previous next
55. That Hippias was the eldest son of Pisistratus and succeeded to his power I can positively1 affirm from special information which has been transmitted to me. But there is other evidence. Of the legitimate sons of Pisistratus he alone had children; this is indicated by the altar just mentioned, and by the column which the Athenians set up in the Acropolis to commemorate the oppression of the tyrants. For on that column no son of Thessalus or of Hipparchus is named, but five of Hippias who were born to him of Myrrhine the daughter of Callias the son of Hyperechides; now there is a presumption that the son who married first would be the eldest. [2] Moreover, his name is inscribed a on the same column2 immediately after his father's; this again is a presumption that he was his eldest son and succeeded him. [3] I think too that Hippias would have found a difficulty in seizing the tyranny if Hipparchus had been tyrant at the time of his death and he had tried to step into his place. As it was, owing to the habitual dread which he had inspired in the citizens, and the strict discipline which he maintained among his body-guard, he held the government with the most perfect security and without the least difficulty. Nor did he behave at all like a younger brother, who would not have known what to do3 because he had not been regularly used to command4. [4] Yet Hipparchus by reason of his violent end became famous, and obtained in after ages the reputation of having been the tyrant.

1 Various proofs of the fact that Hippias was the elder son.

2 Reading ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ στήλῃ. Or, reading with the MSS. ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ στήλῃ: 'on the front part of the column.' But the words can hardly bear this meaning. The word πρώτῃ is probably derived from πρῶτος which follows.

3 Or, giving a more precise sense to ξυνεχῶς: ' because he had succeeded to the command and not been used to it.'

4 Or, giving a more precise sense to ξυνεχῶς: ' because he had succeeded to the command and not been used to it.'

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (E.C. Marchant, 1909)
load focus Notes (Charles F. Smith)
load focus English (1910)
load focus Greek (1942)
load focus English (Thomas Hobbes, 1843)
hide References (27 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: