Macan, suggest the period between Solon and Peisistratus, c. 570 B.C. It may be questioned, however, whether the whole episode is not mythical.
PEISISTRATUS, (605?-527 B.C.), Athenian statesman, was the son of Hippocrates.
From this widely accepted belief arose the almost certainly false statement that Peisistratus took part in Solon's successful war against Megara, which necessarily took place before Solon's archonship (probably in 600 B.C.).
Whatever be the true explanation of this problem, it is certain (1) that Peisistratus was regarded as a leading soldier, and (2) that his position was strengthened by the prestige of his family.
Partly owing to this, and partly to ancient feuds whose origin we cannot trace, the Athenian people was split up into three great factions known as the Plain (Pedieis) led by Lycurgus and Miltiades, both of noble families; the Shore (Parali) led by the Alcmaeonidae, represented at this time by Megacles, who was strong in his wealth and by his recent marriage with Agariste, daughter of Cleisthenes of Sicyon; the Hill or Upland (Diacreis, Diacrii) led by Peisistratus, who no doubt owed his influence among these hillmen partly to the possession of large estates at Marathon.
Hence their attachment to Peisistratus, the "man of the people," who called upon them to sweep away the last barriers which separated rich and poor, nobles and commoners, city and countryside.
The Alcmaeonids fled and Peisistratus remained in power for about five years, during which Solon's death occurred.
The condition was that their families should be allied by the marriage of Peisistratus to Megacles' daughter Coesyra.
A beautiful woman, it is said, by name Phya, was disguised as Athena and drove into the Agora with Peisistratus at her side, while proclamations were made that the goddess herself was restoring Peisistratus to Athens.
Further it is suggested that Peisistratus was unwilling to have children by one on whom lay the curse of the Cylonian outrage.
Yet there is no doubt that the rule of Peisistratus was most beneficial to Athens both in her foreign and in her internal relations.
But the great wisdom of Peisistratus is shown most clearly in the skill with which he blinded the people to his absolutism.
It seems likely that Peisistratus, to please his supporters, originated the City-Dionysia.
Lastly, Peisistratus carried out the purification of Delos, the sacred island of Apollo of the Ionians; all the tombs were removed from the neighbourhood of the shrine, the abode of the god of light and joy.
As to the library of Peisistratus, we have no good evidence; it may perhaps be a fiction of an Alexandrian writer.
It should be observed that the tyranny of Peisistratus is one of the many epochs of Greek history on which opinion has almost entirely changed since the age of Grote.
On the question of the family of Peisistratus see Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Aristoteles and Athen (Berlin, 1893) and a criticism by E.
The foundations of a temple were laid on the site - probably that of an ancient sanctuary - by Peisistratus, but the building in its ultimate form was for the greater part constructed under the auspices of Antiochus IV.
Fragments of Doric columns and foundations were discovered, probably intended for the temple begun by Peisistratus, the orientation of which differed slightly from that of the later structure.
In fact, it does for the Robin Hood cycle what a few years before Sir Thomas Malory had done for the Arthurian romances - what in the 6th century B.C. Peisistratus is said to have done for the Homeric poems.
He belonged to the circle of Peisistratus at Athens, and was the founder of an Orphic community.
Diogenes Laertius quotes a letter in which Cleobulus invites Solon to take refuge with him against Peisistratus; and this would imply that he was alive in 560 B.C. He is said to have held advanced views as to female education, and he was the father of the wise Cleobuline, whose riddles were not less famous than his own (Diogenes Laertius i.
During the reign of Peisistratus he is said to have visited Athens, on which occasion he related the fable of The Frogs asking for a King, to dissuade the citizens from attempting to exchange Peisistratus for another ruler.
Considerable alterations were introduced into the proceedings by Peisistratus and his sons.
Every fourth year the festival was celebrated with peculiar magnificence; gymnastic sports were added to the horse races; and there is little doubt that Peisistratus aimed at making the penteteric Panathenaea the great Ionian festival in rivalry to the Dorian Olympia.
The festival which had been beautified by Peisistratus was made still more imposing under the rule of Pericles.
