Peisistratos (Greek: Πεισίστρατος; died 528/7 BC), Latinized Pisistratus, the son of Hippocrates, was a ruler of ancient Athens during most of the period between 561 and 527 BC. His legacy lies primarily in his instituting the Panathenaic Games, historically assigned the date of 566 B.C., 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. While in power, Peisistratos did not hesitate to confront the aristocracy, and he greatly reduced their privileges, confiscated their lands and gave them to the poor, and funded many religious and artistic programs.
|Tyrant of Athens|
|Assumed office |
561 BC, 559-556 BC, 545-528 BC
Peisistratos was a distant relative of Solon from northern Attica. He had made a name for himself by capturing the port of Nisaea in nearby Megara by creating a successful coup in 565 BC. Peisistratos was backed by the Men of the Hill, the poorer and majority of the population. This victory opened up the unofficial trade blockage that had been contributing to food shortage in Athens during the past several decades.
His role in the Megarian conflict gained Peisistratos popularity in Athens, but he did not have the political clout to seize power. Herodotus tells us how he intentionally wounded himself and his mules in order to demand from the Athenian people bodyguards for protection, which he received. By obtaining support from the vast number of the poorer population as well as bodyguards, he was able to seize the Acropolis and the reins of government. The Athenians were open to a tyranny similar to that under Solon – and possible stability and internal peace – and Peisistratos' ruse won him further prominence. With this in his possession, and the collusion of Megacles and his party, he declared himself tyrant.
Peisistratos was ousted from political office and exiled twice during his reign. The first occurrence was circa 555 BC after the two original parties, normally at odds with each other, joined forces and removed Peisistratos from power. Actual dates after this point become unclear. Peisistratos was exiled for 3 to 6 years during which the agreement between the Pedieis and the Paralioi fell apart. Peisistratos returned to Athens and rode into the city in a golden chariot accompanied by a tall woman appearing to be Athena. It is debated to what extent this impacted the return of many to his side. Whilst some argue that the general public believed he had won the favour of the goddess, others instead put forward the idea that the public were aware that Peisistratos was using the chariot ride as a political manoeuvre, drawing comparisons between himself and the ancient kings of Athens.  Differing sources state that he held the tyranny for one to six years before he was exiled again. During his second exile, he gathered support from local cities and resources from the Laurion silver mines in Attica. After 10 years he returned in force, regained his tyranny, and held power until his death in 527 BC.
|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|
|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|
As opposed to the modern definition of a tyrant, which is a single ruler, often violent and oppressive, Peisistratos' career was a model example of tyranny, a non-heritable position taken by purely personal ability, often in violation of tradition or constitutional norms. We see this in remarks by both Herodotus and Aristotle. Herodotus, in his Histories, wrote that Peisistratos, "not having disturbed the existing magistrates nor changed the ancient laws… administered the State under that constitution of things which was already established, ordering it fairly and well", while Aristotle wrote that "his administration was temperate…and more like constitutional government than a tyranny". Peisistratos often tried to distribute power and benefits rather than hoard them, with the intent of easing stress between the economic classes. The elites who had held power in the Areopagus Council were allowed to retain their archonships. For the lower classes, he cut taxes and created a band of travelling judges to provide justice for the citizens. Peisistratos enacted a popular program to beautify Athens and promote the arts. He minted coins with Athena's symbol (the owl), although this was only one type on the so-called Wappenmünzen (heraldic coins) and not a regular device as on the later, standard silver currency. Under his rule were introduced two new forms of poetry, the dithyramb and tragic drama, and the era also saw growth in theatre, arts, and sculpture. He commissioned the permanent copying and archiving of Homer's two epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and the canon of Homeric works is said to derive from this particular archiving.
