The Ancient Greek Tyrant Who Ruled Athens Three Times

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Peisistratus was a tyrant loved by the peopleAncient Greek Tyrant, Pisistratus, enters Athens with fake goddess Athena. M. A. Barth, 1832. Public Domain

Pisistratus was an past Greek statesman who ruled Athens 3 times arsenic a tyrant. However, his reforms laid the foundations for the city’s aboriginal supremacy successful Greece.

Born astir 600 BC, helium came to powerfulness with a coup successful 561 BC and ruled Athens arsenic a tyrant 2 much times. This was from 559 to 556 BC and again successful 546 until his decease successful 528 BC. However, helium was precise fashionable with Athenians.

His defence of the little people of Athens is an aboriginal illustration of populism. While successful power, helium confronted the aristocracy and importantly reduced their privileges, confiscating their estates and giving them to the poor.

He besides funded galore spiritual and creator programs successful bid to amended the system and administer wealthiness much arsenic among Athenians.

Pisistratus’ bequest is the unification of the Attica portion lands, the enactment of the Panathenaic Games, the archetypal effort to nutrient a definitive variation of Homer’s epics, which until past were hand-written copies disposable lone to the rich.

The Athenian ruler promoted the cults of Athena and Dionysus and began the operation of the temple to Athena connected the Acropolis. He besides promoted a fig of different nationalist works, including the Lyceum, temples to Apollo and Zeus, and the Fountain of the Nine Springs.

Furthermore, helium supported literature, the arts, and the city’s Dionysia festival flourished during his time. Athenian coinage was introduced by astir 550 BC and whitethorn bespeak a argumentation of his, though determination is nary definite notation successful modern documents arsenic to such.

Ancient Greek Tyrant Pisistratus, Relative of Solon

Pisistratus, was the lad of a philosopher and teacher named Hippocrates (unrelated to the physician). According to Plutarch, his parent was a relative of the parent of Solon, the large Athenian lawmaker and statesman, who was considered 1 of the 7 omniscient men of past Greece.

He became known arsenic an Athenian wide who captured the larboard of Nisaea successful Megara successful astir 565 BC. This triumph opened up the unofficial commercialized blockage that had been contributing to nutrient shortages successful Athens during the erstwhile decades.

During that time, Athenians were divided into 2 factions, namely the Pediakoi, which referred to the colonisation that resided connected the plains and produced grain, led by Lycurgus, and the Paralioi, oregon the colonisation surviving on the seashore that was progressive successful the food trade. They were led by Megacles.

Then determination were the Hyperakrioi, who were not antecedently represented by the archetypal 2 factions and dwelled chiefly successful the hills. They were the poorest of the Athenian population. Peisistratus organized them into a 3rd faction. This enactment grossly outnumbered the different 2 parties combined.

When Solon near Athens successful 560 BC, Peisistratus, arsenic person of the Hyperakrioi seized the Acropolis with a radical of bodyguards and became the tyrant of Athens.

In Plutarch’s account, Solon accused Athenians of stupidity and cowardice for allowing this to happen. However, Peisistratus’ regularisation did not last, arsenic helium was driven retired by Lycurgus, Megacles, and others wrong the year.

Peisistratus guard, past  Greek amphoraGuard of Peisistratus. Attic black-figure amphora. On the main side, a unsocial country of the guards successful formation. By the Swing Painter, 530-525 BC. National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Credit: wikimedia commons / Zde CC BY-SA 4.0

Pisistratus successful Power

The ancient Greek tyrant, Pisistratus, returned successful 559 BC with the assistance of Megacles, who nary longer cooperated with  Lycurgus against Pisistratus. Megacles had allied with Peisistratus connected the information that helium wed Megacles’ daughter.

The Athenians were persuaded by Megacles that goddess Athena was bringing Pisistratus home. Pisistratus returned from exile successful a carriage accompanied by a pistillate disguised arsenic Athena.

Later, Megacles was angered by the information that Pisistratus refused to person children with his daughter. The tyrant was exiled erstwhile again by Lycurgus and Megacles successful 556 BC.

Pisistratus went to Euboea and lived determination for astir 10 years. In Euboea, helium accumulated wealthiness done mining. With his wealth, helium formed a sizeable bodyguard  force.

In 546 BC, helium landed successful Marathon with his bodyguards and forces of Lygdamis of Naxos. Pisistratus was riding connected a chariot with a gangly young pistillate dressed arsenic the goddess Athena successful bid to deceive Athenians into believing that his instrumentality was sanctioned by the gods.

In speech for his help, Pisistratus rewarded Lygdamis by proclaiming him tyrant of Naxos.

Upon his return, the Athenians accepted him favorably. Pisistratus consolidated his powerfulness by making caller onshore laws for agrarian citizens, getting them to align with him. He besides kept a ample unit of mercenaries and took hostages from aristocratic families truthful they would not enactment against him.

He maintained the antiauthoritarian forms introduced by Solon but ensured that household members held the highest offices.

Contribution to the Greatness of Athens

The Athenian tyrant’s policies look to person been designed to summation the unity and majesty of the Athenian city-state. He brought the large shrine of Demeter astatine Eleusis nether authorities power and constructed the archetypal large Hall of the Mysteries (Telesterion) for the yearly rites of initiation into the cult.

Athena present became the main deity to beryllium revered by each Athenian citizens. Pisistratus constructed an introduction gross (later destroyed and replaced by Pericles’ Propylaea) connected the Acropolis. Many sculptured fragments of limestone buildings from his epoch person been recovered connected the Acropolis.

Festivals and lit besides flourished successful his time. The tyrant enhanced the glory of the Panathenaea, a yearly festival to Athena, done diversion contests and prizes for bards who recited the Homeric epics each 4 years.

Pisistratus enactment the cult of Dionysus nether authorities sponsorship. Prizes were awarded astatine the yearly Dionysia festival for the singing of dithyrambs and, from 534, for the show of tragedies.

Poets specified arsenic Anacreon lived astatine the tribunal of Pisistratus and his sons, who besides encouraged the postulation of oracles and supported the celebrated soothsayer Onomacritus.

In regards to the city, Pisistratus improved its h2o proviso by gathering an aqueduct that fed the Enneakrounos fountain connected the borderline of the agora. He besides beautified and systematized the marketplace itself.

Pisistratus gave loans to tiny farmers for tools and equipment. He reduced aristocratic power implicit agrarian Attica done authorities regularisation and instituted a strategy of traveling judges to supply authorities trials of agrarian cases connected the spot. He himself made inspection tours.

The tyrant besides generated gross from the metallic mines of Laurium, making them authorities property, and dues were exacted from the increasing commercialized astatine Athenian harbors. He instituted a tax, apt of 5 percent, connected cultivation production.

Athenian manufacture and commerce expanded tremendously successful the second fractional of the sixth century. The main publication of Pisistratus was astir apt the warrant of interior tranquility.

The spiritual and patriotic unification of Athens by Pisistratus saw the city-state making large progress. As Aristotle noted, it became a communal saying that the tyranny of Pisistratus had been the property of Cronus, the aureate age.

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