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THE

ORIGIN OF TYRANNY

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS

C. F. CLAY, Manager

LONDON : FETTER LANE, E.G. 4

NEW YORK THE MACMILLAN CO. BOMBAY j CALCUTTaV MACMILLAN AND CO., Ltd. MADRAS I TORONTO THE MACMILLAN CO. OF

CANADA, Ltd. TOKYO : MARUZEN-KABUSHIKI-KAISHA

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

THE

ORIGIN OF TYRANNY

BY

P. N. URE, M.A.

GONVILLE AND CAIUS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

PROFESSOR OF CLASSICS, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, READING

CAMBRIDGE

AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS

1022

qv

U

1>E

UTv3

^5\S]ll

^^\^

PREFACE

TH

E views expressed in the following chapters were first published

in the Journal of Hellenic Studies for igo6 in a short paper

which gave a few pages each to Samos and Athens and a few

sentences each to Lydia, Miletus, Ephesus, Argos, Corinth, and

Megara. The chapters on Argos, Corinth, and Rome are based on papers read to the Oxford Philological Society in 19 13 and to the

Bristol branch of the Classical Association in 19 14.

As regards the presentation of my material here, it has been my

endeavour to make the argument intelligible to readers who are

not classical scholars and archaeologists. The classics have ceased

to be a water-tight compartment in the general scheme of study and

research, and my subject forms a chapter in general economic history

which might interest students of that subject who are not classical

scholars. On the other hand classical studies have become so specialised

and the literature in each department has multiplied so enormously

that unless monographs can be made more or less complete in them-

selves and capable of being read without referring to a large number

of large and inaccessible books, it will become impossible for

classical scholars to follow the work that is being done even in their

own subject beyond the limits of their own particular branch.

For these reasons ancient authorities have been mainly given in

literal English translations, and when, as happens in almost every

chapter, information has to be sought from vases, coins, or inscrip-

tions, I have tried to elucidate my point by means of explanatory

descriptions and illustrations.

The work has involved me in numerous obligations which I

gladly take this opportunity of acknowledging. In 1907 I received

grants from the Worts travelling bachelors' fund of Cambridge

University and from Gonville and Caius College to visit Greece

for the purpose of collecting archaeological evidence upon the

history of the early tyranny. This purpose was partially diverted because shortly after reaching Greece I became associated with the

late Dr R. M. Burrows in the excavation of the Greek cemetery

at Rhitsona in Boeotia and in the study and publication of the

as

vi

PREFACE

pottery found there. This pottery dates mainly from the age of the

tyrants, and the results of my work at it appear in several of the

succeeding chapters. To Dr Burrows I owe also the encouragement

that led me to start working on the early tyranny: my main idea on the subject first occurred to me when I was lecturing on Greek

history as his assistant at University College, Cardiff.

I have also received much assistance at various times and in various ways from Professor G. A. T. Davies, another former

colleague of mine at Cardiff, and from several of my Reading colleagues, particularly Professor W. G. de Burgh, Mr D. Atkinson,

and my wife. Many other debts are recorded in the body of the book : but considering how many and various they have been, I can

scarcely hope that none has been passed over without acknow-

ledgement.

But of all my obligations the earliest and chiefest is to Sir William

Ridgeway. It is to the unique quality of his teaching at Cambridge

that I owe the stimulus that suggested to me the explanation here

offered of the origin of tyranny.

University College,

Reading.

October 1920.

P. N. URE.

CONTENTS

CHAP.

I INTRODUCTION

II ATHENS

III SAMOS

IV EGYPT

V LYDIA

VI ARGOS

VII CORINTH

VIII ROME

PAGE

I

33

68

86

127

154

184

215

IX SICYON, MEGARA, MILETUS, EPHESUS,

LEONTINI, AGRIGENTUM, CUMAE .

X CAPITALIST DESPOTS OF THE AGE

OF ARISTOTLE, THE MONEY POWER

OF THE RULERS OF PERGAMUM, PRO-

TOGENES OF OLBIA XI CONCLUSION

APPENDICES

INDEX

257

280

290

307

339

.

ILLUSTRATIONS

FIG.

PAGE

1

Lophos Loutrou from Daskalio station

 

42

2

On the road from Daskalio station to Plaka

 

.

.

