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Archaic Greek Tyranny Reconsidered*

Konrad H. Kinzl (Trent University)

 

   

   

 

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In the present study, instead of attempting to provide a general theory1 regarding the multifaceted problems of archaic Greek tyranny I shall address two questions in particular, using three “test cases”: I shall probe the ancient sources for their intrinsic value as evidence for historical developments; and I shall investigate whether the term “archaic tyranny” is suited to be applied in a general and undifferentiated way. Any attempt at analysing the development of the ancient concept of tyrannis is deliberately avoided in order to keep the present study within reasonable limits. I also posit a priori that as a historical rule under different political conditions different forms of rule developed;2 and that it is possible to construct a “Herodotean” chronology on the basis of his work which is consistent in itself and presented by him bit by bit in a variety of passages.3 This Herodotean chronology may then be translated into our own absolute chronology (whilst regrading Herodotos it would be a mistake to operate with the terms “relative” and “absolute” separatim).4 On the basis of this procedure we can state that Herodotos has hardly anything to report that goes back much further than ca. 600 BCE and that would still qualify in our eyes as history.

The three “test cases” in our study are: Pheidon of Argos, Kleisthenes of Sikyon, and Peisistratos of Athens and his sons.

 

I. Pheidon of Argos5

 

Amongst the wooers of Agariste the daughter of Kleisthenes of Sikyon6 Herodotos names the two Peloponnesians Onomastos of Elis (6,127,3) and Leokedes7 son of Pheidon. He labels Pheidon tyrannos of the Argives and adds that it was he who gave the

 

   

   

 

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Peloponnesians ta metra, and who behaved most outrageously amongst all Greeks by removing the Eleian agonothetai of the Olympics and usurped the direction of the games for himself (6,127,3). Modern scholarship tends to dismiss these snippets of information as contradictory in themselves. Because Kleisthenes was according to 5,67,1 embroiled in warfare against Argos he cannot have accepted an Argive wooer for his daughter. It is also illogical to have Pheidon’s son Leokedes and the Eleian Onomastos present at the same event, given the violent action of Pheidon at Olympia. This criticism is based on the supposition that a massive military conflict was going on between Argos and Sikyon at the time of the competition for the hand of Agariste, and that Kleisthenes and Pheidon accordingly were enemies in war at that same time. The same critics also suppose that the Argives intervened in Elis with large military forces and that the two poleis were therefore deeply hostile against each other for a long time. Although it is not impossible to force Herodotos’ text to yield these “facts” there are no compelling reasons for doing so.

For Herodotos this Pheidon belongs to the same generation as Thales, Solon, Kroisos and Kleisthenes of Sikyon. In the Herodotean chronology the enmity between Sikyon and Argos appears to have lain well in the past by the time of the wooing of Agariste (see below p. 26). On our interpretation of the historical and political roles of Kleisthenes and Pheidon in the following pages there is no reason to assume that these two aristocrats, their families and their poleis were forever enemies. The nature of the act of hubris committed by Pheidon at Olympia is most easily explained as a momentary personal excess. Pheidon usurped the adjudication of one single Olympiad — and perhaps not even of all contests. There is nothing in Herodotos about Argive hoplite armies and warfare. Herodotos’ words also ought not to be used to justify the classification of Pheidon as a Tyrant because of the Olympic incident. On the other hand it appears not unlikely that Pheidon was active as a reformer of weights and measures. Such innovations were also attributed to other contemporaries of his (such as Solon). In the collective memory of the Argives, even “the Greeks”, this Pheidon lived on as an unconventional aristocrat to whom one attributed the “Pheidonian weights and measures” and who behaved altogether outrageously at Olympia; and whose son Leokedes was worthy to compete in Sikyon for the hand of the daughter of another aristocrat. The sum of all that was later remembered about him resulted in his being labelled a tyrannos — be it by Herodotos or earlier. The date of death for this no doubt unusual and larger than average aristocrat Pheidon of Argos may be close to the middle of the sixth century BCE.

This seemingly straightforward picture turns into a nearly un-

 

   

   

 

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resolvable puzzle once we leave the world of Herodotos. There we suddenly encounter a Herakleidai and Temenidai descended King of Argos Pheidon. We must at this remind ourselves that for the ancient historian there was no separation of non-historical (mythical) and historical information — even though it objectively of course always existed. If there were genealogical gaps in the transition from mythical to non-mythical times these had to be filled: the chronology of the historical age was stretched to reach further up into the past whilst the age of the heroes was extended downwards, until the two ultimately met at some point. Regarding Argos there is another consideration that must be introduced at the outset: “Die lokale überlieferung von Argos beginnt ... in den späteren epen, unter denen die Phoronis das wichtigste ist;”8 and then there are the purely genealogical works of Akousilaos of Argos and Hellanikos of Lesbos, and it was only Hellanikos who penned a historiographical treatise on this polis9 — all else belongs to the fourth or even later centuries.10

The non-Herodotean sources date Pheidon varyingly from the early ninth to about the middle of the eighth century.11 As for facts we learn virtually nothing except for a Kingship of Pheidon and his Herakleidai family tree that would depart from Herodotos further than merely embellish his account; a possible exception is the striking of the first silver coins on the island of Aigina.12 It is of course objectively nonsensical to combine an early date and silver coinage but this knowledge is owed to very recent numismatic scholarship;13 for the ancient author it is only a small step from reform of weights and measures to the striking of coinage. I leave open the possibility that there is some kind of true historical information behind the alleged connexion with Aigina; archaic reformers travelled widely.

The most intriguing information outside Herodotos is in Aristotle, politics 1310 b 26f., according to which Pheidon of Argos and others TU/RANNOI KATE/STHSAN BASILEI/AS U(PARXOU/SHS. First, it is suggested by Aristotle that Pheidon belonged to the first generation of tyrants, and he also names others who rose to the position of tyrant by other means: Phalaris, Panaitios of Leontinoi, Kypselos, Peisistratos and Dionysios. Panaitios also appears (1316 a 30ff.) in the company of tyrants of whom none is older than Myron the father of Kleisthenes of Sikyon. It is difficult to believe that Aristotle imagined a tyrant who preceded the others in his list by considerably more than a century. However that may be, the transformation into a King had already taken place and Aristotle accepted it as a fact, without, however, abandoning Herodotos’ label Tyrant. There cannot be any

 

   

   

 

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doubt that the non-Herodotean sources cannot be reconciled — for our purposes, however, this would not provide any new point of departure if we could unravel the course of transmission of these sources.

In summing up our investigation of the problems concerning Pheidon we can refer back to our arguments put forward on pp. 23ff. which the non-Herodotean ancient tradition fails to invalidate.14 The figure of King Pheidon of descent from the Herakleidai and Temenidai is a product of the world of myth and thus of no concern to the historian.15 The Argive aristocrat named Pheidon and called a Tyrant by Herodotos, on the other hand, is the only one to be regarded as an authentic historical figure and as such the subject of historical study.

