Thrasybulus and the Athenian democracy : the life of an Athenian statesman
 9783515072212, 3515072217

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ROBERT J. BUCK THRASYBULUS AND THE ATHENIAN DEMOCRACY

HISTORIA ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR ALTE GESCHICHTE· REVUE D'HISTOIRE ANCIENNE·JOURNAL OF ANCIENT HISTORY· RIVISTA DI STORIA ANTICA

EINZELSCHRIFTEN HERAUSGEGEBEN VON MORTlMER CHAMBERS I LOS ANGELES . HEINZ HEINEN I TRIER FRAN 'tptf!upxoi 'tE 'toov i\811vuirov KUt öuva'tonu'tot, 'the trierarchs and the most powerful men among the Athenians in Samos.' 30 Thucydides has been interpreted by Kagan 31 as including alt the trierarchs present. Presum23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Thuc. 8.17.3, 8.19.2. Thuc. 8.21; cf. Gomme et al. 1945-81,5:44-47. Thuc. 8.21. Thuc. 8.23.1. Thuc.8.25.1. Thuc. 8.30.1. Thuc. 8.30.2. Thuc.8.47.2. Kagan 1987, 113-117.

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Career to Notium

ably among these was Thrasybulus, if he was there. They were already contemplating some sort of coup when Alcibiades intervened. Thucydides claims that Alcibiades had plans to gain influence with Tissaphernes, the Persian satrap, and to engineer his own return to Athens. Life was getting too risky and unpleasant for hirn among the Spartans. He was, inter aha, on very bad terms with King Agis. Rumour had it thatAlcibiades' affair with Agis' queen was not unconnected with Agis' hostility.32 Alcibiades got in touch with these powerful men at Samos and let it be known that the price for his good offices with Tissaphernes (and consequent funding from the Persians) was the overthrow of the democracy that had exiled hirn. The majority of the leaders at Samos accepted his terms, though one of the opponents was Phrynichus. They got in touch with discontented elements in Athens, and a delegation was sent to negotiate with Alcibiades. In Athens, the öuvo'to)'to'tOt, the 'most powerful,' began to be enthusiastic about the idea of overthrowing democracy.33 The soldiers and sailors at Samos were informed and voted to support the deal with Alcibiades and the necessary change to oligarchy, especially as it presented the prospect of regular pay, though apparently they did so with some hesitation. 34 Pisander, a radical democratic politician, and a considerable orator who had been one of the trierarchs,35 was sent to Athens by the leaders of the fleet. He persuaded the reluctant assembly that if Athens wanted financial and military aid from Tissaphernes and the Persian King (via Alcibiades), then they had to install an 0ligarchy.36 The assembly gave way, and authorized hirn, with ten others, to negotiate with Tissaphernes at Sardis. Before he left, Pisander did two things. First, he obtained the dismissal of Phrynichus from his generalship because of his handling of the Miletus affair; Phrynichus and another dismissed general, Scironides, returned horne in Pisander's absence and soon became deeply involved in promoting the oligarchy. Diomedon and Leon, supporters of democracy, were sent out to replace them. 37 Second, Pisander made contact with the synomosiai (cruvffillOcrtm), the political clubs, and organized them to subvert the democracy.38

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Plut. Ale. 24.2. Thuc.8.48.1. Thuc. 8.48.3. Note Thucydides' contemptuous dismissal of the 'mob,' 0 ÖXAO