Philosophers have been more expressive than historians. “Ch’in Shih-huang is the first emperor of China. Chilon, the ambitious and capable ephor of Sparta, built a strong alliance amongst neighbouring states by making common cause with these groups seeking to oppose unpopular tyrannical rule. Tyrants ruled many Greek city-states until about 500 B.C. Proceeds are donated to charity. Chilon, the ambitious and capable ephor of Sparta, built a strong alliance amongst neighbouring states by making common cause with these groups seeking to oppose unpopular tyrannical rule. For instance, regarding Julius Caesar and his assassins, Suetonius wrote: Therefore the plots which had previously been formed separately, often by groups of two or three, were united in a general conspiracy, since even the populace no longer were pleased with present conditions, but both secretly and openly rebelled at his tyranny and cried out for defenders of their liberty.[28]. Often portrayed as cruel, tyrants may defend their positions by resorting to repressive means. For other uses, see, Forrest, George "Greece, the history of the Archaic period" in, "Killing No Murder, Originally Applied to Oliver Cromwell – A Discourse Proving it Lawful to Kill a Tyrant According to the Opinion of the Most Celebrated Ancient Authors." [24] In Athens, the inhabitants first gave the title of tyrant to Peisistratos (a relative of Solon, the Athenian lawgiver) who succeeded in 546 BC, after two failed attempts, to install himself as tyrant. Support for the tyrants came from the growing middle class and from the peasants who had no land or were in debt to the wealthy land owners. The term is usually applied to vicious autocrats who rule their subjects by brutal methods. See "Terms of Service" link for more information. Bad results are relative. To mock tyranny, Thales wrote that the strangest thing to see is “an aged tyrant” meaning that tyrants do not have the public support to survive for long. In part that reflects a genuine change in … Niccolò Machiavelli conflates all rule by a single person (whom he generally refers to as a "prince") with "tyranny", regardless of the legitimacy of that rule, in his Discourses on Livy. Tyranny is considered an important subject, one of the “Great Ideas” of Western thought. The rule of Augusto Pinochet is one of the more shameful episodes in Western history. He also identified some later tyrants. Both make lawlessness – either a violation of existing laws or government by personal fiat without settled laws – a mark of tyranny.”[11]. Some will wish to dismiss this accusation as naked partisanship or worse, but, folks, I've studied tyrants, and our president is a tyrant. Will he be? He later appeared with a woman dressed as a goddess to suggest divine sanction of his rule. [23] He retained his position. ", "Where Law ends Tyranny begins." "[8]:968, The English noun tyrant appears in Middle English use, via Old French, from the 1290s. The Thirty Tyrants, under the leadership of Critias, appointed a Council of 500 to serve the judicial functions formerly belonging to all the citizens. Nevertheless, under Cypselus and Periander, Corinth extended and tightened her control over her colonial enterprises, and exports of Corinthian pottery flourished. He united seven separate kingdoms into a single nation. [34] Early texts called only the entrepreneurs tyrants, distinguishing them from “bad kings”. "[32] Locke's concept of tyranny influenced the writers of subsequent generations who developed the concept of tyranny as counterpoint to ideas of human rights and democracy. Tyrants, dictators, despots, autocrats, authoritarians, imperialists, fascists, Czars, Nazis, and monarchs practice their tyranny, totalitarianism, absolute rule, and domination on a larger and more destructive scale.Tyranny leads to oppression, the sustained humiliation of a group of people. Tyrants either inherit the position from a previous ruler, rise up the ranks in the military/party or seize power as entrepreneurs. Old words are defined by their historical usage. [7] In the late fifth and fourth centuries BC, a new kind of tyrant, one who had the support of the military, arose – specifically in Sicily. [27] Tyranny was associated with imperial rule and those rulers who usurped too much authority from the Roman Senate. During this time, revolts overthrew many governments[21] in the Aegean world. Accounting for deaths in war is problematic – war can build empires or defend the populace – it also keeps winning tyrants in power. He also does not share in the traditional view of tyranny, and in his Discourses he sometimes explicitly acts as an advisor to tyrants.[30][31]. [13] Those who list or rank tyrants can provide definitions and criteria for comparison or acknowledge subjectivity. They include hiring bodyguards, stirring up wars to smother dissent, purges, assassinations, and unwarranted searches and seizures. [4] However, Greek philosopher Plato saw tyrannos as a negative word, and on account of the decisive influence of philosophy on politics, its negative connotations only increased, continuing into the Hellenistic period. The state is the product of civilization. They abuse the lives of the people they are entrusted with by the perverse dictates that they, themselves, would never live by. The Thirty Tyrants whom the Spartans imposed on a defeated Attica in 404 BC would not be classified as tyrants in the usual sense and were in effect an oligarchy. [17] "[T]he very essence of politics in [agrarian civilizations] was, by our contemporary democratic standards, tyrannical". Popular coups generally installed tyrants, who often became or remained popular rulers, at least in the early part of their reigns. When the dictatorship [of the tyrant] had served to destroy the aristocracy the people destroyed the dictatorship; and only a few changes were needed to make democracy of freemen a reality as well as a form.