Peisistratus Essay (650 words not including sources)
The statement “The rule of Peisistratus was oppressive and the polis of Athens and its people suffered because of this” is untrue. Following the departure of Solon, Athens endured a period of factional disturbances, as the old social rifts re-appeared. With this strife arose three new factions of society, named after the districts in which they lived. The Plain of wealthy Eupatrids; the Coast, of middle classes; and the Hill, led by Peisistratus, consisting of the poor and discontented Thetes. Twice expelled, Peisistratus recovered his power securely as a tyrant on his third attempt; ruling until his death. Undertaking numerous socio-political, economic and cultural measures it can be said that Peisistratus succeeded where Solon had failed.
“Following the example of Solon,” Plutarch states, Peisistratus furthered the reform of ‘seisachtheia’ (the shaking off of burdens). Upon becoming tyrant, he seized the land of the nobles who opposed him or fled, redistributed it among the Thetes. He enabled loans to be secured on easy terms. He retained the majority of Solon’s laws “being the first to observe them himself”. Aristotle provides evidence to support this in source one “Peisistratus ... administrated the city’s affairs with moderation and constitutionally rather than like a tyrant.” In spite of this, Aristotle contradicts himself in source four stating “the tyrant is the integrator of wars.” This is incorrect, in the case of Peisistratus, as he created a local judiciary for the people, replacing the tribal judiciary systems. Travelling judges tried cases throughout Attica, keeping the populace out of the city, so they would not “meanwhile neglect their work”. Peisistratus cultivated peace and watched over it in a time of tranquillity.
Peisistratus, with his economic measures and foreign affairs challenged the...