With Peisistratos' successful invasion and capture of Nisaea, he attained great political standing in the assembly. He initially met with resistance from nobles like Megacles, the son of Alcmaeon, and Lycurgus, the son of Aristolaïdes, who had shared power between them. Megacles came over to Peisistratos' side and, with his help, Peisistratos was accepted as tyrant by the Athenian assembly in 561, and, according to Herodotus, he "administered the state constitutionally and organized the state's affairs properly and well." However, he was soon thereafter ousted. Herodotus explains his exile “Not much later, however, the supporters of Megacles and those of Lycurgus came to an understanding and expelled him”.
He soon had a second chance. Megacles invited him back in 556 on condition that he marry Megacles' daughter. Peisistratos returned in triumph accompanied by a tall, local woman named Phye, whom he passed off as Athena. The awestruck Athenians thus accepted his second tyranny. Peisistratus, however, refused to impregnate Megacles' daughter, which ended their coalition. Peisistratos was forced to leave Attica entirely. During his nearly ten-year exile, he aligned himself with powerful individuals, and accumulated great wealth. With a strong personal army, he marched to Marathon and from there to Athens. His popularity soared and many locals supported him. Thus, in 546 BC, he began his third and final tyranny.
Peisistratos' main policies were aimed at strengthening the economy, and similar to Solon, he was concerned about both agriculture and commerce. He offered land and loans to the needy. He encouraged the cultivation of olives and the growth of Athenian trade, finding a way to the Black Sea and even Italy and France. Under Peisistratos, fine Attic pottery travelled to Ionia, Cyprus, and Syria. In Athens, Peisistratos' public building projects provided jobs to people in need while simultaneously making the city a cultural centre. He replaced the private wells of the aristocrats with public fountain houses. Peisistratos also built the first aqueduct in Athens, opening a reliable water supply to sustain the large population.
Peisistratos died in 527 or 528 BC. His eldest son, Hippias, succeeded him as tyrant of Athens. Hippias and his brother, Hipparchus, ruled the city much as their father had. After a successful murder plot against Hipparchus conceived by Harmodius and Aristogeiton, Hippias became paranoid and oppressive. This change caused the people of Athens to hold Hippias in much lower regard. The Alcmaeonid family helped depose the tyranny by bribing the Delphic oracle to tell the Spartans to liberate Athens, which they did in 508 BC. The Peisistratids were not executed, but rather were mostly forced into exile. The surviving Peisistratid ruler, Hippias, went on to aid the Persians in their attack on Marathon (490 BC), acting as a guide.
The poet Dante in Purgatorio XV of the Comedia uses Peisistratos as an example of meekness since he was well known for being able to placate wrath with a gentle answer.
This article concerns the period 529 BC – 520 BC.Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis is from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, "highest point, extremity") and πόλις (polis, "city"). Although the term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as "The Acropolis" without qualification. During ancient times it was known also more properly as Cecropia, after the legendary serpent-man, Cecrops, the supposed first Athenian king.
While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495–429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site's most important present remains including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon and the other buildings were damaged seriously during the 1687 siege by the Venetians during the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded.Brauroneion
The Brauroneion was the sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia on the Athenian Acropolis, located in the southwest corner of the Acropolis plateau, between the Chalkotheke and the Propylaia in Greece. It was originally dedicated during the reign of Peisistratos. Artemis Brauronia, protector of women in pregnancy and childbirth, had her main sanctuary at Brauron, a demos on the east coast of Attica.
The sanctuary on the Acropolis was of an unusual trapezoidal shape and did not contain a formal temple. Instead, a portico or stoa served that function. The stoa measured circa 38 by 6.8 m; it stood in front of the southern Acropolis wall, facing north. At its corners, there were two risalit-like side wings, each about 9.3 m long, the western one facing east and vice versa. North of the east wing stood a further short west-facing stoa. All of the sanctuary's western part, now lost, stood on the remains of the Mycenaean fortification wall. All that remains of the eastern pare are foundations for walls, cut into the bedrock, as well as some very few architectural members of limestone.