 

II. Kleisthenes of Sikyon16

 

Ancient accounts attach in larger numbers to Kleisthenes and his family. Herodotos devotes to digressions to him: 5,67-68 and 6,126-130; the latter offers the tale of the competition for the hand of his daughter, whilst the former, the central motif of which is represented by the phylai reform of Kleisthenes, is the by far more complex entity. But first we must see if and how Herodotos’ account of Kleisthenes and his actions conforms with the Herodotean chronological edifice. On our interpretation of 6,125,1-126,1 and by carefully correlating it with firm chronological markers within Herodotos’ work not only results in a fixed point in Kleisthenes life but also offers further surprises. Alkmeon’s visit at the court of Kroisos in Sardes after he had acceded to the throne falls in the months or years following the year 56117, whilst Megakles’ appearance in Sikyon cannot antedate all this. The latter episode must have got under way in an Olympic year, which almost beyond doubt results in a Herodotean date for Kleisthenes’ Olympic victory TEQRI/PPW| of 556; from this we may deduce a date of the marriage of Kleisthenes’ daughter Agariste of 555.18

Hardly any clue is provided by Herodotos regarding the date of death of Kleisthenes. According to 5,68,2 it was sixty years after his death19 that the Sikyonians rid themselves of his phylai names to revert to the use of the traditional ones; this cannot have occurred before 496/95. If this were in any way connected with the rôle of the Sikyonians in Kleomenes’ campaign against Argos ca. 494,20 we would have to assume that Kleisthenes died soon after his daughter’s marriage — and in no event later than about the mid-forties of the sixth century. As far as Kleisthenes’ phylai reform is concerned we cannot even try to find a place for it in Herodotos’ chronological construction.21

 

   

   

 

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If, however, my conjecture22 that the Dionysiac compositions called TRAGIKOI\ XOROI/ by Herodotos represent a development that builds on Arion’s dithyrambs written at Korinth in the age of Periandros is correct we obtain an admittedly rather hypothetical indication which would render a date about the third decade of the sixth century likely.23

So much about Herodotos’ chronological ideas as I see them. Let us no see what kind of character emerges from Herodotos’ description of Kleisthenes. In doing so we may regard the tale in 6,126ff. as secondary and shall turn straight to the important passage 6,67f. The phylai reform is clearly the central feature. Causes and intended effect remain unexplained, both subjectively (Herodotos) and objectively. Although Herodotos’ point of departure is the element of “imitation”24 of the actions of the Sikyonian Kleisthenes by his homonymous Athenian grandson the general political situation is of equal significance: Kleisthenes was confronted with war against Argos.25 Herodotos’ account of his reforms paint Kleisthenes as one who plans with determination and circumspection and whose acts are subservient to the common weal of his polis. Sikyon’s security is of course guaranteed only if the gods are with it and if it is internally united. The measures reported in 5,67 serve the former, those in 5,68 the latter purpose, and we must view them under this perspective.

Despite its no doubt profound effects we must here refrain from attempting to interpret the religious and cultural policy of Kleisthenes.26 This part of his reforms includes: the prohibition of one form of artistic activity — the recitals of Homeric poetry by the rhapsodes — and the promotion of another one — the Dionysiac TRAGIKOI\ XOROI/ — ; the creation of a new heroic cult located “in the prytaneion”; a greater emphasis on Dionysos; and finally the relegation of Adrestos to a state of complete insignificance. When it comes to the phylai reform27 which was no doubt represented a political and social juncture of profound importance Herodotos regrettably limits himself to the curious feature of the new phylai names which, following popular Greek folk etymology, he connects with less than respectable animal names or, in the case of Kleisthenes’ own phyle, with “rulers”. Thus Kleisthenes caused the Sikyonians to be the objects of ridicule. The Sikyonians, however, kept these names for many decades. Herodotos dos not say that it was Kleisthenes’ intention to turn the Sikyonian into the laughing stocks of Greece; nor does he say that he wished to pour ridicule on his fellow citizens who happened not to belong to his own phyle; and one cannot read into his lines anything to the effect that the Sikyonians were forced

 

   

   

 

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to continue using the Kleisthenic names.

It would be illogical to suggest that Kleisthenes was able to strengthen Sikyon against Argos by insulting the majority of his subjects. It will be argued that the name he chose for his own phyle — Archelaoi (“rulers of the people”) — constitutes incontrovertible evidence for exactly this view. In my judgement the name Archelaoi proves exactly the opposite as well as providing the key to the understanding of the Kleisthenic phylai names. Abstract concepts do not represent suitable eponyms to serve as heroic fathers of phylai, and at rate certainly no in the early sixth century, whilst heroic figures from the mythical past are the typical phylai eponyms. We also know a hero Archelaos: he is the son of Temenos, the founder of the Argive Temenidai dynasty, who was robbed of his inheritance by his evil brothers and driven from Argos, and who was later claimed by the house of the Argeadai kings of Makedonia as their founding ancestor. Thus the image of a haughty and arrogant Kleisthenes who emphasised the dominant rôle of his own phyle over and against the others by giving it an abstract name in a game of political propaganda lacks evidence and logic.

The opposite side of this image is also without foundation: the less than reputable quadrupeds named by Herodotos do not serve as good eponyms. We encounter even greater linguistic obstacles when we attempt to derive Herodotos’ U(A=TAI, O)NEA=TAI, XOIREA=TAI from U(=S, O)/NOS, XOI=ROS. Thus our two-pronged argument based on the fact that the phylai reform and therefore the new phylai names had to serve the function of strengthening all of Sikyon against Argos and that phylai names must be derived from the names of eponymous heroes rules out the possibility of speaking of a “schweren Affront, nicht nur gegen den heimischen Adel, sondern gegen die dorischen Herren allenthalben”.28 The names in question will have to be derived from the names of heroes, preferably ones for which the sagas attest enmity against Argos.29

In summing up the facts gleaned from Herodotos we arrive at a picture which in many respects resembles that of Pheidon of Argos (cf. above pp. 23ff.). He presents himself to us as one of those archaic noblemen whose memory lived on because they had impressed themselves on the collective memory of the people by extraordinary measures. In the case of Kleisthenes of Sikyon these were both his reforms in the area of cult and his innovations in the political sphere (and his curious phylai names will have been remembered especially strongly); he also was an aristocrat whose family tree could be traced back to his is great-grandfather, who won an Olympic victory, and who was able to assemble noblemen from all over Greece on his estates to compete for the hand of his daughter.

 

   

   

 

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His year of death can be placed at ca. the middle of the sixth century (or shortly thereafter).

Yet in Kleisthenes’ case — similar to that of Pheidon of Argos — the seemingly unproblematic reconstruction of facts and events vanishes once we leave the world of Herodotos and direct our attention to other relevant information from antiquity. In this case, however, it is not a problem of identity with which we are confronted, and the chronological problems are more limited. Rather, it is the dynastic Tyranny of the Orthagoridai which we encounter in the extra-Herodotean tradition (together with the genealogical problems of a Kleisthenes who is represented as a late member in that dynasty). Two pieces of information are available to determine the chronology of that Orthagoridai dynasty of tyrants: the Olympic victory in the chariot race won by the Tyrant Myron (648),30 and the total number of years of tyranny at Sikyon (100).31

It has been attempted to arrive at firm dates for beginning and end of tyranny at Sikyon by turning to a papyrus fragment that dates from the second century BCE.32 This text is in part close to a tradition which deals with expulsions of tyrants by the Spartans which we also encounter in Plutarch33 and in a scholion on a text by the Attic orator Aischines.34 There are, however, grave obstacles arrayed against a convincing interpretation of this papyrus35 and it would seem best to remove this fragment from any serious discussion of the Orthagoridai dynasty and its chronology.

