Chapter

The Tyrant’s Myth

Lewis Sian

in Sicily from Aeneas to Augustus

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780748613670
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748650996 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613670.003.0008
The Tyrant’s Myth

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Sicily has always offered an excellent arena for an examination of tyranny, especially in the fourth century. The tradition of Sicilian tyranny was strong, beginning in the seventh century with figures such as Phalaris of Agrigentum, and continuing into the fifth with Anaxilas of Rhegium and the Deinomenids at Syracuse. In the fourth century, in common with many other areas, Sicily saw the emergence of new and powerful autocratic rulers, Dionysius the Elder and his successor Dionysius II at the beginning of the century, and Agathocles at its close. The prevalence of tyranny in the fourth century, in places across the Greek world, from Sicyon and Pherai to Heracleia and Halicarnassos, is often presented either as a peripheral phenomenon, unrelated to the development of the ‘major’ poleis. There is also a tendency to underestimate the sophistication of tyrannies in this period, in terms of both how tyrants presented themselves and what they achieved.

Keywords: Sicily; tyranny; Phalaris; Anaxilas; Deinomenids; Dionysius the Elder; Dionysius II; Agathocles; poleis

Chapter.  5143 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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