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Of Mytilene (c.650–570 bc), statesman, lawgiver, and sage. He commanded in the war against Athens for Sigeum, on which Periander of Corinth later arbitrated; helped to overthrow the tyrant Melanchros, then after further complex factional struggles, was elected ‘dictator’ for ten years. After ten years he duly laid down office and died ten years after that. One of his sayings was that ‘painted wood’, i.e. law, was the best protector of the city. His best‐remembered law doubled the penalty for all offences committed when drunk. A moderate reformer, like Solon, he was violently attacked by his fellow citizen and former ally Alcaeus, whose family had helped overthrow tyranny but wished to perpetuate the old aristocratic rule.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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