Apart from that tradition in which Sikyon and its Tyranny figures only because of the detail of a Spartan expulsion we are confronted with a tradition which is by and large rather homogeneous and in which the shared central motif is represented by a deep-rooted hatred of tyrants.36 This group of texts also contains a strongly developed component characterised by an interest in oracles.37 Aristotle,38 incidentally, who does not express a particularly hostile opinion about the Sikyonian Tyranny, may be grouped in the context of this tradition, since he fails to report any facts that would depart from it.

If we leave aside the so-called Sikyonian Anagraphe, the only historian representing Sikyonian Lokalhistorie in the fourth century is Menaichmos of Sikyon. To this we may add the relevant sections of Ephoros and the Sikyonian Constitution by Aristotle which we may, however, assume to derive on Menaichmos as the local source. Menaichmos also wrote a work entitled Pythikos — a treatise of the same name by Aristotle, however, soon rendered it obsolete.39 All that we know of Sikyonian history in the times of Menaichmos is that was not spared the scourge or tyranny.40 It would appear obvious to ascribe the tirades of hate found in the oracle-embellished tradition to the author of local Sikyonian history Menaichmos.

Thus Andreas — in Herodotos the great-grandfather of Kleisthenes — is turned into the father of the founder of dynasty of Tyrants

 

   

   

 

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Orthagoras. He is said to have been of lowly descent.41 Orthagoras’ rise to power follows the tired old schematic account42 we encounter over and over again — modelled on the early career of Peisistratos as reported by Herodotos (1,29, complete with oracles received by the father). If the historian considers without preconceived notions the stereotypical nature of the account, its hostile tendency, as well as the meaning of the noun to which the name Orthagoras corresponds — all this ought to raise serious doubt regarding the historicity of it all.43

In my judgement Orthagoras is nothing more than a literary invention. The accounts of the Tyranny of Kleisthenes and of his predecessor and brother Myron is most hostile part in this tradition.44 This feature too follows the typical scheme of an increasingly despotic rule of the successor generation(s); all this should not be accorded any degree of historical authenticity. In terms of the genealogy this tradition departs from Herodotos in that it both adds to Herodotos’ family tree of Kleisthenes and transforms it into a kind of list of successive tyrants. Modern reconstructions of “Orthagorid genealogy”45 illustrate what this artificial family tree may have looked like — they lack any scholarly merit, however.

Thus we have reached a “stalemate”, as it were. On the one hand there is the testimony of Herodotos, in itself consistent and of substance and without contradictions that cannot be explained from within his account. On the other hand, however, and not reconcilable with Herodotos, there is a mixed alliance — passages in Aristotle which are meant to illustrate his theoretical points, fragments of scandal mongering and “tabloid”-like reportage of the calibre of Nikolaos of Damaskos, a snippet of a papyrus text of uncertain provenance and value, and so forth. Faced with this situation we may choose one of three ways out: we may either strive somehow to reconcile all extant sources; or we may judge the non-Herodotean tradition (or at least portions of it) as in essence credible and superior to Herodotos; or we may elect to toss the “mixed alliance” out and treat Herodotos as the only “orthodox” and authentic source.46 My own choice is to follow Herodotos.

Kleisthenes of Sikyon represents the personification of the archaic nobleman. His political influence is determined by his inherited land holdings and the small farmers working it. This in turn enables him to play a leading rôle in the political, cultural and military spheres. This also secures for him a place in the collective memory of his fellow citizens. However, in order to play a leading rôle in the reorganisation of the phylai (if not in having initiated it), to immortalise his name as a patron of Dionysiac art in word and music, to step forward as military leader in times of war — in order to accomplish all this no Dynastic Tyranny with all its attendant tales of intrigue and violence. We are entirely justified in following Herodotos

 

   

   

 

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and view Kleisthenes as that singular figure (who rose above all others in many respects and thus deserved in Herodotos’ thinking the title Tyrant) as whom he presented him. We must, however, put Herodotos’ account in perspective. It is the facts only which permit us to render a historian’s verdict.

 

III. Peisistratos of Athens and his sons.47

 

In the years in which of the Kleisthenic State was built and Athens was confronted by enemies on three fronts envoys were dispatched to the court of the Persian satrap in Sardes.48 They accomplished their mandate but on their return their diplomatic success was ignored and the Athenians wished to have nothing to do with what had been negotiated. There can of course be no doubt that the return of the Peisistratidai represented a conditio sine qua non for Persia’s taking the side of Athens. But why was it that an arrangement between Athens and Persia would collapse over precisely this detail? The Athenians could hardly expect that the Persians would not wish to be represented in Athens in some way — Hippias on kept on a tight leash by the Persians ought to have been preferable to Isagoras whom the Spartans granted a free reign, or Hippias unfettered by anyone as he was known from before 511/10. It is obvious that the Persians failed to comprehend (perhaps because it had not yet become entirely clear in the minds of the envoys themselves) that the Kleisthenic State did not stand for reform as a form of entertainment but was laying in the most uncompromising way the foundations for a government and administration built on the practice and the ideal of the rule of law.49 It was this and nothing less than this that would have had to be sacrificed if one had obtained Persian aid by accepting Hippias back. There was no choice in Athens but to disavow the work of their own envoys.50 This proves that Hippias had made himself guilty of criminal acts perpetrated during his reign of terror that had led to his expulsion. He was indeed a Tyrant, and Athens indeed suffered Tyranny. So we cast our gaze back to the sixties of the sixth century and to the colourful career of the Tyrant’s father Peisistratos son of Hippokrates.

It is hardly an exaggeration so state that the history of Athens was largely determined by the events of the first third of the sixth century. It also represents a period in which deeply rooted aristocratic strife erupts into the open. Both central to and towering over all this there is the figure of Solon. Other names are also recorded, be it thanks to the archon list, or because of their prominent rôle in the ever-changing infighting amongst the aristocratic staseis. The personality of Peisistratos occupies

 

   

   

 

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a prominent position in the political struggles, first with his emergence as a military leader (in my judgement indubitably in the official position of an archon polemarchos)51 against Megara in the early sixties.52 Until his death four decades later in the archonship of Philoneos53 he was time and again decisively to influence the course of Athenian politics. According to conventional wisdom this occurred in the shape of three periods during which he ruled Athens as the Tyrant and which are clearly separated by two phases in his life which he spent as an exile away from Athens. It could not escape the critical eye of Julius Beloch that something is not quite right here. By fusing the first two episodes of Peisistratidai Tyranny into one, however, he succeeded only in throwing out the baby with the bath water54 — because, as it seems to me, because he still could not free himself entirely from tradition.

In my judgement the question central to the problem of the “Three Tyrannies” of Peisistratos is represented by the task of examining Peisistratos’ position vis à vis and within Athenian State and Athenian society. This attempt, however, would seem meaningful only if we succeed in separating historical fact from its surrounding anachronistically contaminated environment. If the facts thus extracted were then to lend themselves to being reconstituted as a historically meaningful whole (although in a different light from, say, Herodotos) our experiment should have led to a result that commands the necessary measure of historical probability and credibility.

