Thrasybulus of Miletus

Thrasybulus (Greek: Θρασύβουλος ὁ Μιλήσιος) was the tyrant of Miletus in the 7th century BC. Under his rule, Miletus fought a lengthy war against Lydia. This war ended without a decisive victor (a result that Herodotus credits to Thrasybulus's tricking Alyattes into making peace.[1]). Following the war, Miletus and Lydia concluded an alliance.

Thrasybulus was an ally of Periander, the tyrant of Corinth. He features in a famous anecdote from Herodotus's Histories,[2] in which a messenger from Periander asks Thrasybulus for advice on ruling.[3] Thrasybulus, instead of responding, takes the messenger for a walk in a field of wheat, where he proceeds to cut off all of the best and tallest ears of wheat. The message, correctly interpreted by Periander, was that a wise ruler would preempt challenges to his rule by "removing" those prominent men who might be powerful enough to challenge him; this story gave the name to tall poppy syndrome.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Herodotus The Histories, 1.20-23f
  2. ^ Herodotus The Histories, 5.92f
  3. ^ Aristotle tells the same story albeit with reversed roles (Thrasybulus asks Periander) in Politics, 3, 1284a and Politics, 5, 1311a


  • Fine, John V.A. The Ancient Greeks: A critical history (Harvard University Press, 1983) ISBN 0-674-03314-0