The Late Archaic Period in ancient Greek history is recognized as taking place from around 561 BC to 480 BC, where the hands of power changed several times, exiles took place, and the strength of democracy grew. In this article, you will learn of various events to have taken place during this time period.
561 BC: During the Late Archaic Period, a tyrant by the name of Pisistratus played an important role for many years. Ruling Athens during various stretches of time, he is best known for establishing the Panathenaic Festival , which served as one of the grandest affairs of the ancient Greek world, where everyone (except for slaves) gathered to observe Athena’s birthday. In many texts, 561 BC marks the first time Pisistratus takes power in Athens.
555 BC: Representing and leading a group of nobles and landowners known as the Pedieis, Lycurgus drives Pisistratus out of Athens. The Pedieis dwelled on the plains and owned land used for growing grain. They were able to use this to their advantage by taking a stand when food shortages arose.
549 BC: However, Pisistratus was not without help, as he was restored to power with the assistance of Megacles. Ironically, Pisistratus and Megacles were opponents of one another until they formed an alliance , most likely sealed with the Pisistratus’ marriage to Megacles’ daughter. The partnership did not last long after Pisistratus refused to produce offspring with his wife. As a result, Megacles turned against the tyrant.
546 BC: During ancient Greek times, Lydia served as a Roman province that later earned the reputation as producing the first coins in history , around 610 BC. In 546 BC, the Persians were successful in capturing the wealthy king of Lydia, Croesus, while he was at Sardis. Just mentioning Croesus’ name was used to refer to wealth, so when the king fell to the Persians, it caused quite a blow to the people that looked up to him. The exact date of the king’s death is not known, but historians traditionally set it at 547 BC, taking place sometime after his conquest.
542 BC: Pisistratus is expelled during this time, but makes a lot of money from the Laurion silver mines located close to Athens. His support from local cities also grows, but it will take him 10 years before he decides to force a return to power.
532 BC: The restoration of Pisistratus’ tyranny comes courtesy of Thessaly and Lygdamos of Naxos, where he continued to rule until his death in 527 BC.
527 BC: After Pisistratus dies, his sons Hippias and Hipparchus fill his position as tyrant of Athens. In 525 BC, Hippias establishes a new system of coinage in Athens. Around 514 BC, Hipparchus was murdered by the hands of Harmodius and Aristogeiton (also known as the Tyrannicides). Hurt by the death of his brother, Hippias executes the Tyrannicides, and becomes known as increasingly cruel and bitter ruler.