One of the wings contained the wooden cult statue (xoanon) of the goddess. Women who petitioned Artemis for help habitually dedicated items of clothing, which were draped around the statue. In 346 BC, a second cult statue was erected. According to Pausanias, it was a work by Praxiteles.
"There is also a sanctuary [at Athens] of Artemis Brauronia (of Brauron); the image is the work of Praxiteles, but the goddess derives her name from the parish of Brauron. The old wooden image is in Brauron, Artemis Tauria (of Tauros) as she is called."The entrance to the small sacred precinct, near its northeast corner, is still marked by seven rock-cut steps. They, and its northern enclosure, were probably created by Mnesicles during the building of the Propylaia. The date of the complex in its final shape is unclear, but a date around 430 BC, similar to that of the adjacent Propylaia, is commonly assumed.
If still in use by the 4th-century, the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire, when the Christian Emperors issued edicts prohibiting non-Christian worship.Ceryx
For the moth genus, see Ceryx (moth).In Greek mythology, Ceryx (Ancient Greek: Κῆρυξ Kērux, literally "herald") was a son of Hermes and either Pandrosus or Agraulus. He was, like his father, a messenger. But the kêryx career began as a humble cook for the tribe, a skill Hermes demonstrates in his cooked meat offerings on the Twelve Gods Altar set in place 522BC by Peisistratos III
in Athens. The Homeric Hymn to Hermes 128 recalls the young god cutting out and laying up twelve steaks on a flat rock or platamoni," the 12 Gods altar.Cleisthenes
Cleisthenes (; Greek: Κλεισθένης, Kleisthénēs) was an ancient Athenian lawgiver credited with reforming the constitution of ancient Athens and setting it on a democratic footing in 508 BCE. For these accomplishments, historians refer to him as "the father of Athenian democracy." He was a member of the aristocratic Alcmaeonid clan. He was the younger son of Megacles and Aragiste making him the maternal grandson of the tyrant Cleisthenes of Sicyon. He was also credited with increasing the power of the Athenian citizens' assembly and for reducing the power of the nobility over Athenian politics.In 510 BCE, Spartan troops helped the Athenians overthrow their king, the tyrant Hippias, son of Peisistratos. Cleomenes I, king of Sparta, put in place a pro-Spartan oligarchy headed by Isagoras. But his rival Cleisthenes, with the support of the middle class and aided by democrats, took over. Cleomenes intervened in 508 and 506 BCE, but could not stop Cleisthenes, now supported by the Athenians. Through Cleisthenes' reforms, the people of Athens endowed their city with isonomic institutions—equal rights for all citizens (though only men were citizens)—and established ostracism.Hipparchus (dialogue)
The Hipparchus (; Greek: Ἵππαρχος), or Hipparch, is a dialogue attributed to the classical Greek philosopher and writer Plato. Like many of Plato's original works, Socrates is featured trying to define a single term, "love of gain" in this case, or philokerdēs (φιλοκερδές) in the original text.
There is some debate as to the work's authenticity. Stylistically, the dialogue bears many similarities to the Minos. They are the only dialogues between Socrates and a single anonymous companion; they are the only dialogues where the titles bear the name of someone long-dead; and they are the only dialogues which begin with Socrates raising a "what is" question.In the dialogue, Socrates recounts the life of Hipparchus, a tyrant of 6th century Athens and son of the famous ruler Peisistratos. Hipparchus was known for his maxims, one of which was about fairness among friends, and thus there is second theme in the dialogue concerning intellectual honesty in dialectical discussion.Hipparchus (son of Peisistratos)
Hipparchus or Hipparch (Greek: Ἵππαρχος; died 514 BC) was a member of the ruling class of Athens. He was one of the sons of Peisistratos. He was a tyrant of the city of Athens from 528/7 BC until his assassination by the tyrannicides, Harmodius and Aristogeiton in 514 BC.Hippias (disambiguation)
Hippias was an ancient Greek sophist.
