Thirty Tyrants
Overview
 
The Thirty Tyrants were a pro-Sparta
History of Sparta
The History of Sparta describes the destiny of the ancient Dorian Greek state known as Sparta from its beginning in the legendary period to its forced incorporation into the Achaean League under the late Roman Republic, its conquerors, in 146 BCE, a period of roughly 1000 years...

n oligarchy
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

 installed in Athens
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 after its defeat in the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 in 404 BC
404 BC
Year 404 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Volusus, Cossus, Fidenas, Ambustus, Maluginensis and Rutilus...

. Contemporary Athenians referred to them simply as "the oligarchy" or "the Thirty" ; the expression "Thirty Tyrants" is due to later historians. Its two leading members were Critias
Critias
Critias , born in Athens, son of Callaeschrus, was an uncle of Plato, and a leading member of the Thirty Tyrants, and one of the most violent. He was an associate of Socrates, a fact that did not endear Socrates to the Athenian public. He was noted in his day for his tragedies, elegies and prose...

 and Theramenes
Theramenes
Theramenes was an Athenian statesman, prominent in the final decade of the Peloponnesian War. He was particularly active during the two periods of oligarchic government at Athens, as well as in the trial of the generals who had commanded at Arginusae in 406 BC...

.
The Thirty severely reduced the rights of Athenian citizens. Imposing a limit on the number of citizens allowed to vote (limiting the franchise for example to the wealthiest citizens) was a standard move on the part of wealthy people who objected to being subject to the votes of the "rabble" in a broad-based democracy where all free adult males could vote.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Thirty Tyrants were a pro-Sparta
History of Sparta
The History of Sparta describes the destiny of the ancient Dorian Greek state known as Sparta from its beginning in the legendary period to its forced incorporation into the Achaean League under the late Roman Republic, its conquerors, in 146 BCE, a period of roughly 1000 years...

n oligarchy
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

 installed in Athens
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 after its defeat in the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 in 404 BC
404 BC
Year 404 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Volusus, Cossus, Fidenas, Ambustus, Maluginensis and Rutilus...

. Contemporary Athenians referred to them simply as "the oligarchy" or "the Thirty" ; the expression "Thirty Tyrants" is due to later historians. Its two leading members were Critias
Critias
Critias , born in Athens, son of Callaeschrus, was an uncle of Plato, and a leading member of the Thirty Tyrants, and one of the most violent. He was an associate of Socrates, a fact that did not endear Socrates to the Athenian public. He was noted in his day for his tragedies, elegies and prose...

 and Theramenes
Theramenes
Theramenes was an Athenian statesman, prominent in the final decade of the Peloponnesian War. He was particularly active during the two periods of oligarchic government at Athens, as well as in the trial of the generals who had commanded at Arginusae in 406 BC...

.

The Rule of the Thirty

The Thirty severely reduced the rights of Athenian citizens. Imposing a limit on the number of citizens allowed to vote (limiting the franchise for example to the wealthiest citizens) was a standard move on the part of wealthy people who objected to being subject to the votes of the "rabble" in a broad-based democracy where all free adult males could vote. Participation in legal functions — which had previously been open to all Athenians — was restricted by the 30 to a select group of 500 persons. Only 3,000 Athenians were granted the right to carry weapons or receive a jury trial.

The Thirty Tyrants forced many Athenians into exile and threw their leaders into jail.

The Thirty began a purge of important leaders of the popular party during the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

. Hundreds were condemned to execution by drinking hemlock, while thousands more were exiled from Athens. One of the most famous men who escaped from Athens during this reign of terror was the wealthy Lysias
Lysias
Lysias was a logographer in Ancient Greece. He was one of the ten Attic orators included in the "Alexandrian Canon" compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace in the third century BC.-Life:According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the author of the life ascribed to...

, who was mentioned in Plato's Republic.

In Plato's Apology
Apology (Plato)
The Apology of Socrates is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he unsuccessfully defended himself in 399 BC against the charges of "corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel"...

, Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

 recounts an incident in which the Thirty once ordered him (and four other men) to bring before them Leon of Salamis
Leon of Salamis
Leon of Salamis was a historical figure, mentioned in both Plato's Apology and Xenophon's Hellenica. This Leon may also be the renowned Athenian general Leon of the Peloponnesian War.- Plato's and Xenophon's Leon :...

, a man known for his justice and upright character, for execution. While the other four men obeyed, Socrates refused, not wanting to partake in the guilt of the executioners. By disobeying, Socrates knew he was placing his own life in jeopardy, and claimed it was only the disbanding of the oligarchy soon afterward that saved his life (Apology 32c-d).

