because they could not produce grain, like the plainsmen.[20] With the Megareans patrolling the sea, much of Athens' import/export power was limited.
  • Hyperakrioi: not previously represented by the first two factions or parties listed above, dwelled primarily in the hills and were by far the poorest of the Athenian population. Their only production was barter in items like honey and wool.[20] Peisistratos organized them into a third faction, the Hyperakrioi, or hill dwellers. This party grossly outnumbered the other two parties combined.[18] R.J. Hopper provides similar names for the factions and classifies them by their region in Attica: Pedion, Paralia, and Diakria.[21]

Pomeroy and her fellow three authors state the three factions of Athens are as follows:

  • the Men of the Plain: the population comprised mostly of large landowners.
  • the Men of the Coast: the population likely included fishermen and craftsmen.
  • the Men of the Hill: the population containing the poorer residents of the Attic highlands, and possibly including residents of Attica cities as well.[22]

Herodotus provides the following information about the three groups:

  • Plains district: led by Lykourgos, son of Aristoleides.
  • Coastal district: led by Megakles, son of Alkmeon.
  • Hill district: formed by Peisistratos in an effort to become tyrant of Athens.[16]

His role in the Megarian conflict gained Peisistratos popularity in Athens, but he did not have the political clout to seize power. Around the year 561 BC, Herodotus writes how Peisistratos intentionally wounded himself and his mules, asking the Athenian people to provide bodyguards for protection and reminding them of his prior accomplishments, including the port capture of Nisiai. Peisistratos had driven his chariot into the agora or marketplace of Athens, claiming he had been wounded by his enemies outside of town, and thus, the people of Athens selected some of their men to function as a bodyguard, armed with clubs rather than spears, for him. Previously, he had assumed control of the Hyperakrioi, which was not an aristocratic group like the other two Athens factions, by promoting his democratic program and securing a mutual agreement with the members or demos of the faction. By obtaining support from this vast number of the poorer population and receiving the protection of bodyguards, he was able to overrun and seize the Acropolis as well as grasp the reins of the government.[16][23] The Athenians were open to a tyranny similar to that under Solon, who previously had been offered the tyranny of Athens but declined, and in the early part of the Archaic Age, the rivalries among the aristocratic clans was fierce, making a single-ruler tyranny an attractive option, with the promise of possible stability and internal peace, and Peisistratos' ruse won him further prominence.[24] With the Acropolis in his possession and with the support of his bodyguard, he declared himself tyrant.[25]

Periods of power/three attempts at tyrannyEdit

 
City of ancient Athens and its surrounding towns. The Long Walls shown were not built until the 5th century BC.

First period of powerEdit

Peisistratos assumed and held power for three different periods of time, ousted from political office and exiled twice during his reign, before taking command of Athens for the third, final, and longest period of time from 546-528 BC. His first foray into power started in the year 561 and lasted about five years. His first ouster from office was circa 556/555 BC after the other two factions, the Plains people led by Lycurgus and the Coastal people led by Megakles, normally at odds with each other, joined forces and removed him from power.[26] Different sources provide conflicting or unspecified time intervals for the periods of Peisistratos' reign. For example, Herodotus writes that Megakles' and Lykourgos' followers combined after a short time to expel Peisistratos from power.[27] Aristotle comments that Peisistratos was forced out during the year of the archonship of Hegesias, five years after he originally assumed his first tyranny in Athens.[28]

Exile and second period of powerEdit

 
Illustration from 1838 by M. A. Barth depicting the return of Peisistratos to Athens, accompanied by a woman dressed as Athena, as described by the Greek historian Herodotus

