The justification for ousting a tyrant was absent from the historian’s description but was central to the philosophers. The rule builder doesn't change the supported syntax, validation, or processing of dynamic group rules in any way. Old words are defined by their historical usage. 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. Supported by the prosperity of the peasantry and landowning interests of the plain, which was prospering from the rise of olive oil exports, as well as his clients from Marathon, he managed to achieve authoritarian power. " 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. Despite financial help from Persia, in 510 the Peisistratids were expelled by a combination of intrigue, exile and Spartan arms. 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. Bad results are relative. Often portrayed as cruel, tyrants may defend their positions by resorting to repressive means. We will start the list with one of history’s oldest, cruelest and most unpredictable tyrants. Tyrants either inherit the position from a previous ruler, rise up the ranks in the military/party or seize power as entrepreneurs. 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.. 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.  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. Afterward, Corinth was ruled by a lackluster oligarchy, and was eventually eclipsed by the rising fortunes of Athens and Sparta. "...Cicero's head and hands [were] cut off and nailed to the rostrum of the Senate to remind everyone of the perils of speaking out against tyranny. “After a decent resistance, the crafty tyrant submitted to the orders of the senate; and consented to receive the government of the provinces, and the general command of the Roman armies…” Emperors “humbly professed themselves the accountable ministers of the senate, whose supreme decrees they dictated and obeyed.” The Roman Empire “may be defined as an absolute monarchy disguised by the forms of a commonwealth.” Roman emperors were deified. Brewminate uses Infolinks and is an Amazon Associate with links to items available there. Greek tyranny grew out of the struggle of the under classes against the aristocracy, or against priest-kings where archaic traditions and mythology sanctioned hereditary and/or traditional rights to rule. No one said he’d win the Presidency. The Greeks defined both usurpers and those inheriting rule from usurpers as tyrants.. The historical definition is best understood from their historical perspective. ... lying and deceit, indifference to conventional laws or rules or morality, and more. Tyrants inevitably employ a militaristic “divide and conquer” tactics. He later appeared with a woman dressed as a goddess to suggest divine sanction of his rule. Political and military leaders arose to manage conflicts. They see groups of people as things to be conquered (rather than nurtured). And they did all these things, in many cases, while preserving the forms of popular government, so that even under despotism the people learned the ways of liberty. Authoritarian rule might be beneficial (like with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk of Turkey or of limited lasting harm to the country (like with Francisco Franco of Spain). Hippias (Peisistratus' other son) offered to rule the Greeks on behalf of the Persians and provided military advice to the Persians against the Greeks.. Individual pages signify the copyright for the content on that page. Thomas Jefferson referred to the tyranny of King George III of Great Britain in the Declaration of Independence. 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. In the Hellenistic period some tyrants rested their power on class feeling; others were foreign nominees, such as the tyrants supported by the Macedonian kings in the Peloponnese in the 3rd century. initially why were tyrants popular. The Greeks defined both usurpers and those inheriting rule from usurpers as tyrants.. 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 has. amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; These included Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun who shared the region with highway robbers. History remembers the rulers, their rises, methods, and ends and the environment in which they ruled. "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 Corinth, growing wealth from colonial enterprises, and the wider horizons brought about by the export of wine and oil, together with the new experiences of the Eastern Mediterranean brought back by returning mercenary hoplites employed overseas created a new environment.  Early texts called only the entrepreneurs tyrants, distinguishing them from “bad kings”. Oppressive leaders have held states together (Alexander the Great, Josip Broz Tito). Unfortunately, not all of these sources agree with each other and scholars must make reasoned inferences regarding several key events. These include Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun, and share the level with highway robbers. See the bottom of each page for copyright information. amzn_assoc_title = "";  These are, in general, force and fraud.  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. Dictators and tyrants are rulers who control a country with absolute authority and are not restricted by a constitution or by laws.  "[T]he very essence of politics in [agrarian civilizations] was, by our contemporary democratic standards, tyrannical". And when his equally bloodthirsty military successors took over this year, we broke our own laws to financially support them instead. Hippias (Peisistratus’ other son) offered to rule the Greeks on behalf of the Persians and provided military advice to the Persians against the Greeks.. which group of people supported the greek tyrants. It is aspiring tyrants who say that 'civil liberties end when an attack on our safety begins.' CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION Bill of Rights in Action FALL 2010 (Volume 26, No. Biblical quotations do not use the word tyrant, but express opinions very similar to those of the Greek philosophers, citing the wickedness, cruelty, and injustice of rulers. Ancient political commentators Plato and Aristotle lived late in the period of many tyrants. Those who were advocates of "liberty" tended to be pro-Republic and pro-Senate. Aristotle suggested an alternative means of retaining power – ruling justly. He never uses the word in The Prince. They feared the Corinth would block access to and from Peloponnese might grow too strong if Athens were no longer in existence to serve as a counterweight. When he then bequeathed his position to his son, Periander, the tyranny proved less secure, and Periander required a retinue of mercenary soldiers personally loyal to him. Proverbs 28:15–16, "By justice, a king gives stability to the land, but one who makes heavy extractions ruins it." 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. Magistrates in some city-states were also called aesymnetai. He was followed by his sons, and with the subsequent growth of Athenian democracy, the title "tyrant" took on its familiar negative connotations. In 405 Dionysius I of Syracuse, the most powerful of all tyrants, first established his rule during the crisis of another Carthaginian invasion. Contempt for tyranny characterised this cult movement. Edward Sexby's 1657 pamphlet, "Killing, No Murder", [https://www.yorku.ca/comninel/courses/3025pdf/Killing_Noe_Murder.pdf] outlined 14 key traits of a tyrant, as the pamphlet was written to inspire the assassination of Oliver Cromwell, and show in what circumstances an assassination might be considered honorable. World’s 10 most notorious tyrants 20 Aug, 2009 06:35 .  The third time he used mercenaries to seize and retain power. Both say that monarchy, or rule by a single man, is royal when it is for the welfare of the ruled and tyrannical when it serves only the interest of the ruler. Periander’s successor was less fortunate and was expelled. Caligula ruled from 37AD to 41AD, and in these four short years he restored treason trials, causing the death of many. amzn_assoc_search_bar = "false"; , Among English rulers, several have been identified as tyrants by book title: John, King of England (who signed the Magna Carta), Henry VIII of England and Oliver Cromwell.. 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. Sometimes he calls leaders of republics “princes”.  Tyranny was associated with imperial rule and those rulers who usurped too much authority from the Roman Senate. In the Enlightenment, thinkers applied the word tyranny to the system of governance that had developed around aristocracy and monarchy. 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. by Col. Titus, Alias William Allen, https://www.yorku.ca/comninel/courses/3025pdf/Killing_Noe_Murder.pdf, https://archive.org/details/killingnomurderb00sexbuoft/page/n3/mode/2up, "The Internet Classics Archive | Politics by Aristotle", "Note, Making Ballot Initiatives Work: Some Assembly Required", "Ending Impunity: How International Criminal Law Can Put Tyrants on Trial", "Justice for Tyrants: International Criminal Court Warrants for Gaddafi Regime Crimes", "Welcome Ex-Dictators, Torturers and Tyrants: Comparative Approaches to Handling Ex-Dictators and Past Human Rights Abuses", Loretana de Libero, Die archaische Tyrannis, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Tyrant&oldid=1000070244, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Articles with minor POV problems from May 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2021, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. - Gene Luen Yang. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. " While this may represent a consensus position among the classics, it is not unanimous – Thomas Hobbes dissented, claiming no objective distinction, such as being vicious or virtuous, existed among monarchs. 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. 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. When the Thirty came to power the democrats of the city, those that had the means to up and move, all went into voluntary exile--those who remained were those who couldn't afford to leave and those who supported …  These are, in general, force and fraud. 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. Comparative criteria may include checklists or body counts. Tyrants were sometimes preferred to aristocrats and kings. “Both Plato and Aristotle speak of the king as a good monarch and the tyrant as a bad one. 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. Accounting for deaths in war is problematic – war can build empires or defend the populace – it also keeps winning tyrants in power. 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.  Early texts called only the entrepreneurs tyrants, distinguishing them from "bad kings". The anti-tyrannical attitude became especially prevalent in Athens after 508 BC, when Cleisthenes reformed the political system so that it resembled demokratia.  The final -t arises in Old French by association with the present participles in -ant.. Please, contribute what you know! During this time, revolts overthrew many governments in the Aegean world. to government by a minority (in an oligarchy. The rule builder might not be able to display some rules constructed in the text box. 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.. Clan members were killed, executed, driven out or exiled in 657 BC. They just may not have agreed that this was a bad thing. 