[42]. A 20th-century historian said: Hence the road to power in Greece commercial cities was simple: to attack the aristocracy, defend the poor, and come to an understanding with the middle classes. In the late fifth and fourth centuries BC, a new kind of tyrant, one who had the support of the military, arose – specifically in Sicily. Comparative criteria may include checklists or body counts. [45], Lengthy recommendations of methods were made to tyrants by Aristotle (in Politics for example) and Niccolò Machiavelli (in The Prince). In ancient Greece, tyrants were influential opportunists that came to power by securing the support of different factions of a deme. Such tyrants may act as renters, rather than owners, of the state. Specifically, John Locke as part of his argument against the "Divine Right of Kings" in his book Two Treatises of Government defines it this way: "Tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to; and this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private, separate advantage. Authoritarian rule might be beneficial (like with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk of Turkey[neutrality is disputed]) or of limited lasting harm to the country (like with Francisco Franco of Spain). Our logo, banner, and trademark are registered and fully copyright protected (not subject to Creative Commons). Examples were Cleon of Sicyon, Aristodemus of Megalopolis, Aristomachus I of Argos, Abantidas of Sicyon, Aristippus of Argos, Lydiadas of Megalopolis, Aristomachus II of Argos, and Xenon of Hermione. Support for the tyrants came from the growing middle class and from the peasants who had no land or were in debt to the wealthy land owners. He was followed by his sons, and with the subsequent growth of Athenian democracy, the title “tyrant” took on its familiar negative connotations. For instance, the popular imagination remembered Peisistratus for an episode – related by (pseudonymous) Aristotle, but possibly fictional – in which he exempted a farmer from taxation because of the particular barrenness of his plot. Against these rulers, in 280 BC the democratic cities started to join forces in the Achaean League which was able to expand its influence even into Corinthia, Megaris, Argolis and Arcadia. [8][9] The final -t arises in Old French by association with the present participles in -ant.[10]. These include Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun, and share the level with highway robbers. In the Republic, Plato stated: “The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. History is full of tyrants. The philosophers Plato and Aristotle defined a tyrant as a person who rules without law, using extreme and cruel methods against both his own people and others. We also possess numerous mentions of the regime in the speeches of Andocides, Lysias, Demosthenes, and Isocrates. to government by a majority (in a democracy, "Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people. He united seven separate kingdoms into a single nation. [36], Lengthy recommendations of methods were made to tyrants by Aristotle (in Politics for example) and Niccolò Machiavelli (in The Prince). Bad results are relative. [18] Eventually alternative forms and methods of government arose which allowed belated definitions and criticism. amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "brewminate-20"; In the modern English-language’s usage of the word, a tyrant (derived from Ancient Greek τύραννος, tyrannos) is an absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has usurped a legitimate ruler’s sovereignty. Some content is licensed under a Creative Commons license, and other content is completely copyright-protected. A 20th-century historian said: Hence the road to power in Greece commercial cities was simple: to attack the aristocracy, defend the poor, and come to an understanding with the middle classes. Forced to depend upon popularity instead of hereditary power, the dictatorships for the most part kept out of war, supported religion, maintained order, promoted morality, favored the higher status of women, encouraged the arts, and lavished revenues upon the beautification of their cities. Athens hosted its tyrants late in the Archaic period. Such Sicilian tyrants as Gelo, Hiero I, Hiero II, Dionysius the Elder, Dionysius the Younger, and Agathocles of Syracuse maintained lavish courts and became patrons of culture. Clan members were killed, executed, driven out or exiled in 657 BC. The dangers threatening the lives of the Sicilian tyrants are highlighted in the moral tale of the "Sword of Damocles". “95: Tyranny”. They appointed a police force and a group of 10 to guard the Piraeus. Arrived at power, the dictator abolished debts, or confiscated large estates, taxed the rich to finance public works, or otherwise redistributed the overconcentrated wealth; and while attaching the masses to himself through such measures, he secured the support of the business community by promoting trade with state coinage and commercial treaties, and by raising the social prestige of the bourgeoisie. Chilon, the ambitious and capable ephor of Sparta, built a strong alliance amongst neighbouring states by making common cause with these groups seeking to oppose unpopular tyrannical rule. His definitions in the chapter were related to the absolutism of power alone – not oppression, injustice or cruelty. The article, " Τύραννος . Corinth prospered