He was exiled for three to six years during which the agreement between the Pedieis (Plains) and the Paralioi (Coastal) fell apart.[29] Soon after, in the year 556 BC or so, Megakles invited Peisistratos back for a return to power upon the condition he, Peisistratos, marry Megakles' daughter. According to Herodotus, the two men concocted a very creative method to rally the people of Athens back to Peisistratos' side. A tall, almost six foot woman, Phye, from the deme or rural village of Paiania was selected to pose as the goddess Athena, by being dressed in full armor, riding in a chariot, and being counselled on how to portray the goddess. Heralds were sent ahead to announce that Athena herself was bringing Peisistratos back to her acropolis and that she exalted him above all other men. Word traveled fast to the people throughout the villages and even to those in the city believing that Phye was the goddess Athena and consequently, Peisistratos was welcomed back by the awestruck Athenians.[27]

How much of this story is based in facts versus an oral fabrication or exaggeration passed down to Herodotus is not entirely known.[26] Lavelle writes that this story provides a Homer-type mythological tie-in to the connection between the gods and Greek heroes where Peisistratos' prior resume as a warrior and general would be viewed as heroic and furthermore, Peisistratos would be viewed in a similar manner as the Greek hero Odysseus, who was viewed as cunning and having a special relationship with Athena.[30] It is debated to what extent this staged event impacted the return of many to his side.[31] Krentz postulates that the story should be viewed in the context of a premeditated performance of Athena returning to the temple dedicated to her.[32] While some argue that the general public believed he had won the favor of the goddess, others instead put forward the idea that the public were aware that he was using the chariot ride as a political maneuver, drawing comparisons between himself and the ancient kings of Athens.[31][33][34]

Conflict, second exile, and return to power for third timeEdit

Soon after, Herodotus reports that Peisistratos, who had been previously married and had two grown sons, did not want to have any children with his new wife, the daughter of Megakles, and would not have intercourse with her in the traditional manner. Apparently, Peisistratos was unwilling to compromise the political futures of his sons, Hipparchus and Hippias. Furious, Megakles broke off this short-lived alliance with Peisistratos and drove him into exile for a second time, with the help of Peisistratos' enemies.[35][36] During the length of his exile lasting approximately ten years, Peisistratos relocated to Rhaicelus or Rhaecelus, notable for its good agricultural base, in the Strymon river region of northern Greece, and eventually settled in the vicinity of Mount Pangaeus or Pangaion, accumulating wealth from the gold and silver mines located nearby.[37][38] Financed by the mining money, he hired mercenary soldiers and bolstered with the support of allies such as the Thebans and the affluent Lygdamis of the island Naxos, he looked southward for a return to power.

In 546 BC, using Eretria as a base and supported by Eretrian cavalry, Peisistratos landed at Marathon on the northern side of Attica and advanced towards Athens, joined by some local sympathizers from Athens and the surrounding demes. The Athenians mustered a force in opposition and met Peisistratos' forces at Pallene.[39][40] Providing some background details, Herodotus comments that just before the battle commences a seer gave Peisistratos a prophecy that the net has been cast and the tuna will swarm through. With the prophecy both welcomed and understood by Peisistratos, his troops advanced and attacked the Athenian forces who were resting after lunch, easily routing them. While the Athenians retreated and in order to prevent them from reforming their forces, Peisistratos directed his sons to ride after the routed Athenians and announce that they should return home, retaining no anxiety or fear from the situation at hand. With those instructions, the Athenians complied and Peisistratos was able to return to rule Athens for a third time as tyrant, with his reign lasting from 546 BC till his death in 528/527 BC.[41]

Achievements and contributions to Athens during third and final tyrannyEdit

 
Location of cities of ancient Greece and neighbors; Mt. Pangaeus

Analysis of secondary sources regarding both the length, as mentioned previously, and the accomplishments of Peisistratos' first two tyrannies are conflicting and very sparse in details, respectively. For instance, Lavelle hypothesizes that Megakles and the Alkmeonids still held the majority of the political offices in the Athens government as part of the price and negotiation process that Peisistratos had to pay in order to become tyrant, and consequently, Peisistratos perhaps only functioned as a figurehead during his first two times in power.[42]

During the three reigns of Peisistratos in the mid to latter part of the 6th century BC, Athens was beginning its transition to becoming the largest and most dominant of the cities on the Attic peninsula.[43] Starr states that Athens was coalescing into the framework of a city, rather than a loose affiliation of neighboring villages.[44] Perhaps next in importance was Piraeus, the main port city of Attica, just 5 miles southwest of Athens, and this port location was key to granting Athens easy access to maritime trade opportunities and the ocean waterways.[45] Other notable cities in Attica include Marathon and Eleusis.

