Eratosthenes (statesman)


Eratosthenes (statesman)

Eratosthenes of Athens was one of the Thirty Tyrants elected to rule the city of Athens after the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC).

Having lost the war to the Spartans, the citizens of Athens elected thirty men as oligarchs. These Thirty instituted oppressive and highly exclusionary laws and instituted a political purge against Athenians who had been Spartan informers and collaborators during the long war. Eventually open hostilities between the Thirty and disenfranchised or disaffected Athenian citizens led to a coup d'etat in 403 B.C. that deposed them.

After the removal of the Thirty Tyrants from power, Lysias, one of the ten Attic orators, wrote "Against Eratosthenes" [Lysias, "Speeches". Lysias with an English translation by W.R.M. Lamb, M.A. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1930 [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Lys.+12+1 (Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University)] ] as an indictment against Eratosthenes for the murder of his brother, Polemarchus. This speech remains one of the world's most famous orations and is identified by some historians as Lysias's personal best.


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