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Death to Tyrants!Ancient Greek Democracy and the Struggle against Tyranny$
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David A. Teegarden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691156903

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691156903.001.0001

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The Eretrian Tyrant-Killing Law

The Eretrian Tyrant-Killing Law

(p.57) 2 The Eretrian Tyrant-Killing Law
Death to Tyrants!

David A. Teegarden

Princeton University Press

This chapter defends the following thesis: the promulgation of the Eretrian tyrant-killing law played an important role in defending Eretria's newly reinstated democratic regime against internal subversion during the years immediately following the Athenian led liberation of 341. The arguments in support of that thesis are presented in three sections. The first section argues that the Eretrian pro-democrats quite likely would have lost control of their polis shortly after the Athenian-led liberation, if no serious attempt were made to facilitate their efforts to mobilize in defense of their regime (i.e., to solve a revolutionary coordination problem). Next, it argues that, by promulgating their tyrant-killing law, the Eretrian democrats greatly increased the likelihood that they would successfully mobilize in defense of their regime (i.e., overcome a potential revolutionary coordination problem) and thus likely would have deterred anti-democrats from attempting a coup. The final section argues that the Eretrian democrats maintained secure control of their polis, under very difficult circumstances, for several years after they promulgated their tyrant-killing law.

Keywords:   Eretria, tyrant-killing law, ancient Greeks, democracy, polis, Athenian liberation, democrats

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