From Demagogue to Tyrant – We’re All His Slaves Now

Solon, Epistle II:

“Note that the most terrible man has laid hold of tyranny. He started with demagoguery, and then he feigned some injury to himself. He then ran to the courts and shouted, saying that he had suffered at the hands of his enemies, and thought that he should be provided with a guard of four hundred men. They paid no heed to my warnings, and gave him the men. These men were club-bearers. After that, he subjugated the people. In vain did I strive to free the poor from servitude – they are all Peisistratus’ slaves now.”

ἴσθι γὰρ τὸν ἄνδρα, ὦ ἑταῖρε, δεινότατα ἁψάμενον τῆς τυραννίδος. ἤρξατο μὲν δημαγωγεῖν, εἶτα δὲ ἑαυτῷ τραύματα ποιήσας, παρελθὼν ἐφ’ ἡλιαίαν ἐβόα φάμενος πεπονθέναι ταῦτα ὑπὸ τῶν ἐχθρῶν, καὶ φύλακας ἠξίου παρασχεῖν οἱ τετρακοσίους τοὺς νεωτάτους. οἳ δὲ ἀνηκουστήσαντές μου παρέσχον τοὺς ἄνδρας. οὗτοι δὲ ἦσαν κορυνηφόροι. καὶ μετὰ τοῦτο τὸν δῆμον κατέλυσεν. ἦ μάτην ἔσπευδον ἀπαλλάξαι τοὺς πένητας αὐτῶν τῆς θητείας, οἵ γε δὴ νῦν ξύμπαντες ἑνὶ δουλεύουσι Πεισιστράτῳ.

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