Culture, religion, and artsEdit

With an emphasis on promoting the city of Athens as a cultural center and enhancing his prestige, Peisistratos instituted a number of actions to show his support for the gods and patronage of the arts. A permanent copying of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey was commissioned by Peisistratos and he also increased the visibility of the Panathenaic festival, whose origins date from earlier in the 6th century and was celebrated to a large degree every four years, with scaled-down versions of the festival every year. Due to the expansion of the Panathenaic festival, Athena became the most revered goddess of Athens, in essence the patron god of the city-state, and the end of the festival would see a parade traveling to Athena's temple at the Acropolis, featuring a robe for the deity made by young Athenian women. Recitations of Homeric poems and athletic competitions became part of the festivities and prizes were given to the winners.

New festivals were inaugurated such as the greater and lesser Dionysia, which honored Dionysus, the god of wine and pleasure, and vase paintings of that period highlighted drinking and exuberant celebratory scenes.[46][47] At the Dionysia festival, prizes were granted for the singing of dithyrambs and by the year 534 BC approximately, tragedy plays were an annual competition occurrence.[47][48] Control of the temple of Demeter, located in Eleusis and honoring the goddesses Demeter and Persephone, was also accomplished by Peisistratos and as a result, the floor plan of a great hall, the Telesterion, was redesigned so a much larger building (27m by 30m) could be built onsite, with completion during the last few years of Peisistratos' reign or during the time of his sons' rule. Completely made of stone, the Telesterion had marble upper works, a Doric style portico, and tiles. The Greater Mysteries festival at Eleusis was an annual event held in the fall of each year, and was a Pan-Hellenic cult event for people both inside and outside of the Attica region.[49][50] Other minor local cults sprinkled throughout Attica were either relocated entirely or in part to the city of Athens.[47]

Policy: domestic and foreignEdit

DomesticEdit

 
Men harvesting olives (ca. 520 BC); British Museum, London

One of the major areas of focus for Peisistratos and his government was the economy, and building and expanding on what his predecessor, Solon, had originally started. Peisistratos, likewise, had a two pronged approach: improve and modify agricultural production as well as expand commerce. In terms of agriculture, Solon had previously initiated a focus on the growth and cultivation of olives, which were better suited to the Athenian climate, as a cash crop. Peisistratos reintroduced a focus on olive production and in conjunction, he allocated funds to help the peasants outside the city of Athens, who were a key constituent bloc of his party, the Hyperakrioi, to obtain land as well as purchase tools and farm equipment.[51][52][53] The small farmer loans were funded in large part by an assessment or tax on agricultural production, a rare documented example of an Athenian direct tax, at a rate of ten percent according to Aristotle.[52][54] A secondary source reports that the tax was closer to five percent.[53] Consequently, providing loans and monies to the rural residents surrounding Athens allowed them to continue working in the fields and to perhaps have them be uninterested in the politics of the city-state.[54]

Peisistratos also initiated a traveling system of judges throughout the countryside to conduct trials on location and even the tyrant himself would occasionally accompany these groups for inspection purposes and conflict resolution. At one point, Peisistratos appeared before the court in his own defense, charged with murder, but the prosecution/accuser dropped the charges, being reluctant or afraid to move forward in the case.[54][53]

On the commerce side, Athenian or Attic pottery was a key export, with small numbers of pottery beginning to arrive in the Black Sea, Italian, and French regions (the modern-day names for these regions) in the 7th century. Under Solon, beginning in the early part of the 6th century, these black-figure pottery commodities began to be exported in ever increasing numbers and distance from Athens, arriving throughout the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea regions. Peisistratos continued to expand this vital pottery trade, with the black-figure pottery being found in Ionia, Cyprus, and as far east as Syria, while to the west, Spain was the most distant market.[51] The popularity of Athenian pottery was noteworthy in the fact that its numbers eventually began to surpass Corinthian pottery exports.[52]