Hippias may also refer to:
Hippias (tyrant), tyrant of Athens, son of Peisistratos
Hippias Major and Hippias Minor, works by Plato
a fictional character in The Crown of Violet, a novel by Geoffrey TreaseHippocrates, father of Peisistratos
Hippocrates (Greek: Ἱπποκράτης, Hippokrátēs) was the father of Peisistratos, the tyrant of Athens. According to Herodotus, he received an omen when he was at Olympia to see the Olympic games. Vessels filled with meat and water spontaneously boiled over after he offered the sacrifice, though the vessels were not placed over fire. Chilon the Lacedaemonian (one of the Seven Sages of Greece} advised him that he should disown his son, or if he did not have one, send his wife away, or else if he was not married, not to marry a wife who could bear children. Hippocrates ignored his advice. Hippocrates claimed to be descended from the Homeric chief and legendary King of Pylos, Nestor.Hippocrates (disambiguation)
Hippocrates was an ancient Greek physician of the Age of Pericles, considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine.
Hippocrates may also refer to:
Hippocrates (physician), the name of several other physicians related to Hippocrates
Hippocrates of Chios, ancient Greek geometer who wrote the first known work systematizing the fundamentals of geometry
Hippocrates of Athens (died 424 BC), ancient Greek general who was slain at the battle of Delium
Hippocrates, father of Peisistratos
Hippocrates (lunar crater)
Hippocrates of Gela, ancient Greek tyrant who dominated Sicilian politics during his rule between 498 BC and 491 BC
Pseudo-Hippocrates, an anonymous writer, dubbed with the name because his works had been included in Hippocratic Corpus
Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine
"Hypocrates", song from 2012 album Electra Heart by Welsh singer Marina and the Diamonds
Hippocrate, a 2014 French film directed by Thomas LiltiLand reform in Athens
Two major land reforms were attempted at ancient Athens in the 6th century BC.Lapithos
Lapithos or Lapethos (Greek: Λάπηθος; Turkish: Lapta) is a town in Cyprus. De facto, it is under the control of Northern Cyprus.
According to Strabo, the ancient settlement of Lapathus, the site of which is nearby, was founded by Spartans. In Assyrian inscriptions, Lapithos is mentioned as one of the eleven Cypriot kingdoms. During the Persian rule, Lapithos was settled by Phoenicians. The last independent king Praxippos was subdued by Ptolemy I in 312 BC.
Lambousa is the name currently used for the ancient Roman town on the coast about 3 kilometres (2 miles) north of the current Lapta.Lygdamis of Naxos
Lygdamis (Greek: Λύγδαμις) was the tyrant of Naxos, an island in the Cyclades, during the third quarter of the 6th Century BC.
He was initially a member of the oligarchy which ruled Naxos. In 546 BC, Lygdamis supported the former Athenian tyrant Peisistratos in his landing at Marathon which led to the restoration of Peisistratos to power in Athens.The following year Lygdamis, taking advantage of discontent arising from the concentration of wealth in the hands of the oligarchs, turned against the oligarchy and seized power as tyrant with the aid of his ally Peisistratos. He secured his position by exiling potential rivals and extended his dominance over neighbouring islands such as Paros.
Lygdamis contributed a force of mercenaries to aid his ally Polycrates, the powerful tyrant of Samos, in his campaigns against Miletus and Mytilene. Lygdamis had an ambitious building program and in 530 BC he began work on a huge Temple of Apollo which was never completed. The Portara, the lintel of the temple, stands today as one of the chief landmarks of Naxos.
