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date: 27 January 2023



  • Victor Ehrenberg
  •  and P. J. Rhodes


Tyranny is the name given to the form of monarchy set up by usurpers in many Greek states in the 7th and 6th cents. bce. The earliest occurrence of the term is in *Archilochus (tyrannis, fr. 19. 3 West). Tyranny was not a special form of constitution, or necessarily a reign of terror; the tyrant might either rule directly or retain the existing political institutions but exercise a preponderant influence over their working, and his rule might be benevolent or malevolent. Tyranny was given a bad sense especially by *Plato(1) and *Aristotle, for whom it was the worst possible form of constitution.Among the best known of the early tyrants were *Pheidon of Argos, *Cypselus and *Periander of Corinth, *Cleisthenes(1) of Sicyon, *Pisistratus and his sons *Hippias(1) and *Hipparchus(1) in Athens, and *Polycrates(1) of Samos.


  • Greek History and Historiography
  • Greek Law

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