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Peisistratus, being thought to be an extreme advocate of the people, and having won great fame in the war against Megara,1 inflicted a wound on himself with his own hand and then gave out that it had been done by the members of the opposite factions, and so persuaded the people to give him a bodyguard, the resolution being proposed by Aristophon. He was given the retainers called Club-bearers, and with their aid he rose against the people and seized the Acropolis, in the thirty-second year after the enactment of his laws, in the archonship of Comeas. [2] It is said that when Peisistratus asked for the guard Solon opposed the request, and said that he was wiser than some men and braver than others—he was wiser than those who did not know that Peisistratus was aiming at tyranny, and braver than those who knew it but held their tongues. But as he failed to carry them with him by saying this, he brought his armor out2 in front of his door and said that for his part he had come to his country's aid as far as he could (for he was now a very old man), and that he called on the others also to do the same. [3] Solon's exhortations on this occasion had no effect; and Peisistratus having seized the government proceeded to carry on the public business in a manner more constitutional than tyrannical. But before his government had taken root the partisans of Megacles and Lycurgus made common cause and expelled him, in the sixth year after his first establishment, in the archonship of Hegesias. [4] In the twelfth year after this Megacles, being harried by party faction, made overtures again to Peisistratus, and on terms of receiving his daughter in marriage brought him back, in an old-fashioned and extremely simple manner. Having first spread a rumor that Athena was bringing Peisistratus back, he found a tall and beautiful woman, according to Herodotus3 a member of the Paeanian deme, but according to some accounts a Thracian flower-girl from Collytus named Phye, dressed her up to look like the goddess, and brought her to the city with him, and Peisistratus drove in a chariot with the woman standing at his side, while the people in the city marvelled and received them with acts of reverence.

1 Perhaps the hostilities that ended in the Athenians' capture of Nisaea about 570 B.C.

2 Apparently, for some younger man to use.

3 Hdt. 1.60.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 5.55
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    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.60
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