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date: 19 April 2019

Pittacus, of Mytilene, c. 650–570 BCE

Pittacus of *Mytilen (c. 650–570 bce), statesman, lawgiver, and sage. He commanded in the war against Athens for Sigeum, on which Periander of Corinth later arbitrated (see arbitration); helped to overthrow the tyrant Melanchros, then after further complex factional struggles in Mytilene, was elected aisymnētēs for ten years. Alcaeus (1) accused him of being tyrant, but he laid down office and died ten years later. One of his sayings was that ‘painted wood’, i.e. law, was the best protector of the city. His best-remembered law doubled the penalty for all offences if committed while drunk. A moderate reformer, like his contemporary Solon, he was violently attacked by his fellow citizen and former ally Alcaeus, whose family had helped overthrow tyranny but wished to perpetuate the old aristocratic rule.

Bibliography

Alcaeus.Find this resource:

Strabo 13. 617.Find this resource:

Aristotle, Politica 1274b, 1285a–b.Find this resource:

Diogenes Laertius, 1. 4.Find this resource:

Plato, Protagoras 26 ff.Find this resource:

Plutarch, Convivium septem sapientium.Find this resource:

D. Page, Sappho and Alcaeus (1955).Find this resource:

C. M. Bowra, Greek Lyric Poetry2 (1961), ch. 4.Find this resource:

A. Andrewes, The Greek Tyrants (1956).Find this resource:

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