chapter  6
14 Pages

THE TYRANNY OF THE PEISISTRATIDS AT ATHENS

PEISISTRATIDS AT ATHENS The account of tyranny at Athens is covered in three stages by the literary sources – the rise of Peisistratus, his rule, and the downfall of the tyranny – but only Aristotle (or a pupil) in the Athenaion Politeia or ‘Constitution of Athens’ (Ath. Pol.) covers all three. Herodotus concentrates on the first (1.59-64) and the third (5.55-61); and Thucydides briefly on the second (6.54.5-6) and more fully on the third (1.20.2; 6.53.3-59). The details and the nature of Peisistratus’ rule are described in Aristotle’s Ath. Pol. (16) and his Politics (1314a-1315b), but only in broad, general terms. However, although concrete facts are few in number, there is sufficient agreement among the sources that Peisistratus’ tyranny was for the most part popular: he achieved the much-desired political stability at home by conciliating the upper class through diplomacy, and by winning the goodwill of the lower class by his economic policies.