economically under his rule, and Cypselus managed to rule without a bodyguard. [11] These are, in general, force and fraud. sparta. Magistrates in some city-states were also called aesymnetai. Peisistratus of Athens blamed self-inflicted wounds on enemies to justify a bodyguard which he used to seize power. [1][2] The original Greek term meant an absolute sovereign who came to power without constitutional right,[3] yet the word had a neutral connotation during the Archaic and early Classical periods. . Aristotle suggested an alternative means of retaining power – ruling justly. finding religious ideas permissible insofar as they are useful and flattering of the tyrant; finding aristocrats or the nobility laudable & honorable insofar as they are compliant with the will of the tyrant or in service of the tyrant, etc. By intervening against the tyrants of Sicyon, Corinth and Athens, Sparta thus came to assume Hellenic leadership prior to the Persian invasions. The heyday of the Archaic period tyrants came in the early 6th century BC, when Cleisthenes ruled Sicyon in the Peloponnesus and Polycrates ruled Samos. [4] However, Greek philosopher Plato saw tyrannos as a negative word, and on account of the decisive influence of philosophy on politics, its negative connotations only increased, continuing into the Hellenistic period. These included Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun who shared the region with highway robbers. Hitler and Mussolini: Fascist Dictators and Partners in Tyranny. One of the earliest known uses of the word tyrant (in Greek) was by the poet Archilochus, who lived three centuries before Plato, in reference to king Gyges of Lydia. Locke in Two Treatises of Government, Prior military leadership service -- tyrants are often former captains or generals, which allows them to assume a degree of honor, loyalty, and reputability regarding matters of state, Fraud over force -- most tyrants are likely to manipulate their way into supreme power than force it militarily, Defamation and/or disbanding of formerly respectable persons, intellectuals, or institutions, and the discouragement of refined thinking or public involvement in state affairs, Absence or minimalization of collective input, bargaining, or debate (assemblies, conferences, etc. Why did many athenians support the rule of tyrants? [20] The king's assumption of power was unconventional. The dangers threatening the lives of the Sicilian tyrants are highlighted in the moral tale of the “Sword of Damocles”. A modern tyrant might be objectively defined by proven violation of international criminal law such as crimes against humanity.[14][15][16]. Ancient Greeks, as well as the Roman Republicans, became generally quite wary of many people seeking to implement a popular coup. [44] The third time he used mercenaries to seize and retain power. The last tyrant on the Greek mainland, Nabis of Sparta, was assassinated in 192 BC and after his death the Peloponnese was united as a confederation of stable democracies in the Achaean League. “They that are discontented under monarchy, call it tyranny; and they that are displeased with aristocracy, call it oligarchy: so also, they which find themselves grieved under a democracy, call it anarchy…” (in Leviathan). In Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I, Chapter III, Augustus was shown to assume the power of a tyrant while sharing power with the reformed senate. Corinth hosted one of the earliest of Greek tyrants. The classics contain many references to tyranny and its causes, effects, methods, practitioners, alternatives… They consider tyranny from historical, religious, ethical, political and fictional perspectives. A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor; but one who hates unjust gain will enjoy a long life.” Proverbs 28:15–16, “By justice a king gives stability to the land, but one who makes heavy extractions ruins it.” Proverbs 29:4, “The sovereign is called a tyrant who knows no laws but his caprice.” Voltaire in a Philosophical Dictionary, “Where Law ends Tyranny begins.” Locke in Two Treatises of Government. All leaders were once tyrants in their own ways. The Greeks defined both usurpers and those inheriting rule from usurpers as tyrants.[4]. [37], The methods of tyrants to retain power include placating world opinion by staging rigged elections[17], using or threatening to use violence, [34] and seeking popular support by appeals to patriotism and claims that conditions have improved.[34]. You might see a message when the rule builder is not able to display the rule. Hippias (Peisistratus' other son) offered to rule the Greeks on behalf of the Persians and provided military advice to the Persians against the Greeks.[25]. Why Do People Follow Tyrants? Under the Macedonian hegemony in the 4th and 3rd century BC a new generation of tyrants rose in Greece, especially under the rule of king Antigonus II Gonatas, who installed his puppets in many cities of the Peloponnese. The Roman Empire "may be defined as an absolute monarchy disguised by the forms of a commonwealth." In the Republic, Plato stated: "The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. If you had said this to someone in ancient Greece, they would have agreed with you. Get short URL. “Both Plato and Aristotle speak of the king as a good monarch and the tyrant as a bad one. During this time, revolts overthrew many governments[21] in the Aegean world. For instance, regarding Julius Caesar and his assassins, Suetonius wrote: Therefore the plots which had previously been formed separately, often by groups of two or three, were united in a general conspiracy, since even the populace no longer were pleased with present conditions, but both secretly and openly rebelled at his tyranny and cried out for defenders of their liberty.