4^

3

Kamaresa

.

.

43

4

Kitsovouno from Kamaresa

 

43

(Figs. 1-4 from photographs by the author)

 

5

Corinthian terra cotta tablet depicting a miner at work

 

46

(Antike Denkmiiler, i)

 

6

Coin of Athens with Athena and owl

 

.

.

.

53

(Macdonald, Evolution oj Coinage)

 

7

Athenian coins: the wreath on the head of Athena .

 

56

{Bulletin de Correspondance hellenique, xxx)

 

8

Persian "archer"

57

9

Samian coin with Samaina and Messanian coin with hare

 

7 5

(Hill, Historical Greek Coins)

 

10

Aiakes, father of Polycrates

.

.

.

.

.

82

[Athenische Mitteilungen, 1906)

 

1

Psamtek I

86

(Petrie, Hist. Egypt, iii)

 

1 2. Vase with cartouche of Bocchoris found at Tarquinii

 

94

 

{Monumenti Antichi della R. Ace. dei Lincei, viii)

 

13

Rhodian or (?) Milesian vase found at Naukratis

 

.

1

1

(Gardner, Nauhratis II. By permission of the Egypt Explora-

14

tion Fund) Fikellura or (?) Samian vase found at Daphnae .

 

.

113

(Petrie, Tanis II. By permission of the Egypt Exploration

Fund)

1

Naukratite vase found at Rhitsona in

Boeotia

.

.

115

(jfourn. Hellenic Studies, 1909)

16

Perfume vase found at Naukratis

.

.

.

.

119

(Gardner, Naukratis II. By permission of the Egypt Explora-

tion Fund)

17 Greek wine jar found at Naukratis

.

.

.120

(Petrie, Naukratis I. By permission of the Egypt Exploration

Fund)

X

ILLUSTRATIONS

FIG.

PAGE

1

Corinthian vase with cartouche of Apries .

 

.

.

1 24

{Gazette Archcologique, i?i%o)

19

Coins of (tf) Gyges(?}, (^) Croesus

.

.

.

.

127

(Macdonald, Evolution of Coinage)

-154

20

Early Aeginetan "tortoises" .

.

 

(Babelon, Traite des Monnaies Gr. et Rom.)

.

21

Bundle of spits found in the Argive Heraeum .

.

163

22 Corinthian vase found at Corinth

.

.

.

.185

(From a photograph supplied by Miss Walker of the American

School of Archaeology at Athens)

23 Corinthian terra cotta tablet depicting a potter at his

wheel

{Gazette Archeologique, 1880)

.

.

186

24 Corinthian terra cotta tablet depicting the interior of

a kiln [Antike Denkmdler, i)

25 Coins of Corinth .

.

{Brit. Mus. Cat. Coins Corinth)

26 Coins of Cypsela

.186

188

200

{Abhandl. Bayerische Akad. Phil. Class. 1890)

27, 28 Attic vase paintings, perhaps depicting cypselae

(Saglio, Diet. d. Antiq. figs. 2964, 2965)

29

Attic vase painting, perhaps depicting a cypsele

(Saglio, Diet. d. Antiq. fig. 937)

.

.

30 Vase on stove found at lasos

{Jahrb. d. areh. Inst. 1897)

3

Relief, perhaps depicting a small cypsele .

{Revue Archeologique., 1869)

32 Jles signatum

(Haeberlin, Aes Grave)

.

.

202

203

205

206

220

33

34

35

^es grave with wheel

(Hill, Historical Roman Coins)

Corinthian vase found at Tarquinii

.

.

232

.241

Corinthian terra cotta tablet depicting the export of vases

{Antike Denkmiiler, i)

242

36 Proto-Corinthian vase found in the Roman Forum

.

249

{Notiz. d. Scavi della R. Ace. dei Lincei, 1903)

ILLUSTRATIONS

xi

FIG.

37

Ionic terra cotta antefix found in Rome

.

.

PAGE

250

[Monumenti Antichi della R. Ace. dei Lincei, xv)

38 Similar antefix found in Samos

.

.

(Boehlau, Aus ion. u. ital. Nekropolen)

39 Terra cotta head found on the Roman Capitol .

.

.