During the course of the back and forth of aristocratic staseis55 Peisistratos had a body guard consisting of KORUNHFO/ROI granted by the People’s Assembly. We learn from this special arrangement that stasis does not by definition include violence, or else Peisistratos could have used armed gangs to intimidate his political opponents. Peisistratos and his club wielding “body guards” continue by occupying the Akropolis. Now, there are features of the archaic Akropolis which are contested — it is an undeniable geological reality that there was no fresh water available on the plateau of the archaic Akropolis (cf. Hdt. 5,65,1). The ancient and venerable fortress-like rock with its cultic sites may have served superbly as a refuge — it is hardly a suitable locale from which to govern.56 The opposing forces remain unaffected and are thus able to launch a concerted action. The man on the Akropolis together with his club bearing comrades is thrown out of Athens and the customary agenda of stasis is resumed. When Megakles, however, is in danger

 

   

   

 

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of being defeated he thinks up a way of broadening his political base, not unlike the strategy which his son would some fifty years later employ against Isagoras.57 The crucial moment apparently was who would succeed in garnering the support of the political groupings that were leaning towards Peisistratos58 — a direct alliance with Peisistratos himself would be the safest way towards this end. Peisistratos, however, was apparently eager enough to return to Athens to play along with Megakles. Yet Megakles, when he learns that Peisistratos practises a well-known method of birth control, throws kicks him out without further ado. If any of the participants in this deserves the title Tyrant, it is sure Megakles. Peisistratos, however, remains in exile for the next ten years. During this decade there may have been a cooling down of political tensions, Megakles may have been able to consolidate his predominant position, and new groupings may have formed, especially around the half-brothers Kimon son of Stesagoras and Miltiades son of Kypselos, as well as Hippokleides son of Tisandros who was somehow a relative of theirs.59

The second return of Peisistratos had been planned over a long time and systematically. Peisistratos may also be assumed to have spent his ten years in exile not only preoccupied with thoughts of his return but also what measures to take after his return which would render a further expulsion next to impossible. We may pointedly put the question whether the historical essence of Peisistratos’ scheme was to force his and his family’s way back into Attika and to secure for himself a safe future — or whether he was merely the brooding tyrant whose only aim in life was to force his will on his Polis and to humiliate his fellow aristocrats.

If we survey without prejudice the remaining almost two decades until his death the image of the evil tyrant does not present itself as an immutable historical truth. Now, there can be no question regarding the nature of the return itself: it was accomplished by the use of force with the aid of foreign allies and personal mercenaries60 and with such determination that a number of leading aristocrats quickly fled the country — not all of them, however, as can be seen in the example of the elder Miltiades who thought he was powerful enough (and apparently was) simply to stay put on his estates.61 He too admittedly left Attika soon after; not as a political refugee, however, but as a highly respected oikistes of Thracian Chersonesos in which position he extended the boundaries of Athens to the Hellespont, as it were.62 Developments during the following years, in any event, do not convey the all too

 

   

   

 

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familiar impression of an Athens in the grip of despotic rule. One such indication is provided by the fact that the aristocrats who had gone into exile did not stay in exile for very long, as can be demonstrated by the example of two particularly prominent cases.

The elder Kimon, the father of the younger Miltiades, is said to have had his son with him in Athens; this remark can hardly refer to a time other than that of the growing up of Miltiades, i.e. to the years around 540.63 He also achieved the spectacular feat of winning three successive Olympic competitions with the same team of four horses; he dedicated the second of these victories generously to Peisistratos and subsequently returned to Athens. Nothing appear more obvious than to date this second victory to the Olympiad that followed Peisistratos’ violent return (544).64

Our second prominent example is the family of Megakles himself. They too had fled. In the year 535 or 534 or 533, however, we hear of the first tragic performance of Thespis.65 To accomplish this Thespis required the sponsorship of a wealthy patron who had a special concern in Dionysiac matters. I incline to attribute this sponsorship to the family of Megakles,66 which would yield a clear hint at an early return of that family. There is also not the slightest indication that aristocratic strife of the kind that we encountered earlier (and which, although under altered circumstances, resumed towards the end of the century) would have continued.

Whoever attempts to play down this historical reality by pointing to the alleged rule of a despot ignores the fact that such a régime of arbitrary abuse of power would have generated resistance — yet our sources contain not a shred of evidence of activities of political emigrés, such as are amply documented for the despotic final phase of Hippias67 and which represented a multifaceted and decisive contribution to his ultimate expulsion. It is equally unthinkable, however, that the Athenian aristocrats would have reconciled themselves to returning to a comfortable life of political inaction under the rule of a despot.

The last remaining “explanation” must be condemned even more strongly: Peisistratos was both a Benefactor and a Tyrant with whom the Attic aristocracy made its peace. History teaches us that there can never be such a creature as a “Beneficent Tyrant”. Those who returned to Athens under the rule of the Tyrant sanctioned his Tyranny and were as guilty as he himself — a conclusion the historian can escape only by redefining the years that followed the first period of shock over the violent return of Peisistratos as years of productive cooperation and peaceful coexistence of the noble families. Such a political departure (one that may have been heralded already after the second expulsion of Peisistratos, see above p. 33) would in itself already have borne the seeds of

 

   

   

 

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noticeable improvement of the political and therefore also the social conditions in Attika.68 The successful expansion of Athenian territory by the elder Miltiades (see above p. 33) had a twofold effect: one the one hand he was accompanied by a number of Athenians whose departure reduced the number of mouths to feed (even a comparatively insignificant number of emigrés could under precarious economic conditions have an impact on food supplies); on the other hand Athenian trade with the Black Sea region was facilitated which must have improved trade in general and grain imports in specific (especially since Sigeion presumably already had close ties to Athens because it was ruled by Peisistratos’ son Hegesistratos). One may also assume that the spreading of the first silver coins69 (the so-called Wappenmünzen) had a stabilising effect: if the subsistence farmers who even in years of a good harvest teetered on the brink of disaster were now able to acquire a few such pieces of silver they could then exchange them in bad years for the minimal necessities of survival.

Thus the well-known three periods of tyrannical rule by Peisistratos present themselves in a different light. In the year of the archon Komeas (561/60) a prominent former archon polemarchos (and Areopagite) had a body guard approved for himself — the political forces of his aristocratic enemies, however, triumphed and the State and Justice were the losers. One leading exponent of these aristocratic groups who did not care about justice and good government staged after a modest period of time the return of Peisistratos in order to further his own aims. After a short while this alliance collapsed and Peisistratos found himself again in exile. Finally, a decade later, Peisistratos forced his way back into Athens — in some respects comparable to the campaign of those exiled aristocrats who successfully fought for their return to Athens in 511/10 and could also boast of having expelled the reigning tyrant — , not long after Lydia was incorporated in the Persian Empire and the last Mermnad king of Lydia Kroisos fell. Although Peisistratos could not boast of having expelled The Tyrant it becomes clear that the peaceful and in all respects fruitful development of Athens is owed to the emergence of a political scene in Athens which was borne by far reaching aristocratic consensus.

Against the background of this reconstruction of events a dynastic transfer of inherited power at the death of Peisistratos (towards the end of the archon year of Philoneos in spring 52770) to one or more of the sons of Peisistratos is exposed as historical fiction. On the contrary, nothing changed in the immediate aftermath. Political peace, however, may be at all times regarded as a kind of anomalous state of affairs and we thus need not

 

   

   

 

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be surprised that the equilibrium of forces which had proved so salutary for Athens ultimately crumbled. This process of disintegration stretched over many years.71 It begin in my judgment in the late twenties of the sixth century; the murder of Hipparchos was the first spark, as it were, to lead to the final conflagration. The reign of terror which Hippias unleashed after the murder of his brother left a painful mark in the collective memory of the Athenians which would never completely heal.