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.. Writers from Thucydides to Montesquieu have dissected tyranny. A tyranny was a government run by a single … "If any point in political theory is indisputable, it would seem to be that tyranny is the worst corruption of government – a vicious misuse of power and a violent abuse of human beings who are subject to it. Clan members were killed, executed, driven out or exiled in 657 BC. However, tyrants seldom succeeded in establishing an untroubled line of succession. Tyrants, torturers, killers, and sundry dictators and corrupt puppet-presidents have been aided, supported, and rewarded handsomely for their loyalty to US interests. The Roman Empire "may be defined as an absolute monarchy disguised by the forms of a commonwealth." Despite financial help from Persia, in 510 the Peisistratids were expelled by a combination of intrigue, exile and Spartan arms. amzn_assoc_region = "US"; One of the most-successful tyrant dynasties ruled in Sicily between 406 and 367, that of Dionysius the Elder and his sons, and tyrants reappeared in numbers in the 4th century bce. Bad results are relative. amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; He also identified some later tyrants. Authors: Zakir Gul, Ph.D. & Dr. Kadir Akyuz* The pages of history are littered with oppressors, dictators, and tyrants from countries large and small across the globe who share a common trait: paranoia that leads to zero tolerance for criticism, disobedience, alternative ideas,competition and any kind of perceived disrespect from supporters and foes alike. Ancient Greek philosophers (who were aristocrats) were far more critical in reporting the methods of tyrants. See Also. 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. Corinth prospered economically under his rule, and Cypselus managed to rule without a bodyguard. Conversely, leaders who wish to preserve the rule of law find other ways to speak about real terrorist threats, and certainly do not invent them or deliberately make them worse. Aristotle suggested an alternative means of retaining power – ruling justly. The political methods of obtaining power were occasionally supplemented by theater or force. Popular coups generally installed tyrants, who often became or remained popular rulers, at least in the early part of their reigns. Popular coups generally installed tyrants, who often became or remained popular rulers, at least in the early part of their reigns. All leaders were once tyrants in their own ways. A lot of Americans don't seem to mind, but that's not much of an excuse. 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. The path of a tyrant can appear easy and pleasant (for all but the aristocracy). The word derives from Latin tyrannus, meaning "illegitimate ruler", and this in turn from the Greek τύραννος tyrannos "monarch, ruler of a polis"; tyrannos in its turn has a Pre-Greek origin, perhaps from Lydian. The word tyrannos, possibly pre-Greek, Pelasgian or eastern in origin,  then carried no ethical censure; it simply referred to anyone, good or bad, who obtained executive power in a polis by unconventional means. Ancient political commentators Plato and Aristotle lived late in the period of many tyrants. Tit-for-tat symbiosis in domestic relations: e.g. Read 8 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Ancient Greek philosophers (who were aristocrats) were far more critical in reporting the methods of tyrants. One can apply accusations of tyranny to a variety of types of government: The English noun tyrant appears in Middle English use, via Old French, from the 1290s. 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. Although Xenophon, who lived through the time of th… Conditions were right for Cypselus to overthrow the aristocratic power of the dominant but unpopular clan of Bacchiadae. (In democratic Athens, juries might be composed of hundreds or thousands of citizens without a presiding judge.) For other uses, see, This article is about a political ruler. Peisistratus of Athens blamed self-inflicted wounds on enemies to justify a bodyguard which he used to seize power.  Tyranny was associated with imperial rule and those rulers who usurped too much authority from the Roman Senate. They abuse the lives of the people they are entrusted with by the perverse dictates that they, themselves, would never live by.  The original Greek term meant an absolute sovereign who came to power without constitutional right, yet the word had a neutral connotation during the Archaic and early Classical periods. Socrates, a man apparently of decent means, stayed in the city during the rule of the Thirty. 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. "After a decent resistance, the crafty tyrant submitted to the orders of the senate; and consented to receive the government of the provinces, and the general command of the Roman armies..." Emperors "humbly professed themselves the accountable ministers of the senate, whose supreme decrees they dictated and obeyed." amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "brewminate-20"; 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. 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. Extrapolation is quite dangerous, especially when Herodotus is not forgiving of all tyrants, but is more approving of Polycratean building. The full document mulls over and references points on the matter from early pre-Christian history, up into the 17th century when the pamphlet was writ. Will he be? Supported by the prosperity of the peasantry and landowning interests of the plain, which was prospering from the rise of olive oil exports, as well as his clients from Marathon, he managed to achieve authoritarian power.
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