Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XIV.: Peisistratus makes himself tyrant; his exile and return. - Constitution of Athens
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CHAP. XIV.: Peisistratus makes himself tyrant; his exile and return. - Aristotle, Constitution of Athens [320 BC]
Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, trans. Thomas J. Dymes (London: Seeley and Co., 1891).
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Peisistratus makes himself tyrant; his exile and return.
Peisistratus, with his character of being a strong partisan of the people and the great reputation that he had made in the war against the Megarians, by covering himself with wounds and then pretending that he had suffered this treatment from the opposite faction, succeeded in persuading the people to give him a body-guard, on the proposal of Aristion. When he had got the club-bearers, as they were called, he rose up with them against the people, and seized the Acropolis in the thirty-second year after the passing of the laws in the archonship of Komeas. The tale goes that Solon, when Peisistratus asked for the guard, spoke against it, and said that he was wiser than some and braver than others; for that he was wiser than all such as did not know that Peisistratus was aiming at absolute power, and braver than such as who, although they knew this, held their peace. When his words availed nothing, taking up his arms before the doors, he said that he had come to the rescue of his country as far as he was able (for he was by this time an exceedingly old man), and called upon everybody else to follow his example. Solon effected nothing at the time by his exhortations. And Peisistratus, after he had possessed himself of the supreme power, administered the state more like a citizen than a tyrant. But as his power was not yet firmly rooted, the parties of Megakles and Lykurgus came to an agreement, and drove him out in the sixth year after his first establishment in the archonship of Hegesias. In the twelfth year after this, Megakles, being harassed by the rival parties, again made proposals to Peisistratus on the condition that he should marry his daughter, and brought him back again in quaint and exceedingly simple fashion. For he first spread a report that Athena was bringing back Peisistratus; then, having found a tall and beautiful woman—as Herodotus says of the deme of the Pæanes, but as some say, a Thracian, a seller of garlands of Kolyttus, whose name was Phye—he dressed her up so as to look like the goddess, and so brought back the tyrant with him. In this way Peisistratus made his entry, riding in a chariot with the woman sitting by his side, and the citizens, doing obeisance, received them in wonderment.