Herodotus ' Histories As A Principle Source About Ancient Greece

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Herodotus’ Histories serves as a principle source about ancient Greece. However, within in it there is an added complexity of Herodotus’ own attitudes towards archaic tyrants versus what the actual attitudes of Archaic Greeks were. As for traditions, Archaic tyrants cannot be accurately confined to singular traits or patterns of operations. Lineages of tyrants, the Kypselids and Pisistratids, do not have an overarching flavor, the rulers vary. Additionally, singular rulers, such as Polycrates, have variations in their description. A key passage from Histories that best summarizes Herodotus’ attitudes towards tyranny is the beginning of Sosicles’ speech to the Spartans, who are considering reimplementing tyranny in Athens. “This is like the turning of the universe upside-down. Earth and sky will soon be changing places- men will be living in the sea and fish on land, now that you Spartans are proposing to abolish popular government and restore despotism in the cities…”. Sosicles believes tyranny is the most backward form of government to consider, when compared to “popular government”. He presents tyranny as being so unnatural, that implementing a tyrant would overturn the rest of natural order. Two hyperbolic statements “earth and sky will soon be changing places” and “men will be living in the sea and fish on land”, are examples of literal switching of places. They suggests that restoring “despotism” would be a reversal to something unnatural and that things are as they

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