|ATHENIANS CELEBRATING THE RETURN OF PISISTRATUS|
Pisistratus was a Tyrant of Athens, but he was for the most part, a fairly benevolent and
fair-minded ruler, regarding most issues except power-sharing. He was a friend and admirer of
Solon, and when he came to power he promoted many of Solon's reforms, and treated Solon with the
greatest courtesy, but Solon in turn, did not trust him and warned his fellow citizens against the
danger of a dictatorship. Pisistratus was so popular with the rural classes however, that these
warnings fell on deaf ears.
Pisistratus came to power as an advocate for the rural classes, immediately after Solon left
Athens in 565 B.C. His rivals were Megacles, leader of the Alcmaeonidae, and
Lycurgus, who represented the coast and merchant parties. Pisistratus was driven out of Athens, but
then returned several times, and Megacles was sometimes an ally, and later a rival, and played a
role in his alternate banishments and restorations. After Pisistratus was banished for the second
time in 556 B.C., he spent many years in Euboea, where he made a great deal of
money mining. After ten years he returned again to Athens in triumph, and from that point on, to
his death in 528 B.C., he was the undisputed leader of Athens. He succeeded in
exiling Megacles and the entire clan of the Alcmaeonidae, and they were not able to return to Athens
for an entire generation. Pisistratus reigned for over twenty five years, and during this time,
Athens was very prosperous, and became a center for learning, commerce and culture. He instituted
the Panatheniac Games, commissioned the first written version of Homer's Iliad and
Odyssey, and promoted drama and scholarship. He was succeeded in his dictatorship by his
sons Hippias and Hipparchus.
Key events during the life of Pisistratus:
||Fought under Solon to reclaim the Island of Salamis for Athens.
||Solon left Athens, and Pisistratus became the leader of the poor, rural classes.
||Pisistratus seized the Acropolis with a group of body guards and became a tyrant.
||Pisistratus was first driven out, then aided in his return, by Megacles, leader of the Alcmaeonidae.
||Marries, but then divorces Megacles' daughter.
||Driven out of Athens, again by his (now) enemy Megacles.
||Exiled to Euboea, but made a lot of money there in mining.
||Returned with a large force to Athens and regained power.
||Consolidated power by rulings favoring rural and poor classes. Kept a militia and held hostages.
||Upheld Solon's laws. Instituted Panathenaic Festival. Support the arts, culture, and drama.
||Commissioned the first written editions of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.
||Died and was succeeded by his sons Hippias and Hipparchus.
||Exiled son of Pisistratus; helped lead Persian forces against Athens at Marathon.
||Rewrote the laws of Athens to better protect poor citizens from the rich.
||Opposed, and then allied himself with Pisistratus. Married Agriste of the Alcmaeonidae clan.
|Lycurgus of Athens
||Political Enemy of Pisistratus.
|Lygdamos of Naxos
||Political Ally of Pisistratus.