Polycrates – Grace Vegesana
With reference to one tyrant studied, to what extent were tyrants positive in Ancient Greece? Tyrants in Ancient Greece were positive to a significant extent and this is able to be observed through Polycrates of Samos. Polycrates ruled over the Greek island Samos, situated just off the Asian coast, from the years 538BC-522BC. He began his rise to power in 538BC when him and his 2 brothers Pantagnostus, and Syloson executed a sudden, illegal overthrow of the current ruler. Supported by citizens under Polycrates, Pantagnostus, and Syloson that could afford armour recaptured Samos from the Achaemenid empire. But Polycrates was not content with ruling with others, not even his own brothers, so during a festival celebrating the Greek goddess Hera, he had Pantagnostus executed and Syloson exiled from Samos, who then relocated to Persia. From that moment on, Polycrates was the sole tyrant of his land. Though he had eliminated his two brothers from power, he is considered a popular ruler and did not have to change Samos’ constitution to successfully rule the land. But members loyal to the old aristocracy left Samos voluntarily or were exiled after his reign began as they were unhappy with how he came to power and the way he was ruling. One of these members, Pythagoras, is a Greek philosopher famous to this day. One of the first things, which can be dated back to the third quarter of the sixth century, Polycrates’ did as a tyrant was strengthening his city of Samos; he enquired of a man named Eupalinus to design them for him. He also built an aqueduct to transport water around his city to make life easier for his people and a mole to be used to protect the port from invaders who no doubt wanted his conquer the land flourishing under his dictation. But he didn’t just stop there, he continued wanting to make life more pleasurable for the citizens of Samos, just as any tyrant with a positive impact would want to do for his people. Polycrates...
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