We have returned to the starting point of our section on Athens (see above pp. 31ff.) and have closed the circle, as it were. “Tyranny at Athens” is a phenomenon of the late sixth century and it has features which characterise future tyrannies which were so well known to, e.g., Aristotle. The collective trauma of the Athenian people, fifth century political propaganda, discussion of various forms of government by philosophers and political scientists and the general political experience of the fourth century — all these elements combine in a strange kind of game of cause and effect the ultimate result of which is the reduction of “three dimensional” history into “two dimensional” theory, for the purpose of enhancing the theoretical aspects.

The conventional picture of a period of a “belated” and long lasting tyranny, including a dynastic passing on of power, from Pallene to the expulsion of the Peisistratidai, preceded by two failed attempts at establishing tyranny (and which occupies — if one includes the two exiles — half a century) must in my judgement abandoned in favour of one that consists of a colourful scene of aristocratic strife with its various ups and downs which ultimately ends up as the tyranny of Hippias in the years up to 511/10 — not, however, a belated specimen of archaic tyranny but, rather, an early antecedent of forms of tyranny that were to emerge after the archaic age.

 

* * *

 

I endeavoured to demonstrate that the Greeks who created for themselves a veritable chaos of locally differentiated gods and heroes, who managed with a stroke of genius to create not one but a dozen or more phonetic alphabets for the western world, that these Greeks will hardly have organised themselves into only two or three clearly defined forms of government (e.g., monarchy, oligarchy, tyranny). It is obvious that in a short article I have been unable to span the range of archaic Greece even in the narrow field of politics, nor should I have attempted this. It is my hope, however, to have shown some of its colourful variety. My “test cases” were meant to show that in the geographical centre of the Greek world a wide spectrum of

 

   

   

 

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forms political activities were able to find their expression. The great ultimate accomplishments of Greek intellectual and cultural history were not realised on the periphery but in the heart of Greece — there Athens would develop into a catalyst. The influence of foreign Hochkulturen represented the indispensable base from which the Greek would depart to unexplored fields of the human mind, the “Entdeckung des Geistes” [(to quote the title of a famous book)]. But it was in that confined space where the Greeks were amongst themselves (admittedly influenced but not ruled by foreign powers), in an area not much over 100 km around the Isthmos of Korinth, where that cultural richness, which is the result of extreme variety and closest contacts, could evolve eventually to break up the static aristocratic age. It appears therefore erroneous to attempt to search everywhere on the mainland for evidence of unaltered features which emerged in distant regions72 such as, e.g., the territorially oriented military dictatorships of Sicily or the “governor tyrannies” imposed on the Greeks of Asia Minor by Lydians and Persians — erroneous above all to attempt to squeeze the richness and variety of archaic mainland Greekdom in the political sphere into the straight jacket of a simplistic, pseudo-legalistic term, namely, the “term” “tyranny”, when in reality we are dealing with a diversity of manifestations of various aristocratic régimes.

 

Appendix: Pap. Ryl. Gr. 1872a

 

Col. I is largely destroyed. Col. II therefore becomes even more difficult to make sense of. The names of persons or places that can be read with certainty are those of Chilon (referred to as an ephoros), Anaxandridas,[72b] Sikyon, Aischines and Hippias; it also certain that the dissolution of tyrannies is referred to. Plut. mor. 859 C-D also deals with the expulsion of tyrants and names Aischines in the case of Sikyon. Schol. Aischin. 2,77 likewise mentions the exiling of tyrants (it is less than obvious why) and writes with respect to Sikyon TOU\S A)PO\ *KLEISQE/NOUS. This seems curious since scholiasts tend to be psychologically predisposed to name specific names (no matter who obscure they may be) rather than merely a group, and since no scholiast can be assumed to have made the substitution on his own initiative (if only because of ignorance). Now, if we open the text of Aischines at the point to which the scholion attaches, we read about Spartan harmostai. Aischines continues by naming a Spartan nauarchos who in reality was a harmostes. His name: Cheilon — thus all MSS of Aischines and Harpokration s.v.; the papyrus of Hell. Oxy. 6(1),3 and 8(3),1, however, offers Milon —

 

   

   

 

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E. Meyer, Theopomps Hellenika and Poralla, Prosopographie der Lakedaimonier, no. 535, retain this lectio whilst Bruce, Hist. Comm. Hell. Oxy. is undecided.

I suggest, at least for serious consideration, that our Rylands Papyrus represents a badly corrupted rendition of a text which at least partially derives from a commentary on Aischines 2,77f. In this instance the name Chilon is that of the fourth century harmostes Chilon[/Milon]; the name Aischines is that of the orator which in some way found its way into the text [(see also n. 72b)]. In this way the question if and how the “Sikyonian tyrant Aischines” (cf. H. Rudolph, Chiron 1 (1971) 75-83) is related or connected with the “Orthagoridai” is also rendered irrelevant. We cannot, however deny the simple fact that the famous ephoros Chilon and Anaxandridas [(cf. also, however, n. 72b)] were no contemporaries; only the latter could be connected with the chronology of the expulsion of Hippias but not one of our comparatively rich sources corroborate it. The stylistic and intellectual competence of the writer of this fragment finally may be regarded as below average at best. Until the question here put are clarified in their various ramifications it appears best to remove the Rylands papyrus no. 18 from the debate regarding the Sikyonian Tyranny and its chronology.

 

Footnotes

 

[*     Originally published in German with the title “Betrachtungen zur älteren griechischen Tyrannis” in American Journal of Ancient History 4.1 (1979) 23-45 (© E. Badian). The present English translation (© K.H. Kinzl, 1998) from the original German is by K.H. Kinzl. The page numbering throughout this translation corresponds to that of the text of the German article in AJAH.]

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1     This is a revised version of an original contribution [with the same title, “Betrachtungen zur älteren griechischen Tyrannis”] which appeared in K.H. Kinzl (ed.), Die ältere Tyrannis bis zu den Perserkriegen (1979) (Wege der Forschung 510) 298-325. I thank two anonymous referees and the editor of the American Journal of Ancient History for valuable suggestions for improvements.

The ideas expressed here were first presented in Vienna in May 1977. I thank my former teacher and my friend Fritz Schachermeyr for valuable comments. I also thank various colleagues for constructive criticism on the occasions of talks in Bangor (Wales), Berlin (West), Frankfurt, Halle, Konstanz, Leeds, London, Ottawa (during the annual meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians) and Prague.

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2     That is to say: if forms of rule of a completely identical nature had emerged under entirely different circumstances (under foreign rule in Western Asia Minor; without foreign domination but under totally different conditions in mainland Greece and in Western Greece), it would be this phenomenon which would require an explanation as it would no be “natural”.

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3     Still of fundamental importance: H. Strasburger, “Herodots Zeitrechnung”, Historia 5 (1956) 129-161 = id., in: W. Marg (ed.), Herodot2 (1965) (Wege der Forschung 26) 688-736.