As for the city of Athens itself, Peisistratos embarked on a public building project campaign to improve the infrastructure and architecture of Athens, building new and upgrading old. His administration built roads and worked to improve the water supply of Athens. An aqueduct was connected to the Enneakrounos fountain at the edge of the agora and this marketplace was improved by revising the market lay-out in a more systematic way, improving both its effectiveness and use of space. Archaeologists have discovered agora markers from the 6th century supporting such a claim.[53] Aristocrats had previously owned their private wells and Peisistratos elected to construct fountain houses with public access to water. On the Acropolis, the temple of Athena was reconstructed as the 6th century progressed, and during Peisistratos' rule, the building of a very large temple dedicated to Zeus was initiated, stopped upon his death, resumed several centuries later, and finally completed by Hadrian, a Roman emperor, in 131 AD.[55][56][57] Public rather than private patronage became the hallmark of a Peisistratos-ruled society, providing a steady source of construction jobs to those citizens in need and more affordable housing in the city center. Consequently, more people were able to move to the city of Athens.[56]

To finance these public infrastructure projects as well as increasing the depth and variety of cultural and arts offerings, Peisistratos used the revenue streams generated from the mining at Mount Pangaeus in northern Greece and the silver mines located closer to home at Laurion, owned by the state, in Attica.[58][53] However, despite evidence of silver coinage, R. J. Hopper writes that silver was indeed produced during this time, but the amount is unclear for the years prior to 484/483 BC and it is possible that historians and researchers have overestimated the importance of the mines.[59]

Didrachm of Athens, 545–510 BC
 
Obv: Four-spoked wheel Rev: Incuse square, divided diagonally
Silver didrachm of Athens of heraldic type from the time of Peisistratos, 545–510 BC

Regarding the minting of silver coins, evidence of this production started to appear in the early 6th century in various Greek city-states.[60] Pomeroy contends that the first stamping of coins, imprinted with the image of an owl, was initiated by either Peisistratos or his sons. This owl depiction symbolized the goddess of wisdom, Athena, and these coins quickly became the most widely recognized currency in the Aegean region.[56] Meanwhile, Verlag argues that the minting most likely started in the first decade of Peisistratos' third reign in power (546-circa 535 BC), but the design was the so-called Wappenmünzen (heraldic coins) at first and then followed by a change to the owl currency version. The dating and placement of this change is uncertain, either late in the Peisistratid dynastic era or early in the democratic era of Athens.[61]

ForeignEdit

 
Roman copy of Greek bust of Miltiades (original dating to 5th−4th century BC)

In conjunction with the burgeoning Athenian commerce, Peisistratos conducted a foreign policy, especially in the central Aegean Sea, with the intent of building alliances with friendly leaders. On the island of Naxos, the wealthy Lygdamis, who assisted Peisistratos in his triumphant return from his second exile, was installed as ruler and tyrant, and Lygdamis, in turn, placed Polycrates as ruler of the island Samos. Peisistratos reassumed control of the port city, Sigeion or Sigeum, on the coast of western Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), placing one of his sons in charge of the government.

In addition, Peisistratos was able to establish an Athenian presence in the Thracian Chersonese, now known as the Gallipoli peninsula located in modern-day Turkey, by dispatching Miltiades, son of Kimon, to rule as tyrant.[56] The Hellespont waterway was a very narrow strait of water between the Thracian Chersonese and Anatolia, and the Thracian peninsula was a key location along travel routes between Asia Minor (Anatolia) and the European continent. Herodotus reports in the Histories that Miltiades was sent over to take control of the Chersonese at a later time in the 6th century, in the year 516, by the sons of Peisistratos. In the process of assuming power, Miltiades procured the support of 500 mercenaries, similar to a Peisistratos' tactic, and married a Thracian princess.[62]