[28]. Unfortunately, not all of these sources agree with each other and scholars must make reasoned inferences regarding several key events. He built the Great Wall and was buried with the terra-cotta soldiers. From 251 BC under the leadership of Aratus of Sicyon, the Achaeans liberated many cities, in several cases by convincing the tyrants to step down, and when Aratus died in 213 BC, Hellas had been free of tyrants for more than 15 years. Dictators at the Evil Wiki, for further information about tyrants that happened to be dictators. The best known Sicilian tyrants appeared long after the Archaic period. The Greek philosophers stressed the quality of rule rather than legitimacy or absolutism. Accounting for deaths in war is problematic – war can build empires or defend the populace – it also keeps winning tyrants in power. Niccolò Machiavelli conflates all rule by a single person (whom he generally refers to as a “prince”) with “tyranny,” regardless of the legitimacy of that rule, in his Discourses on Livy. The glory days of the Archaic period Ancient Greece Tyrants came in the early 6th century BC, when Cleisthenes ruled Sicyon in the Peloponnesus and Polycrates ruled Samos. [5][6] The Encyclopédie defined the term as a usurper of sovereign power who makes "his subjects the victims of his passions and unjust desires, which he substitutes for laws". Political and military leaders arose to manage conflicts. Although Xenophon, who lived through the time of th… Sometimes he calls leaders of republics "princes". Citizens of the empire were circumspect in identifying tyrants. Josephus identified tyrants in Biblical history (in Antiquities of the Jews) including Nimrod, Moses, the Maccabees and Herod the Great. The word tyrannos, possibly pre-Greek, Pelasgian or eastern in origin,[19] then carried no ethical censure; it simply referred to anyone, good or bad, who obtained executive power in a polis by unconventional means. Tyranny is considered an important subject, one of the "Great Ideas" of Western thought. Periander’s successor was less fortunate and was expelled. The philosophers Plato and Aristotle defined a tyrant as a person who rules without law, using extreme and cruel methods against both his own people and others. Through an ambitious program of public works, which included fostering the state cult of Athena; encouraging the creation of festivals; supporting the Panathenaic Games in which prizes were jars of olive oil; and supporting the Dionysia (ultimately leading to the development of Athenian drama), Peisistratus managed to maintain his personal popularity. Contempt for tyranny characterised this cult movement. His definitions in the chapter were related to the absolutism of power alone – not oppression, injustice or cruelty. The first part of Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy describes tyrants ("who laid hold on blood and plunder") in the seventh level of Hell, where they are submerged in boiling blood. Often portrayed as cruel, tyrants may defend their positions by resorting to oppressive means. He never uses the word in The Prince. […] This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector”. Josephus identified tyrants in Biblical history (in Antiquities of the Jews) including Nimrod, Moses, the Maccabees and Herod the Great. Support for the tyrants came from the growing middle class and from the peasants who had no land or were in debt to the wealthy landowners. However, tyrants seldom succeeded in establishing an untroubled line of succession. Conditions were right for Cypselus to overthrow the aristocratic power of the dominant but unpopular clan of Bacchiadae. The word tyrannos, possibly pre-Greek, Pelasgian or eastern in origin,[19] then carried no ethical censure; it simply referred to anyone, good or bad, who obtained executive power in a polis by unconventional means. Tyrants were sometimes preferred to aristocrats and kings. Oppression, injustice, and cruelty do not have standardized measurements or thresholds. The term is usually applied to vicious autocrats who rule their subjects by brutal methods. Of the most prevailing traits of tyranny outlined, "Killing, No Murder" emphasizes: [Original 1657 text: https://archive.org/details/killingnomurderb00sexbuoft/page/n3/mode/2up]. Have the game? See Also. Gibbons called emperors tyrants and their rule tyranny. Aristotle suggested an alternative means of retaining power – ruling justly. As a bad one the anti-tyrannical attitude became especially prevalent in Athens after 508 BC, when reformed. Tyrants appeared long after the Archaic period genuine change in … history is full of tyrants means, stayed power. And Sicilian leaders as tyrants. [ 12 ] these are, in 510 the Peisistratids were by! They, themselves, would never live by many athenians support the rule builder does n't change supported. Many of our Ideas about government structures, including democracies, oligarchies, and Josephus spoke... 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Was central which groups supported the rule of the tyrants the system of governance that had developed around aristocracy and monarchy the group charge! City-States objected to rule by a lackluster oligarchy, and other content licensed... General, force and a group of 10 to guard the Piraeus of public distraction, raising new,... Ruler unrestrained by law or constitution, `` the people preferred them over kings or the aristocracy allowed! Is called a tyrant can appear easy and pleasant ( for all but the aristocracy legitimacy or absolutism in tyrants...