and ARISTOGEI'TON (*(Armo/dios
), Athenians, of the blood of the GEPHYRAEI, were the murderers of Hipparchus, brother of the tyrant Hippias, in B. C. 514.
The following is the account we have received from the best authorities of the circumstances which induced the crime. Aristogeiton, a citizen of the middle class, was strongly attached to the young and beautiful Harnmodius, who returned his affection with equal warmth. Hipparchus endeavored to withdraw the youth's love to himself, and, failing in this, resolved to avenge the slight by putting upon him a public insult. Accordingly, he took care that the sister of Harmodius should be summoned to bear one of the sacred baskets in some religious procession, and when she presented herself for the purpose, he caused her to be dismissed and declared unworthy of the honour. Aristogeiton had been before exasperated by the advances which Hipparchus had made to Harmodius, and this fresh insult determined the two friends to slay both Hipparchus and his brother Hippias as well. Of the motive for the conspiracy a different account is given by the author of the dialogue named " Hipparchus," which is found among the works of Plato.
According to this writer, Aristogeiton had educated Harmodius, and was as proud of him as he was fond, while he looked with jealousy on Hipparchus, who was ambitious, it seems, of the same distinction as an attracter of the love and confidence of the young.
A youth, who was beloved by Harmodius, and had been accustomed to look up to him and Aristogeiton as patterns of wisdom, became acquainted with Hipparchus, and transferred to him his affection and admiration; and this circumstance excited the anger of the two friends, and urged them to the murder. They communicated their plot to a few only, in order to lessen the chance of discovery, but they hoped that many would join them in the hour of action.
The occasion they selected for their enterprise was the festival of the great Panathenaea and the day of the solemn procession of armed citizens from the outer Cerameicus to the temple of Athena Polias,--the only day, in fact, on which they could appear in arms without exciting suspicion. When the appointed time arrived, the two chief conspirators observed one of their accomplices in conversation with Hippias, who was standing in the Cerameicus and arranging the order of the procession. Believing, therefore, that they were betrayed, and wishing to wreak their vengeance before they were apprehended, they rushed back into the city with their daggers hid in the myrtle-boughs which they were to have borne in the procession, and slew Hipparchus near the Leocorium. Harmodius was immediately cut down by the guards. Aristogeiton at first escaped, but was afterwards taken, and, according to the testimony of Polyaenus, Justin, and Seneca, which is confirmed by the language of Thucydides, was put to the torture.
He named as his accomplices the principal friends of Hippias, who were executed accordingly, and being then asked if he had any more names of conspirators to give, he answered that there was no one besides, whose death he desired, except the tyrant.
According to another account, he pretended, while under the torture, that he had some communication to make to Hippias, and when the latter approached him, he seized one of his ears with his teeth, and bit it off. (Hdt. 5.55
; Thuc. 1.20
; Psetdo-Plat. Hipparch.
p. 229; Plat. Symp.
p. 182; Arist. Polit.
5.10, ed. Bekk., Rhet.
2.24.5; Schol. ad Arist. Ach.
942; Aelian, Ael. VH 11.8
; Perizon. ad loe.
; Polyaen. 1.22
; Just. 2.9
; Seneca, de Ira,
2.23; D. L. 9.26
Four years after this Hippias was expelled, and thenceforth the policy and spirit of party combined with popular feeling to attach to Harmodius and Aristogeiton among the Athenians of all succeeding generations the character of patriots, deliverers, and martyrs,--names often abused indeed, but seldom more grossly than in the present case. Their deed of murderous vengeance formed a favourite subject of drinking-songs, of which the most famous and popular is preserved in full by Athenaeus. To be born of their blood was esteemed among the highest of honours, and their descendants enjoyed an immunity from public burdens, of which even the law of Leptines (B. C. 355) did not propose to deprive them. (Aesch. c. Timarch.
§§132, 140; Athen. 15.695
; Aristoph. Ach. 942
783; Aristot. Rh. 2.23.8
; Suid. s. vv. Ἀγοράσω Ἐν μύρτου κλάδὡ, Πάροινορ, Φορήσω
; Dem. c. Let.
pp. 462, 466.) Their tombs are mentioned by Pausanias (1.29
) as situated on thie road from the city to the Academy. Their statues, made of bronze by Antenor, were set up in the Agora in the inner Cerameicus, near the temple of Ares, in B. C. 509, the year after the expulsion of Hippias and this, according to Aristotle and Pliny, was the first instance of such an honour publicly conferred at Athens, Conon being the next, as Demosthenes tells us, who had a bronze statue raised to him. When Xerxes took the city, he carried these statues away, and new ones, the work of CRITIAS, were erected in B. C. 477.
The original statues were afterwards sent back to the Athenians from Susa, according to Pausanias by Antiochus, according to Valerius Maximus by Seleucus, but, as we may believe, on the testimony of Arrian and Pliny, by Alexander the Great. We learn, finally, from Diodorus, that when the Athenians were anxious to pay the highest honours in their power to Antigonus and Demetrius Poliorcetes, in B. C. 307, they placed their statues near those of Harmodius and Aristogeiton. (Paus. 1.8
; Aristot. Rh. 1.9.38
; Dem. c. Lept.
p. 478; Plin. Nat. 34.4
; V. Max. 2.10
. Ext. 1; Arr. Anab. 3.16
; Diod. 20.46
.) [E. E.