Popular tyrantEdit

As opposed to the modern definition of a tyrant, a one-person leader whose ruling attributes are often considered to be violent and oppressive, the usage of the term tyrant during the Archaic Age of Greece did not automatically imply dictatorial or harsh actions by that individual. Rather, the Greek populace would judge a tyrant's reign, good or bad, in regards to their actions and behavior. Some tyrannies were short-lived while others, like Peisistratos' rule, could last quite long, even decades, if perceived to be a good tyranny and accepted by the people. By definition, tyrants obtained their ruling position by force or other unconstitutional means, and they did not inherit this authoritarian role in the manner of a king or via monarchial succession. However, once in power, many tyrants attempted to establish the propagation of their rule by passing the leadership mantle to their sons, similar to the approach of Peisistratos. Usually, a tyrant would come from the ranks of fellow aristocrats, but would frequently rally the poor and powerless to their cause in a bid to obtain power, exemplified by Peisistratos when he formed the Hyperakrioi faction. To ease their transition into power and encourage societal security, tyrants could elect to keep the status quo for government institutions and laws, and even legacy officeholders, rather than purge them,[63]

In Herodotus' view as documented in the Histories, after assuming power for the first time, Peisistratos managed the city of Athens even-handedly and fairly, maintaining the government and political office structure as is with no changes to existing laws. However, after reassuming control in 546 BC for his third stint as head of state, Herodotus allows that he firmly established his tyranny with his mercenary force, increased his revenues from mining sources in Attica and Mt Pangaeus, placed opponents' children as hostages on the island of Naxos, and exiled both Alkmeonids as well as other Athenian dissenters (whether by freely chosen exile or by force is unclear).[64] Pomeroy reaffirms Herodotus' commentary regarding Peisistratos third turn in power, adding that Peisistratos installed relatives and friends in the offices of various archonships and detained the children of some Athenians as hostages to deter future uprisings and discourage opposition.[65][66] Some of these actions would contradict the perception that Peisistratos ruled justly and followed the law. Aristotle seconds the initial remarks of Herodotus by characterizing Peisistratos' reign as moderate and mild, describing the ruler as having a pleasant and tender disposition. As an illustration, Aristotle relates the case of a member of Peisistratos' entourage encountering a man tilling a very stony plot of land and asking what was the yield of this land. The anonymous man responded that he received physical soreness and aches and Peisistratos received one-tenth of this yield. Due to his honesty, Peisistratos exempts the man from paying his taxes. Aristotle also comments that Peisistratos' government functioned more in a constitutional manner and less like a tyranny.[67]

Rosivach writes that the Peisistratid dynasty did not fundamentally change the government as originally comprised by Solon; instead, they maintained power by installing allies in important governmental positions, threatening force as needed, and using marriage alliances, all being tactics residing outside the constitution and law.[68] Forsdyke chronicles the certain usage of Greek words by Herodotus in his Histories in reference to Peisistratos' tyranny and advocates that a society ruled by a tyrant has weak citizens while a democratic society has strong and free people.[69]

Legacy and aftermathEdit

Peisistratos died in 527 or 528 BC, and his eldest son, Hippias, succeeded him as tyrant of Athens. Hippias, along with his brother, Hipparchus, kept many of the existing laws and taxed the Athenians at no more than five percent of their income. In 514 BC, a plot to kill both Hippias and Hipparchos was conceived by two lovers, Harmodius and Aristogeiton, after Hipparchos had unsuccessfully solicited the younger Harmodius and subsequently insulted his sister. However, Hipparchus was the only one assassinated, and per Thucydides, was mistakenly identified as the supreme tyrant due to being the victim. However, Hippias was the actual leader of Athens, remaining in power for another four years. During this time, Hippias became more paranoid and oppressive in his actions, killing many of the Athenian citizens.[70] The Alcmaeonid family helped depose the tyranny by bribing the Delphic oracle to tell the Spartans to liberate Athens, which they did in 510 BC. Following the capture of their children, Hippias and the other Peisistratids were forced to accept the terms dictated by the Athenians to recover their children and were exiled, being provided safe passage to Sigeion.[71]

