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Ancient Tyranny$
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Sian Lewis

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748621255

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621255.001.0001

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Tyrants and the polis: migration, identity and urban development in Sicily

Tyrants and the polis: migration, identity and urban development in Sicily

Chapter:
(p.94) (p.95) Chapter 7 Tyrants and the polis: migration, identity and urban development in Sicily
Source:
Ancient Tyranny
Author(s):

Kathryn Lomas

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621255.003.0026

The nature of tyranny and kingship in the western Mediterranean, and the possible reasons for the prevalence of tyranny as a political system, are contentious issues. This chapter focuses on one particular aspect of tyrants and their deeds — an examination of the demographic changes and instability to which Thucydides refers. It examines the possible connections between tyrants and population change, and the social and cultural effects of such change. Superficially, the sources suggest that there is a strong connection between tyrannical regimes, and the sort of loose linkage between land, polis and people on which Thucydides comments. Forced migration and the encouragement of immigrant groups such as mercenaries become a stock feature of tyrant personae in Greek literature. A study of events at Messana demonstrates that civic and cultural identities were strong and complex, and able to accommodate or even benefit from interventions by tyrants.

Keywords:   Mediterranean, tyranny, kingship, polis, tyrants, forced migration, Sicily, population change, Messana, mercenaries

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