Athenian tyrannicide. He and Harmodius, both of the family of Gephyraei, provoked, acc. to Thucydides 2, by amorous rivalry, plotted along with others to kill Hippias 1 at the Panathenaic festival of 514 bc (see panathenaea) and end the tyranny. The plot miscarried, only Hipparchus 1 was killed, and the tyrannicides were executed.
After the expulsion of Hippias in 510 by Sparta, the tyrannicides were elevated as heroes. Bronze statues of them by Antenor were erected, probably quite early; carried off by Xerxes in 480, they were replaced in 477/6 by a second group by Critius and Nēsiōtēs; the epigram inscribed on the base was composed by Simonides. Their tomb was placed in the Ceramicus; the polemarchos sacrificed annually to them, and their descendants received free meals in the prytaneion. Certain scolia were sung claiming that they brought Athens isonomia. It was a popular belief, rebutted by Thucydides, that Hipparchus was the tyrant at the time. Other conflicting claims clustered round the role of the tyrannicides, but the view that 5th‐cent. popular tradition literally thought they, rather than Sparta, ended the tyranny, is undermined by Thucydides and comedy. It is likely that all parties concerned concurred in honouring them from early on as a convenient, simple, and patriotic symbol for the defeat of tyranny. Later, they were seen as having ended the tyranny.
Subjects: Classical Studies.