251

252

{Monumenti Antichi della R. Ace. dei Lincei, xv)

40 Stone head found on the Acropohs at Athens

[Athenische Mitteilungen, 1879)

.

.

41 Vase in Attic black figure style found on the Quirinal

253

254

{Monumenti Antichi della R. Ace. dei Lincei, xv)

42

The Capitoline wolf (How and Leigh, Hist, of Rome.

Messrs Longmans Green & Co.)

.

.

254

By arrangement with

43 Dipylon vase

.

.

.

.

{Companion to Greek Studies, Cambridge)

 

44 Proto-Corinthian vase

.

.

.

.

.

.314

-315

(jfourn. of Hellenic Studies. By permission of the Council

of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies)

45

Dipylon Ships

.

322

{Rev. Arch, xxv, 1894; Athenische Mitt. 1876; Arch. Zeitung,

1885; Perrot and Chipiez, Hist, de I' Art dans I'Antiquite)

46 Vase painting signed by Aristonothos

.

.

.

323

(Walters and Birch, Hist, of Ancient Pottery)

TOtcrt iiJi(f>ai'crL to, ixrj yiyvwcTKOixeva TeKfj.aipofji.evo'S.

Hdt. ii. 33.

Chapter I. Introduction

Ad^atei/ yap {^v) ovdev Xeyeiv h'lKaiov ol dia tqv 'it\ovtov a^iovvres ap)(tv.

Aristot. Pol. III. 12836.

^avXov TO ras fieyio-ras wvtjtus eluat tS)V dp)^a>v.

Abistot. Pol. 11. 12733.

The seventh and sixth centuries b.c. constitute from many points °^ view one of the most momentous periods in the

The seventh century B.C. whole of the world's history. No doubt the greatest

e age ^^^^j ^Q^igygj^gi^ts of the Greek race belong to the two centuries that followed. But practically all that is meant by the

Greek spirit and the Greek genius had its birth in the earlier period. Literature and art, philosophy and science are at this present day

largely following the lines that were then laid down for them, and

this is equally the case with commerce. It was at the opening of

^^^^ epoch that the Greeks or their half hellenized

(a) of the first

known metal

coins.

most epoch-making revolution in the whole history

neighbours the Lydians brought about perhaps the

of commerce by the invention of a metal coinage like those that are still in circulation throughout the civilized world.

It was no accident that the invention was made precisely at this time. Industry and commerce were simultaneously making enor-

mous strides. About the beginning of the seventh century the new

Lydian dynasty of the Mermnadae made Sardis one of the most

important trading centres that have arisen in the world's history.

The Lydian merchants became middlemen between Greece and the

Far East. Egypt recovered its prosperity and began rapidly to de-

velop commer<;ial and other relations with its neighbours, including

the Greeks. Greek traders were pushing their goods by sea in all

directions from Spain to the Crimea. Concrete evidence of this activity is still to be seen in the Corinthian and Milesian pottery of the period that has been so abundantly unearthed as far afield as

Northern Italy and Southern Russia. It was a time of extraordinary

intellectual alertness. Thales and the numerous other philosophers

of the Ionian School were in close touch with the merchants and manufacturers of their age. They were in fact men of science rather

than philosophers in the narrow modern sense of the latter word.

2 THE ORIGIN OF TYRANNY

ch. i

and most of them were ready to apply their science to practical and

commercial ends, as for example Thales, who is said to have made a fortune by buying up all the oil presses in advance when his agri-

cultural observations had led him to expect a particularly plentiful

harvest^. A corner in oil sounds very modern, and in fact the whole

of the evidence shows that in many ways this ancient epoch curiously

anticipated the present age. Politically these two centuries are generally known as the age of

tyrants. The view that the prevalence of tyranny was

in Some way connected with the invention of coinage

has been occasionally expressed^. Radet has even gone so far as to suggest that the first tyrant was

be called ty-

firsi; rulers* to

also the first coiner^. He does not however go further than to sug-

gest that the tyrant started a mint and coinage when already on

the throne.

The evidence appears to me to point to conclusions of a more

wide-reachingcharacter. Briefly stated they

'=

,

. ,

'

,^1

.

.

