This month, Mary Beard focused her blog (A Don’s Life) on the Tyrant slayers, Harmodius and Aristogeiton. The two Tyrannicides (τυραννοκτόνοι) gained popularity and fame in Ancient Athens for slaying the Peisistratan Tyrant Hipparchus. His brother Hippias would flee to Persia, attempting to drum up support to return to rule from the Achaemenid rulers of the Persian Dynasty. This event was the first in a series that would lead to the Persian invasion of Greece.
Mary Beard’s article investigates not only the ill-fated history of the two brothers (who would ultimately end up dead after their incomplete attempt to overthrown the standing regime) as well as the interesting, art-historical timeline of how the men are displayed. They have long been heralded (with much fancy and historical reinvention) as political heroes – democratic leaders, martyrs, and idealistic political savants. Their physical image has been manipulated over the centuries as much as their historical one. To read more about this tale, see the article by Mary Bard: “A Don’s Life: A closer look at the tyrant slayers“).