Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Tyrant

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
did not originally mean a despot, but an absolute prince, and especially one who made himself absolute in a free state. Napoleon III. would have been so called by the ancient Greeks. Many of the Greek tyrants were pattern rulers, as Pisis’tratos and Pericles, of Athens; Per’iander, of Corinth; Dionysios the Younger, Gelon, and his brother Hi’ero, of Syracuse; Polyc’rats, of Samos; Phi’dion, of Argos, etc. etc. (Greek, turannos, an absolute king, like the Czar of Russia.)   1
   Tyrant of the Chersonese. Milti’ads was so called, and yet was he, as Byron says, “Freedom’s best and bravest friend.” (See THIRTY TYRANTS.)   2
   A tyrant’s vein. A ranting, bullying manner. In the old moralities the tyrants were made to rant, and the loudness of their rant was proportionate to the villainy of their dispositions. Hence to out-Herod Herod is to rant more loudly than Herod; to o’erdo Termagant is to rant more loudly than Termagant. (See PILATE, VOICE.)   3



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