We know that Peisistratus ruled by controlling the archonship, which was always held by members of his family, and the archonship of Isagoras was clearly an important party victory; we know further the names of three important men who held the office between Cleisthenes' reform and the Persian War (Hipparchus, Themistocles, Aristides) from which we infer that the office was still the prize of party competition.
At Athens Antiochus began to build a vast temple of Zeus Olympius, in place of one begun by Peisistratus; but it was only finished by Hadrian in A.D.
The author makes (perhaps wilfully) all the mistakes about the family of Peisistratus which Thucydides notices in a well-known passage (vi.
The voice of antiquity is unanimous in declaring that " Peisistratus first committed the poems of Homer to writing, and reduced them to the order in which we now read them."
Again, the Platonic dialogue Hip parchus (which though not genuine is probably earlier than the Alexandrian times) asserts that Hipparchus, son of Peisistratus, first brought the poems to Athens, and obliged the rhapsodists at the Panathenaea to follow the order of the text, " as they still do," instead of reciting portions chosen at will.
573) was thought to have been made by ' ` Peisistratus or one of his companions," when he collected the poems, which were then in a fragmentary condition.
57) says that Solon made a law that the poems should be recited with the help of a prompter so that each rhapsodist should begin where the last left off; and he argues from this that Solon did more than Peisistratus to make Homer known.
Such attempts usually start with the tacit assumption that each of the persons concerned - Lycurgus, Solon, Peisistratus, Hipparchus - must have done something for the text of Homer, or for the regulation of the rhapsodists.
Thucydides notices as a popular mistake the belief that Hipparchus was the eldest son of Peisistratus, and that consequently he was the reigning " tyrant " when he was killed by Aristogiton.
With regard to the statements which attribute some work in connexion with Homer to Peisistratus, it was noticed by Wolf that Cicero, Pausanias and the others who mention the matter do so nearly in the same words, and, therefore, appear to have drawn from a common source.
This source was .in all probability an epigram quoted in two of the short lives of Homer, and there said to have been inscribed on the statue of Peisistratus at Athens.
In it Peisistratus is made to say of himself that he "collected Homer, who was formerly sung in fragments, for the golden poet was a citizen of ours, since we Athenians founded Smyrna."
The other statements repeat these words with various minor additions, chiefly intended to explain how the poems had been reduced to this fragmentary condition, and how Peisistratus set to work to restore them.
Thus all the authority for the work of Peisistratus " reduces itself to the testimony of a single anonymous inscription " (Nutzhorn p. 40).
It is impossible of course to believe that a statue of Peisistratus was set up at Athens in the time of the free republic. The epigram is almost certainly a mere literary exercise.
Only that Homer was recited in fragments by the rhapsodists, and that these partial recitations were made into a continuous whole by Peisistratus; which does not necessarily mean more than that Peisistratus did what other authorities ascribe to Solon and Hipparchus, viz.
Against the theory which sees in Peisistratus the author of the first complete text of Homer we have to set the absolute silence of Herodotus, Thucydides, the orators and the Alexandrian grammarians.
It was inevitable that later writers should speculate about the authorship of such a law, and that it should be attributed with more or less confidence to Solon or Peisistratus or Hipparchus.
It is probably not an accident that Dieuchidas, who attributed so much to Peisistratus, was a Megarian.
In the times to which the story of Peisistratus can be traced, the 1st century B.C., the substitution of the " tyrant " for the legislator was extremely natural.
It may even be suspected that anecdotes in praise of Peisistratus and Hipparchus were a delicate form of flattery addressed to the reigning Ptolemy.
In the later Byzantine times it was believed that Peisistratus was aided by seventy grammarians, of whom Zenodotus and Aristarchus were the chief.
It is true that Tzetzes, one of the writers from whom we have this story, gives a better version, according to which Peisistratus employed four men, viz.
On the first opportunity Bacon rose and briefly pointed out that the earl's plea of having done nothing save what was absolutely necessary to defend his life from the machinations of his enemies was weak and worthless, inasmuch as these enemies were purely imaginary; and he compared his case to that of Peisistratus, who had made use of a somewhat similar stratagem to cloak his real designs upon the city of Athens.