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Peisistratus & Megacles

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So, I love history, but I especially like it when as you read it you can really get a feel for how people were thinking. Tonite as I was studying Greek Civ. stuff I ran across a psuedo-anecdote; it’s actualy history text, but it really seemed like more of a soap opera.

So, there’s this guy Peisistratus. He’s a distant relative of this old codger named Solon, who just happened to write a lot of foundation law for Athens. You see, Peisistratus uses his connections to his advantage and marches in with his body guard and the men of the hill (i.e. lower class) and takes over Athens. Ta Da! Lady’s and gentlemen, Athens’ first tyrant.

Well, the men of the coast and men of the plain (i.e. not poor people) aren’t too happy with all this, so they all band up with they pick a guy named Megacles to be their leader. Now, Megacles has just returned from exile. You see, he committed a bit of sacrelidge by killing a guys who happened to be leaving the sanctity of the temple of Athena after a failed attempt by another guy to take over the city.

Anyway, Megacles gets in a little squabble with his guys. After some good bickering, he stomps off and goes to Peisistratus with a deal. “I will put you back in power, but only if you marry my daughter.” Peisistratus thought about it… “Eh, why the hell not?” and they made a deal. Peisistratus got married, got his tyrranical state back. All was well.

Until Peisistratus made a little boo boo. Turns out that he already had a couple kids and to protect their inheritance, he decided not to have any children with his new wife. Here the narrator tells how he did so by not having “conventional intercourse” with the lady. (You may presume what that means.)

Megacles finds out; “Aw hell naw!” And gets back together with his old gang (the coast and plain dudes) to oust Peisistratus… again.

blah blah it goes back and forth and later on megacles finally gets exiled again and peisistratus remains tyrant until his death.

all in all it may seem boring to the average american. but to me 6th century BC in Athens had some great soap story plots.


Written by Beth

October 16, 2007 at 1:33 am

Posted in history