As a result of the Phyle Campaign
Phyle Campaign
The Phyle Campaign was the civil war that resulted from the Spartan imposition of a narrow oligarchy on Athens and resulted in the restoration of Athenian democracy.-Prelude:...

 the Thirty Tyrants were overthrown. A group of exiles led by the general Thrasybulus
Thrasybulus
Thrasybulus was an Athenian general and democratic leader. In 411 BC, in the wake of an oligarchic coup at Athens, the pro-democracy sailors at Samos elected him as a general, making him a primary leader of the successful democratic resistance to that coup...

 after setting out from Thebes in 403 BC
403 BC
Year 403 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Mamercinus, Varus, Potitus, Iullus, Crassus and Fusus...

 ended their regime of just over a year. After the Thirty had been overthrown in a coup that killed Critias, Lysias accused Eratosthenes
Eratosthenes (statesman)
Eratosthenes of Athens was one of the Thirty Tyrants elected to rule the city of Athens after the Peloponnesian War .Having lost the war to the Spartans, the citizens of Athens elected thirty men as oligarchs...

 of the murder of Lysias' brother Polemarchus
Polemarchus
Polemarchus or Polemarch was the son of Cephalus of Syracuse. He had two brothers, Lysias and Euthydemus, and a sister who married Brachyllus. Polemarchus and Lysias traveled to Thurii when the latter was 15 years old....

.

List of the Thirty

The names of the Thirty are listed by Xenophon
Xenophon
Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

 in his Hellenica
Hellenica (Xenophon)
Hellenica simply means writings on Greek— Hellenic— subjects. Several histories of fourth-century Greece, written in the mold of Thucydides or straying from it, have borne the conventional Latin title Hellenica...

 2.3.2.
  • Aeschines of Athens, of the Kekropis tribe (not the famous orator
    Aeschines
    Aeschines was a Greek statesman and one of the ten Attic orators.-Life:Although it is known he was born in Athens, the records regarding his parentage and early life are conflicting; but it seems probable that his parents, though poor, were respectable. Aeschines' father was Atrometus, an...

    )
  • Anaetius
  • Aresias
  • Aristoteles (also a member of the Four Hundred and mentioned in Plato
    Plato
    Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

    's Parmenides)
  • Chaereleos
  • Charicles
    Charicles
    Charicles, son of Apollodorus, was an ancient Athenian politician, notorious for his role as one of the Thirty Tyrants. His actual role within the Thirty may have been somewhat overestimated by modern scholars, due to his brief mention by Aristotle and by Xenophon and the lack of other details...

    , son of Apollodorus
  • Chremo
  • Cleomedes, son of Lycomedes
  • Critias
    Critias
    Critias , born in Athens, son of Callaeschrus, was an uncle of Plato, and a leading member of the Thirty Tyrants, and one of the most violent. He was an associate of Socrates, a fact that did not endear Socrates to the Athenian public. He was noted in his day for his tragedies, elegies and prose...

  • Diocles
  • Dracontides
  • Erasistratus of Acharnae
  • Eratosthenes
    Eratosthenes (statesman)
    Eratosthenes of Athens was one of the Thirty Tyrants elected to rule the city of Athens after the Peloponnesian War .Having lost the war to the Spartans, the citizens of Athens elected thirty men as oligarchs...

  • Eucleides
    Eucleides
    Eucleides was archon of Athens at the end of the fifth century BC.During the year that he spent in office , the murderous oligarchy of the Thirty Tyrants was driven out of Athens and the Athenian democracy re-established...

  • Eumathes
  • Hiero
  • Hippolochus
  • Hippomachus
  • Melobius
  • Mnesilochus
  • Mnesitheides
  • Onomacles
  • Peison
  • Phaedrias
  • Pheido
  • Polychares
  • Sophocles (an Athenian orator, not the playwright)
  • Theogenes
    Theogenes
    Theogenes was an Athenian, who, in 425 BC, was appointed together with Cleon to repair to Pylos, and investigate the truth of the tidings, which had been brought thence, as to the difficulties of the blockade of Sphacteria. Cleon, however, prudently persuaded the people to abandon the proposed...

  • Theognis
  • Theramenes
    Theramenes
    Theramenes was an Athenian statesman, prominent in the final decade of the Peloponnesian War. He was particularly active during the two periods of oligarchic government at Athens, as well as in the trial of the generals who had commanded at Arginusae in 406 BC...

    , son of Hagnon
    Hagnon
    Hagnon was an Athenian general and statesman. In 437/6 BC, he led the settlers who founded the city of Amphipolis in Thrace; in the Peloponnesian War, he served as an Athenian general on several occasions, and was one of the signers of the Peace of Nicias and the alliance between Athens and Sparta...

    , of the tribe Pandionis, in the deme of Steiria
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