<i>Tyrants and the</i> polis: <i>migration, identity and urban development in Sicily</i>

Kathryn Lomas

in Ancient Tyranny

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780748621255
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651047 | DOI:
Tyrants and the polis: migration, identity and urban development in Sicily

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The nature of tyranny and kingship in the western Mediterranean, and the possible reasons for the prevalence of tyranny as a political system, are contentious issues. This chapter focuses on one particular aspect of tyrants and their deeds — an examination of the demographic changes and instability to which Thucydides refers. It examines the possible connections between tyrants and population change, and the social and cultural effects of such change. Superficially, the sources suggest that there is a strong connection between tyrannical regimes, and the sort of loose linkage between land, polis and people on which Thucydides comments. Forced migration and the encouragement of immigrant groups such as mercenaries become a stock feature of tyrant personae in Greek literature. A study of events at Messana demonstrates that civic and cultural identities were strong and complex, and able to accommodate or even benefit from interventions by tyrants.

Keywords: Mediterranean; tyranny; kingship; polis; tyrants; forced migration; Sicily; population change; Messana; mercenaries

Chapter.  9495 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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