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4     Strasburger (see n. 3) is in not sufficiently precise on this point, which is also true of P.J. Rhodes’s excellent contribution on the chronology of Peisistratos, Phoenix 30 (1976) 219-233) [see now id., A commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion politeia (1981) 191- 199].

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5     Literature: Berve 518; also, e.g., A. Andrewes, CQ 43 (1949) 70-78; id., CQ 1 (1951) 39-45; N.G.L. Hammond, CQ 10 (1960) 33-36; G. Zörner, Kypselos and Pheidon von Argos, (Diss. Marburg/Lahn 1971) 81f.; T. Kelly, A history of Argos to 500 B.C.

 

   

   

 

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(1976) 94ff.; 112ff.; C.G. Starr, The economic and social growth of early Greece (1977) 115; 186.

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6     It is tossing out the baby with the bath water to negate all historical content in this episode on the grounds that it bears characteristics of a “fairy tale” (a question we cannot discuss here). Even if the noble gentlemen here named never met in real life, this does not justify declaring them fictional altogether; no one has ever suggested that Solon is a fictional character because he appears amongst the “Seven Sages”.

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7     This Leokedes ought not to be identified with Pausanias’ (2,19,2) Lakedas, the father of Meltas who was the last Temenid King of Argos (KlPauly s.vv. Lakedas; Meltas [; NPauly s.v. Meltas]).

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8     F. Jacoby, FGrHist 3 b Text p. 11 (introduction on the local historians of Argos). [“The local tradition of Argos begins ... in the late epics, amongst which the Phoronis is the most important one”.]

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9     Akousilaos: FGrHist 2 F 23-28 (Argive genealogy); Hellanikos: FGrHist 4 F 1-5; 87-116 (Phoronis); 4 F 36 (Argolika).

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10     The fragments of the local historians of Argos: FGrHist 3 B no. IX (304-314, pp. 6-25), with introduction and commentary FGrHist 3 b Text pp. 11-63; 3 b Notes pp. 7-42.

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11     Ninth century: Synkell. p. 499,5ff. Dindorf = Theopompos, FGrHist 115 F 393; Diod. 7,17 (Pheidon is the tenth descendant of Herakles and seventh of Temenos); Marm. Par., FGrHist 239 A 30 (895/93). Eighth century: Strabon 8,3,33 C.358 = Ephoros, FGrHist 70 F 115 (tenth descendant of Temenos); Pausan. 6,22,2 (interference Ol. 8 = 748 BCE).

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12     Strabon 8,6,16 C.376 = Ephoros FGrHist 70 F 176; Marm. Par. (see n. 11); further passages FGrHist 3 C pp. 86f. (commentary on 70 F 176).

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13     The lowest dates to date resulted from the evaluation of the Asyut Hoard, see M. Price and N. Waggoner, Archaic Greek (silver) coinage: the Asyut hoard (1975), i.e. ca. 550 for Athens, Korinth and Aigina (loc. cit. 122). In n. 241 the authors express scepticism whether we can maintain the date of the altogether earliest coins (the elektron coinage) with 640 as a terminus ante quem (L. Weidauer, Probleme der frühen Elektronprägung (1975)).

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14     The inscription IG 4,614 (cf. SEG 11,336) which was dated to ca. 575-550 (L.H. Jefferey, The local scripts of archaic Greece (1961) Argos, no. 7, pp. 156ff.; 168; pl. 26) and the meaning of which is uncertain (it is a list of nine persons who D]A?M?IORGOI E?VA?N?ASSONTO) need not concern us here. If they were political officers their existence still does not prove there could not have been a reign by a King or Tyrant (cf. Sparta’s ephoroi and the unimpeded continuation of the archonship in Athens during the times of Peisistratos and his sons)). If they were religious officials they are equally unsuited to prove anything.

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15     I wish to make it clear that I am not turning Pheidon into two distinct figures (following the method practised by Hammond, Bicknell and their imitators in Attic prosopography); rather, we must realise that there always was only one historical Pheidon but one whom ancient authors identified with King Pheidon from the realm of myth.

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16     For lit. see Berve 532ff.

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17     Cf. Strasburger (n. 3) 140 = 705.

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18     Ol. 55 (= 560) would cause a bit of a jam for that year; 6,128,2 appears to

 

   

   

 

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suggest that the Kypselidai of Korinth still wielded considerable political power but Herodotos’ chronology also permits Ol. 56 (= 556) as a possibility. If we were to accept this date as historically authentic there result the following revealing facts as a logical consequence: 1) the daughter of Megakles who was not worthy in Peisistratos’ (her husband’s) eyes to bear him children but by whose marriage the return of Peisistratos was cemented (according to Herodotos 557/55; see below pp. 33ff.) was from an earlier marriage of Megakles and consequently not a daughter of Agariste and only a half-sister of Kleisthenes of Athens; 2) Kleisthenes was the first-born son from the marriage of Megakles and Agariste of 555 and thus born in early 554 — he thus had just reached his thirtieth year by the time of the archonship selection for 525/24 [in which he served as archon eponymos].

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19     Although the wording of Herodotos does not preclude the possibility that we have to count sixty years not from the year of the death of Kleisthenes but from the year of the introduction of the new phylai names, the conventional reading appears more natural.

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20     Hdt. 6,92,2; cf. K. Wickert, Der peloponnesische Bund von seiner Entstehung bis zum Ende des archidamischen Krieges (Diss. Erlangen-Nürnberg 1961) 19.

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21     We cannot a priori exclude the possibility that Herodotos may have thought that the Olympic victory of Kleisthenes and the marriage of his daughter preceded the anti-Argive reforms; it would be difficult, however, to support such a view with convincing arguments.

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22     For a detailed justification of my view as expressed here see my article in Klio 62 (1980) 177-190. [Also in English translation.] Cf. also below p. 34 with n. 6.

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23     Herodotos had Periandros around 560 in decline (cf. Strasburger (n. 3) 160 = 733); cf. above n. 18. Amongst modern historians Beloch, GG 12, 2, 274ff. is the most prominent proponent of the lowest possible chronology of the Kypselidai: 610-540. Arion and Periandros: Hdt. 1,23f.

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24     Hdt. 5,67,1; 69,1. This is not the place that there is indeed a point-by-point parallelism, as Herodotos claims (see on this my study cited in n. 22, “Excursus” [pp. 187-190; also in English translation]. Furthermore the anti-Ionianism of Kleisthenes of Athens diagnosed by Herodotos 5,69,1 can only be turned into a comparable phenomenon by — erroneously — declaring Kleisthenes of Sikyon anti-Dorian — contempt here and contempt there. I would incidentally add here that Herodotos’ remark that has every commentator puzzled, KAI\ OU(=TOS (viz. Kleisthenes of Athens) U(PERIDW\N *I)/WNAS (5,69,1), can be made meaningful by recalling his seemingly equally oblique note that the SUGGENEI=S of Isagoras QU/OUSI ... *DII\ *KARI/W| and this is all he knows about his ancestry. The true meaning of this remark becomes clear if we turn to 1,146,2 (cf. esp. Athenian Agora 3, no. 551).

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25     The Sikyonian reforms could obviously not be carried out whilst the Sikyonians and Kleisthenes were on the battle field (just as the Kleisthenic innovations at Athens could not be implemented during military campaigns); therefore only a general climate of tension (that might escalate to open warfare) can be meant. One may perhaps also observe that this phrase serves Herodotos to establish the motive for the general anti-Argive tenor of Kleisthenes’ actions (one might even ask

 

   

   

 

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if Kleisthenes — not unlike the anti-Aigina propaganda used by Themistokles to push the naval programme through — himself artificially generated a “war-hysteria”).