The surviving Peisistratid ruler, Hippias, eventually joined the court of King Darius of Persia, and went on to aid the Persians in their attack on Marathon (490 BC) during the Greco-Persian Wars, acting as a guide.[72][73] Upon the fall of the Peisistratid dynasty in 510 and the deposition of Hippias, Kleisthenes of Athens ultimately triumphs in a power struggle, dividing the Athenian citizens into ten new tribes, creating a Council of Five Hundred as a representative assembly, and ushering in the age of democratic government in the year 508/507.[74][75] According to Pomeroy, the tyranny of Peisistratos and his sons functioned as a social leveling mechanism, regardless of economic status, for those outside the Peisistratid faction and sympathizers. Hence, the democratic style of government that evolved to replace the overthrow of the Peisistratids was aided by the circumstances and outcomes of the outgoing tyranny.[76]

Obol of Athens, 545–525 BC
 
Obv: An archaic Gorgoneion Rev: Square incuse
An archaic silver obol of Athens of heraldic type from the time of Peisistratos, 545–525 BC

Upon the passing of Peisistratos, the coalescing of Athens and its city-state population into a tightly knit society, both of a religious and civil nature, was well underway, even though Athens was still much less influential militarily and politically compared to Sparta, its future ally and rival of the upcoming 5th century BC.[77] Per Aristotle, the tyranny during the time of Peisistratus was commonly thought of as "the age of gold". This reference to an age of gold harkened back to the mythological god Cronos/Cronus, who ruled during what was called the Golden Age.[78]

During the era of Athenian democracy, the development of ostracism, the expelling of a citizen for up to ten years, as a governmental management tool arose in reaction to the tyranny of the Peisistratids, and was envisioned, in part, as a defense against potential tyrants or individuals who amassed too much power or influence.[79]

The poet Dante in Canto XV of the Purgatorio, the second installment of the Divine Comedy, references Peisistratos as responding in a gentle way when interacting with an admirer of his daughter.[80][81]

According to Suda, the bodyguards of Peisistratos were called wolf-feet (Λυκόποδες), because they always had their feet covered with wolf-skins, to prevent frostbite; alternatively, because they had a wolf symbol on their shields.[82]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Everdell, William R. (2000). The End of Kings: A History of Republics and Republicans. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 42. ISBN 978-0226224824.
  2. ^ Starr, Chester (April 2019). "Peisistratus: TYRANT OF ATHENS". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  3. ^ Holladay, James (Apr 1977). "The Followers of Peisistratus". Greece & Rome. Cambridge University Press. 24 (1): 40–56. doi:10.1017/S0017383500019628. JSTOR 642688. Retrieved May 22, 2021 – via JSTOR.
  4. ^ Shanaysha M. Furlow Sauls, The Concept of Instability and the Theory of Democracy in the Federalist, (PhD diss., Duke University, 2008), p. 77
  5. ^ a b "Tyrant, ancient Greece". Britannica. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  6. ^ a b Higbie, Carolyn (2009). Strassler, Robert B. (ed.). The Landmark Herodotus, The Histories, Appendix L. New York: Anchor Books. p. 786.
  7. ^ Dewald, Carolyn (2009). Strassler, Robert B. (ed.). The Landmark Herodotus, The Histories, Appendix T. New York: Anchor Books. p. 835.
  8. ^ Higbie, Carolyn (2009). Strassler, Robert B. (ed.). The Landmark Herodotus, The Histories, Appendix L. New York: Anchor Books. p. 791.
  9. ^ Macquire, Kelly (October 6, 2020). "Pylos". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  10. ^ Silk, M. S. (2004). Homer: The Iliad (ProQuest Ebook Central). Cambridge University Press. p. 28.
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