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Periander

Περίανδρος).


1.

Son of Cypselus, whom he succeeded as tyrant of Corinth in B.C. 625, and reigned forty years, to B.C. 585. His rule was mild and beneficent at first, but afterwards became oppressive. According to the common story, this change was owing to the advice of Thrasybulus, tyrant of Miletus, whom Periander had consulted on the best mode of maintaining his power, and who is said to have taken the messenger through a cornfield, cutting off as he went the tallest ears, and then to have dismissed him without committing himself to a verbal answer. The action, however, was rightly interpreted by Periander, who proceeded to rid himself of the most powerful nobles in the State. He made his power respected abroad as well as at home; and besides his conquest of Epidaurus, mentioned below, he kept Corcyra in subjection. He was, like many of the other Greek tyrants, a patron of literature and philosophy, and Arion and Anacharsis were in favor at his court. He was very commonly reckoned among the Seven Sages, though by some he was excluded from their number, and Myson of Chenae in Laconia was substituted in his place.

The private life of Periander was marked by misfortune and cruelty. He married Melissa , daughter of Procles, tyrant of Epidaurus. She bore him two sons, Cypselus and Lycophron, and was passionately beloved by him; but he is said to have killed her by a blow during her pregnancy, having been roused to a fit of anger by a false accusation brought against her. His wife's death embittered the remainder of his days, partly through the remorse which he felt for the deed, partly through the alienation of his younger son Lycophron, inexorably exasperated by his mother's fate. The young man's anger had been chiefly excited by Procles, and Periander, in revenge, attacked Epidaurus, and, having reduced it, took his father-inlaw prisoner. Periander sent Lycophron to Corcyra; but when he was himself advanced in years, he summoned Lycophron back to Corinth to succeed to the tyranny, seeing that Cypselus, his elder son, was unfit to hold it, from deficiency of understanding. Lycophron refused to return to Corinth as long as his father was there; thereupon Periander offered to withdraw to Corcyra if Lycophron would come home and take the government. To this he assented; but the Corcyraeans, not wishing to have Periander among them, put Lycophron to death. Periander shortly afterwards died of despondency, at the age of eighty, and after a reign of forty years, according to Diogenes Laertius. He was succeeded by a relative, Psammetichus, son of Gordias. See Herod. iii. 48-53; v. 92; Aristot. Pol. v. 12.


2.

Tyrant of Ambracia, and contemporary with his more famous namesake of Corinth, to whom he was also related, being the son of Gorgus, who was son or brother to Cypselus. Periander was deposed by the people about B.C. 585 (V. H. xii. 35).

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