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26     See above n. 22.

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27     There ought also to be a military element in these reforms — just as presumably was the case in the Athenian phylai reform (a usually little noticed or even completely ignored aspect). I myself have completely neglected this in my study “Athens: between tyranny and democracy”, in: K.H. Kinzl (ed.), Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean ..., Studies ... Fritz Schachermeyr (1977) 199ff. [= “Athen: zwischen Tyrannis and Demokratie”, in: K.H. Kinzl (ed.), Demokratia: der Weg zur Demokratie bei den Griechen (1995) (Wege der Forschung 657) 213ff. This is of course the central thesis of P. Siewert, Die Trittyen Attikas and die Heeresreform des Kleisthenes (1982); cf. my review in Gymnasium 93 (1986) 156-158, and esp. my study “On the consequences of following AP 21,3 (on the phylai of Attika)”, Chiron 19 (1989) 347ff.]

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28     Berve 29.

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29     Cf., e.g., the name of the Boiotian hero Hyas; but cf. also Hyes who is connected with Dionysos (see RE 9,88ff.) (I owe this observation to H. Schwabl). Choireai is attested as the name of a place although, as for Oneatai, no name of a hero readily suggests itself. The emendation of our text of Herodotos at 5,68,1 by Sauppe ( ) should not, incidentally, be uncritically accepted in our text editions, because of the double meaning of . The name Choireatai is in my judgement “insulting” not because of the association with the animal (which would indeed represent a strange duplication of Hyatai), see above all Suda 601 [neighbours of the Sikyonians, presumably using very similar slang]

It should also be pointed out that Herodotos clearly states that there existed four phylai before the reforms of Kleisthenes, and that we cannot deduce that there were four phylai of Kleisthenes (it may have been more). Finally: the Athenian Kleisthenes had his new phylai names sanctioned by Delphoi (Aristot. Ath. pol. 21,6); was this step perhaps neglected in Sikyon?

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30     Pausan. 6,19,1f.

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31     Aristot. pol. 1316 a 30; Diod. 8,24.

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32     Pap. Ryl. Gr. 18. Literature: Berve 531; most recently Leahy, Historia 17 (1968) 1-23. [I see no need to add references to the recent articles by V. Parker which at best represent a step backward.]

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33     Plut. mor. 859 C-D.

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34     Schol. Aischin. 2,77.

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35     See “Appendix” below p. 37f. [The arguments of the “Appendix” were integrated in this section of the article proper in the earlier version of this paper in the volume referred to in n. 1 at pp. 305f. They were relegated to the “Appendix” because the referees, neither of whom is a papyrologist, regarded them too hypothetical.]

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36     Diod. 8,24; Plut. mor. 553 A-B; Pap. Oxy. 1241 col. III. Cf. KlPauly 4, 363 s.v. Orthagoras 2.

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37     Diod. 8,24; Plut. mor. 553 A-B; Pap. Oxy. 1365 (= FGrHist 105 F 2 = 551 F 1b).

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38     Aristot. pol. 1315 b 12; 1316 a 30.

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39     Menaichmos of Sikyon, FGrHist 131 F 1 (Sikyoniaka); F 2 (Pythikos). F. Jacoby, FGrHist 3 b p. 476, on Sikyonian local historiography. Cf. 131 T 3 (Aristot. Pyth.).

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40     Berve 305.

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41     Although it is objectively correct to point out that a sacrificial “butcher” cannot have been of lowly descent this is precisely how the hate tradition wants it understood (Pap. Oxy. 1365 = FGrHist 105 F 2 = 551 F 1b; cf. Diod. 8,24.)

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42     Pap. Oxy. 1365 = FGrHist 105 F 2 = 551 F 1b; cf. Nikolaos of Damaskos 90 F 57 (Kypselos).

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43     Cf. Aristoph. Ekkles. 916; also V. Pisani, Paideia 13 (1958) 143. See, originally, A. Momigliano, A&R 10 (1929) 153.

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44     Nikolaos 90 F 61.

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45     See, e.g., the beautifully symmetrical stemma of Berve (758).

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46     The warlike note implicit in Herodotos and sounded by Aristotle (pol. 1315 b 17) finds its sequel in the inclusion of Kleisthenes in the events of the so-called First Sacred War (on which see esp. G. Forrest, BCH 80 (1956) 33ff. with references) and the attribution to him of the destruction of his neighbour to the west Pellana (Anaxandridas of Delphoi FGrHist 404 F 1; Pap. Oxy. 1241, col. III). I would not wish to judge whether this represents genuine historical information. It is true that Pellana suffered destruction once and this may indeed have been at the hands of the Sikyonians, to be dated to the time of Kleisthenes; proof of this does not exists. The First Sacred War and the destruction of Kirrha/Krisa is (like the Lelantine War) are shot through with legendary material; I am personally very sceptical that we presented with much historically authentic information.

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47     Literature: Berve 539ff.; cf. F. Schachermeyr, RE 19, 156 = K.H. Kinzl (ed.) (above n. 1) 94ff.; id., RE 19, 150ff. Much has been written about the chronology of Peisistratos; cf. on Herodotos’ chronology Strasburger (n. 3) and esp. Rhodes (n. 4) whose conclusions I accept in the following discussion.

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48     F. Schachermeyr, “Athen als Stadt des Großkönigs”, GB 1 (1973) 211ff. = Forschungen and Betrachtungen (1974) 75ff.; id., Die Sieger der Perserkriege (1974) 19.

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49     Cf. my discussion loc. cit. (n. 27), passim.

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50     Cf. Schachermeyr (n. 48) 219-83.

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51     Hdt. 1,59,4: E)N TH|= PRO\S *MEGARE/AS GENOME/NH| STRATHGI/H|. It seems impossible that Peisistratos was never a member of the Areopagos; on the other hand it seems unlikely that an eponymous archonship recorded in the archon list would have been completely forgotten [or suppressed]. In terms of his age this would also be a good fit, cf. n. 52.

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52     As for the date, cf., e.g., Berve 544.

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53     Aristot. Ath. pol. 17,1, presumably after the archons for the following year had been selected, i.e. in spring 527; see M.E. White, “Hippias and the Athenian archon list”, in: Polis and Imperium, Studies ... E.T. Salmon (1974) 81ff.

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54     K.J. Beloch, RhM 45 (1890) 469f.; GG 11, 327f. with 328 n. 2; GG 12, 1, 368ff.; 12, 2, 288ff. We may regard these hypotheses of Beloch as no longer useful.

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55     Herodotos’ style in his account of the events which reached their culmination (1,59,3ff.) in the archonship of Komeas (Aristot. Ath. pol. 14,1, 561/60 BCE) seems to me to betray a close resemblance to his choice of words in 5,66,1. This is quite natural in view of the fact that he reports these events which are separated from each other by over half a century from one and the same perspective (and ultimately “anachronistically”).

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56     No Athenian government will surrender control of the Akropolis, but it is a decidedly more difficult undertaking to win control over the city and all of Attika by starting with the seizure of the Akropolis. Whatever it was that the unfortunate Kylon wished to achieve, his and his comrades’ failure serve as a further example and corroborates this.