^

are these:

The new form

of government that the seventh and sixth century (jreeK tyrants

^gj.g j^e first men in their various cities to realize the

new form of

based on the

was I believe,

political possibilities of the new conditions created by

,

capital.

jj^g introduction of the new coinage, and that to a

large extent they owed their position as tyrants to a financial or

commercial supremacy which they had already established before

they attained to supreme political power in their several states.

In other words their position as I understand it has considerable

resemblances to that built up in the fourteenth and fifteenth cen- turies A.D. by the rich bankers and merchants who made themselves

despots in so many of the city states of Italy. The most famous of

these are the Medici, the family who gave a new power to the

currency by their development of the banking business, and mainly

as a result of this became tyrants of Florence. Santo Bentivoglio

of Bologna passed from a wool factory to the throne. Another

despot of Bologna was the rich usurer Romeo Pepoli. At Pisa the

supreme power was grasped by the Gambacorti with an old merchant

named Pietro at their head. At Lodi it was seized by the millionaire

1 Aristot. Pol. I. 1259 a. The authenticity of the story may be questioned, but

the fact of its being attached to Thales is in itself significant.

2

E.g. Busolt, Gr. G. 1.2 pp. 626-7.

^ LaLydie, p. 163; cp. ibid. p. 274, "wealth acquires an importance it had

never had."

CH. I

INTRODUCTION

3

Giovanni Vignate. The above instances are taken from Symonds'

sixth class of despots of w^hom he says that " in most cases great

wealth was the original source of despotic ascendancy 1."

Still closer analogies lie at our very door. It is a commonplace / that we are in the midst of an industrial revolution.

This view

deserves

examination century ago, when Byron pleaded the cause of the of the modern frameworkers before the House of Lords. There are

V ^^ .

J- his modem movement was already begmnmg a

,

,

,

.

.

.

financial re-

of course obvious differences between the two revolu-

tions. That of the seventh and sixth centuries B.C.

was mainly financial, that of the present time is mainly industrial.

But the difference is not so great as it at first sight appears^. The

invention of a metal coinage was accompanied by great industrial

changes', and we can no more divide sharply the financial and

industrial activities of the great houses of archaic Greece than we

can separate the banking and the mercantile enterprises of the great

families of the cities of Italy at the time of the renaissance, such as

the wealthy Panciatighi of Florence, who lent money to the emperor

Sigismund and exported cloths to London, Avignon and North

Africa*. On the other hand the modern industrial movement,

with its development of machinery and its organization of masters and men into trusts and trade unions, has been accompanied by a

revolution in the nature of the currency. The modern financial

revolution began at the same time as the industrial. Its earliest phases are described and discussed in

coinsbypaper, William Cobbett's Paper againn GoldK Since

placed metal

which has re-

,

.

,

,

°

.

Cobbett's days the paper currency which so distressed him has de- veloped enormously. Even before 1 9 1 4 we were told that "Gold

already acts in England only as change for notes ^."

^ J. A. Symonds, Renaissance in Italy, Age of the Despots'^, pp. 103-4; cp. ibid.

pp. 65 n. I, 66, 73, 76, 77-78.

^ Some lecturers at Oxford are inclined to minimize the analogies offered by

the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. to modern industrial conditions. In so

doing they appear to me to be falling into the commonest of modern fallacies,

that of overestimating the importance of size and numbers. For a better appre-

ciation of the analogies see e.^.Ciccotti, Tramonto d. Schiavitu n. Mondo ant. p. 45.

' E.Meyer, Jahrb.f. Nationalbk. ix. (1895), p. 713 and belovvf passim.

* Sieveking, Viert.f. Soc. u. Wins. vii. p. 87.

^ Cobbett, Paper against Gold, pp. 5, 6 (Aug. 30th, 1810).

* Jevons, Money^, p. Z03; cp. ibid. p. 285: "It is surprising to find to what

an extent paper documents have replaced coin as a medium of exchange in

some of the principal centres of business."

4 THE ORIGIN OF TYRANNY

ch. i

It is not necessary here to examine in detail the various forms taken by this new paper currency. It is enough to point out that

it enables property to be transferred and manipulated far more ' rapidly and on far larger a scale than was previously possible^. Only

one other point in the history of the new currency needs to be here mentioned. It cannot be better expressed than in the words used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the House of Commons

on

November 28 th, 19 14:

I have been much struck since I have been deahng with these transactions

(bills of exchange) with how little even traders who form a part of this great

machinery know about the mechanism of which they form an essential part

I do not think that the general pubhcand I am putting myself among

themever reahzed the extent to which the business not merely of this country, but of the whole world, depended upon this very dehcate and

complicated paper machinery.