In 524 BC Lygdamis' rule over Naxos was ended when he was overthrown by the intervention of a Spartan army. Naxos continued to prosper in the years immediately after Lygdamis' rule under a new oligarchy.Peisistratus of Pylos
In Greek mythology, Peisistratus or Pisistratus (Ancient Greek: Πεισίστρατος Peisistratos) was a prince of Pylos in Messenia.Ploutonion
A ploutonion (Ancient Greek: Πλουτώνιον, lit. "Place of Pluto") is a sanctuary specially dedicated to the ancient Greek and Roman god Pluto (better known as Hades ). Only a few such shrines are known from classical sources, usually at locations that produce poisonous emissions and were considered to represent an entrance to the underworld.
At Eleusis, the ploutonion was near the north entrance to the sacred district (temenos). It was built by Peisistratos in the 6th century BC and rebuilt two centuries later, when the Eleusinian mysteries were at the height of their influence. The cave was the traditional site of the birth of the Divine Child Ploutos.
The Greek geographer Strabo mentioned three sites as having a ploutonion. One was on a hill between Tralleis and Nysa. Its precinct encompassed a sacred grove, a temple of Plouton and Persephone, and an adjoining cave called the Charonion, after the ferryman of the dead. According to Strabo, it "possesses some singular physical properties" and served as a shrine for healing and a dream oracle (incubation).
Pluto's Gate, the ploutonion at Phrygian Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale in Turkey), was connected to the local cult of Cybele. Inhaling its vapors was said to be lethal to all living things except the Galli, the goddess's eunuch priests. During the Roman Imperial era, the cult of Apollo subsumed existing religious sites there, including the ploutonion. Archaeological excavations in the 1960s showed that the ploutonion had been located within the sacred precinct of Apollo: "it consisted of a natural opening along a wall of travertine, leading to a grotto in which streams of hot water gushed forth to release a noxious exhalation". This site was also associated with a dream oracle; the Neoplatonist Damascius dreamed that he was Attis in the company of the Great Mother.
Strabo further records that Lake Avernus in Italy had been taken as a ploutonion because the gases it produced were so noxious that they overwhelmed birds flying overhead. According to earlier sources, he says, this was the oracle of the dead (nekumanteion) sought by Odysseus in Book 11 of the Odyssey; Strabo, however, seems not to have himself regarded Avernus as a ploutonion.
There was a Ploutonion at Acharaca.Rhaecelus
Rhaecelus or Rhaikelos (Greek: Ῥαίκηλος) was an Eretrian colony in Lower Macedonia, near Aeneia, founded by Athenian tyrant Peisistratos of the 6th century BC. Its site is located near Aeneia.Solon
Solon (Greek: Σόλων Sólōn [só.lɔːn]; c. 630 – c. 560 BC) was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in archaic Athens. His reforms failed in the short-term, yet he is often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy. He wrote poetry for pleasure, as patriotic propaganda, and in defence of his constitutional reforms.
Modern knowledge of Solon is limited by the fact that his works only survive in fragments and appear to feature interpolations by later authors and by the general paucity of documentary and archaeological evidence covering Athens in the early 6th century BC. Ancient authors such as Herodotus and Plutarch are the main sources, but wrote about Solon long after his death. 4th-century orators, such as Aeschines, tended to attribute to Solon all the laws of their own, much later times.Stasis (political history)
Stasis (Ancient Greek: στάσις) is a term in Greek political history. It refers to:
the constant feuds between aristocrats in archaic Greece, and their struggles to attain the best in title (aristos is Greek for "the best") both in terms of prestige and property. It led to various civil wars and the establishment of Tyrannies in many cities of ancient Greece, most notably the Tyranny of Peisistratos in Athens
the feuding between oligarchic and democratic factions in the Greek city-states of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. This is a theme of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, which features a famous description of factional fighting on the island of Corcyra (modern Corfu).Timeline of ancient Greece
This is a timeline of Ancient Greece from its emergence around 800 BC to its subjection to the Roman Empire in 146 BC.
For earlier times, see Greek Dark Ages, Aegean civilizations and Mycenaean Greece. For later times see Roman Greece, Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Greece.
For modern Greece after 1820, see Timeline of modern Greek history.
Ancient Athenian statesmen