 

   

   

 

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One would have to suggest that Peisistratos was demented in order to believe he would not have seen this. His descendants fled there in 511/10, a short while later Isagoras and Kleomenes — only to depart humiliated shortly. If in Aristophanes Lysistrata (I owe this observation to A.E. Raubitschek) the Athenian women who went on a sex strike seize the Akropolis they did so because there they would be most difficult to approach (apart from the fact that we are dealing with comic absurdity). Another similar occurrence took place ca. 298 (I owe this observation to C. Habicht) which also neatly illustrates my view (see FGrHist 257a F 2 = Pap. Oxy. 2082).

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57     The strategy consists of securing the support of a sufficiently large number of aristocratic chiefs each of whom commands a following of little people that supplies votes in the people’s assembly; cf. my discussion loc. cit. (n. 27) p. 201 with n. 11 [= (1995) 217] and in Gymnasium 85 (1978) 314.

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58     The hyperakrioi (Hdt.) or diakrioi, one of the most frequently debated topics, cf. Berve 542; E. Kluwe, Klio 54 (1972) 101ff. We may here avoid taking a position on this without affecting our argument.

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59     KlPauly 4,735f. s.v. Philaidai 2.

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60     A permanent presence of a mercenary force appears questionable. Had they been paid in coins this would have represented a continuous drain on Peisistratos’ personal finances. Had their services been rewarded by grants of land a permanent source of discord would have been created. It is quite likely if not obvious, however, that Hippias, at least for a certain length of time, had to rely on mercenaries; and that some of these remained in Athens and were enfranchises, or disenfranchised, during the so-called diapsephismos[, cf. my discussion loc. cit., (n. 27) p. 200f. = (1995) 214f.]. But this should not tempt us to jump to conclusions regarding the time under discussion. It seems significant that the popularity of vases decorated with Scythian archers reached its peak in the period from ca. 530 to ca. 490; cf. M.F. Vos, Scythian archers in archaic Attic vase painting (1963).

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61     Hdt. 6,35,1; this account fits seamless 1,64,3. It should also be noted how Herodotos very skilfully accomplished to bring out similarities and dissimilarities of different situation by stylistic means, e.g., 6,35,1 ~ 5,66,1 (on this stylistic device cf. RhM 118 (1975) 193ff.).

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62     Herodotos’ account of the colonisation of Chersonesos by the elder Miltiades leaves no doubt that these events occurred immediately after Pallene (on his technique of composition see n. 61); they cannot be fitted into his narrative regarding the circumstances of the so-called first and second tyrannies. It was a given for Herodotos that it was soon after Pallene that Kroisos gathered information on Athens and that he remained in his powerful kingship long enough to rescue Miltiades from the Lampsakenians (Hdt. 6,37), regardless wether this accords with the actually chronology of events or not. It is true that by counting thirty-six years (Hdt. 5,65,3) from the archonship of Harpaktides as the fixed point in time (i.e. 511/10) there some crowding around 546. Herodotos, however, had no such fixed

 

   

   

 

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point in time at his disposal; it is also less than self-evident that thirty-six years represent a mathematically exact definition of the time span or simply a round figure (three dozen). (It should also be noted that with Herodotos’ kind of chronology one might also arrive at the year 548/47 in our chronology.) And we must also consider that the extra-Herodotean tradition provides archonship dates for the expulsion of the Peisistratidai, the death of Peisistratos, but not Pallene. In view of this situation it appears appropriate to leave Herodotos’ account untouched but to acknowledge that the thirty-six years he offers may be inaccurate by one or two years — a truly minimal inaccuracy. The view expressed here cannot be disproved by appealing to absolute dates which are gleaning mainly from without Herodotos’ work (cf., e.g., Berve 565).

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63     Hdt. 6,103,4. The younger Miltiades can hardly have been born after 555/54 since he served as archon eponymos in 524/23 (Dionys. Halikarn., 7,3,1; SEG 10,352).

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64     The three victories of Kimon are usually shunted back and forth between 536/32/28 and 532/28/24; cf., in favour of the latter dates, M.E. White (n. 53) 87f. There is no reason, however, to assume that it was shortly after his third victory that Kimon was removed. Nothing in Herodotos’ wording suggests such an interpretation (6,103,3; cf., e.g., his formulations at 5,71,2 concerning the time of the Kylonian affair); it is only concerning the mission of the younger Miltiades to Chersonesos relative to the murder of Kimon (whose “nickname” Koalemos, incidentally, is surely being owed to Old Comedy; cf. my Miltiades-Forschungen (1968) 21f.) that Herodotos suggests chronological proximity.

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65     Cf. A. Lesky, Die tragische Dichtung der Hellenen3 (1972) 49f.

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66     See n. 22. Even Berve (60) has to concede that our sources provide no evidence for a close connexion between Peisistratos and Dionysiac concerns.

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67     It may well be that Peisistratos had reservations about the character of his eldest son and may have attempted to keep him away from public life: it is certainly striking that Hippias became archon only after the death of his father but then as quickly as possible, as White (n. 53) has recently and rightly emphasised; his character seems also in other respects peculiar in view of his more than common belief in oracles, soothsayers, omens and dreams (cf., e.g., Berve 557 with references to the evidence).

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68     Even if we cannot deny a priori the possibility that Peisistratos distributed some of the land of the fugitive aristocrats and that they accepted this after their return as a fait accompli without protest — all this seems nevertheless highly improbable.

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69     See n. 13 concerning the date. It would only be a century later that these pieces of silver reached their full potential, in the “Athenian Empire”.

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70     Cf. M.E. White (n. 53) 84.

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71     The period from the death of Peisistratos to the exiling of his sons is still largely unexplored — despite the voluminous literature, especially regarding the tyrannicide and Thoukydides’ digression (6,53,3-

 

   

   

 

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60,1). We begin to receive some stimulating hints from the archaeologists from which it appears to emerge that the expansion of building activity occurred only after the death of Peisistratos, cf., e.g., E. Kluwe, Die Tyrannis der Peisistratiden and ihr Niederschlag in der Kunst (Diss. Jena 1966); information is assembled by J.S. Boersma, Athenian building policy from 561/0 to 405/4 B.C. (1970) 11-27 and esp. 123ff. (catalogue).; no progress in J. Kleine, Untersuchungen zur Chronologie der attischen Kunst von Peisistratos bis Themistokles (1973) 13-56 because of the chaotic mixing of archaeological and historical evidence with history as such. A move in the right direction may be F.J. Frost, AJAH 1 (1976) 66ff.; cf. again White (n. 53). As I see it scholarship has yet to free itself of the compulsion to attribute anything that happened in those year to the Peisistratidai; cf. above p. 34f. with n. 66. The famous fragment of the archon list (SEG 10, 352; cf. Bradeen, Hesperia 32 (1963) 187ff.) seems to me to mark the beginning of decline, in contrast to the common opinion that it signifies a newly achieved reconciliation after the death of the Old Tyrant.

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72     Cf. above n. 2.

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[72a     See above p. 29 with n. 35.]

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[72b     The name Anaxandridas recalls that of one of the very few local historians dealing with events connected with Sikyon, Anaxandridas of Delphoi, see above n. 46; it too may represent an intrusive element and have nothing to do with the Spartan Anaxandridas.]

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