Apparently it needed a European war to bring home to the modern

world of commerce the nature of its currency. This fact should

warn us against expecting to find in early Greece any very clear

recognition of the revolution in the currency that then took place.

When gold and silver coins were first circulated they had a corre-

sponding effect to the modern issues of paper. They enabled property

to be transferred with greater ease and rapidity. We may be sure

however that the character and possibilities of the new currency

did not at once receive universal recognition^. The merchants in

the bazaars of Lydia and Ionia who best understood how to make

use of it must have profited enormously.

The experts in the new finance of the last two generations have

been exercising a profound influence upon politics

and led many

people to fear

'

.

and government, i here are many people, particu-

A,,

a new tyranny j^rly in America, who i.-

of wealth.

/

r,--n

Dility or this

believe that

there is

t-,

a

possi-

is worth

mfluence becommg supreme. It

while quoting a few of these opinions:

This era is but a passing phase in the evolution of industrial Caesars, and these Caesars will be of a new typecorporate Caesars^.

The flames of a new economic evolution run around us, and we turn to

find that competition has killed competition, that corporations are grown

greater than the state and have bred individuals greater than themselves,

1 Cp. Thos. W. Lawson, Frenzied Finance (published 1906), pp. 33, 35.

2 Cp. Poehlmann, Sozialismus i. d. ant. Welfi, i. p. 170.

CH. I

INTRODUCTION

:

5

and that the naked issue of our time is with property becoming master

instead of servant^.

For some months past the sugar trust has been the Government of the

United States ^.

In 1884 there seems even to have been an idea of running a

Standard Oil senator for the United States presidency. " Henry B. Payne is looming up grandly in the character of a possible and not

altogether improbable successor to Mr Tilden as the Democratic

candidate for the presidency ^." The danger of supreme powder in America passing into the hands

of a few capitalists has even been publicly acknow^ledged by a Presi- dent of the United States during his period of office. " Mr Wilson

also discussed the division betvt^een capital and labour. He dwrelt

for the greater part of the speech on the effort of 'small bodies of

privileged men to resume control of the Government,' and added

'We must again convince these gentlemen that the government of

this country belongs to us, not to them*.'"

Similar views are expressed by French, German and Italian

writers. According to the most brilliant of modern Frenchmen the

government of France has in some recent periods been in the hands

of three or four groups of financiers^. Salvioli in his Capita/ism in

the Ancient World speaks of the "kings of finance who exercise in

our states a secret but pervading sway^." Even the warlike von

Bernhardi fears an impending "tyranny of capital'."

These quotations might be multiplied^, but enough have been

given to show that the opinion which they express is widely held.

^

Hy. D. Lloyd, op. cit. p. 494; see also pp. 297-8, 311; ch. xxviii. (on a

Standard Oil secretary of U.S.A. treasury), 434, 511.

" New York Daily Commercial Bull. June 4th, 1894, ap. Hy. D. Lloyd, op. cit.

p. 450. 3 New York 5««,May 27th, 1884, ap. Hy. D. Lloyd, p. 387.

* Times, Nov. 4th, 19 16.

^ Anatole France, L'lle des Pingouins, pp. 242 f., 309. * Salvioli, Capitalisme dans le Monde Antique (traduit A. Bonnet), p. 267.

' von Bernhardi, Germany and the Next War, p. 65.

^ See e.g. Thos. W. Lawson, Frenzied Finance, pp. 6, 35 ; Hy. D. Lloyd, Wealth

against Commonwealth, pp. 341, 353, 386 (quoting the National Baptist of

Philadelphia, the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette, and Senator Hoar); J. Ramsay

MacDonald, Unemployment and the Wage Fund; L M. Tarbell, Hist. Standard

Oil Co. II. pp. 114, 116, 137 (quoting the Butler County Democrat, Senator Frye,

N.Y. State Investigation Report, 1888), 124, 126-7, ^9°j 291 ; Truth's Investi- gator, The Great Oil Octopus, p. 227.

6 THE ORIGIN OF TYRANNY