Pisistratus is Smarter Than the Government

So my best friend is a history teacher
and as he recently brought to my attention
it is entirely possible
that the reason that greek mythology is so exquisitely messed up
is that greek HISTORY is also just a big bucket full of live eels and crazyjuice
allow me to present to you yet another example of this:

So when we talk about Greece
what we’re actually talking about is a bunch of adjacent cities
that all happen to speak the same language
but all totally hate each other
sort of like a united states of america where every state is Texas
and inside each of these cities
there are a bunch of dudes
who all happen to speak the same language
but all totally hate each other
Sort of like Texas if every person in Texas was Texas

one of these cities is called Athens
you may remember it as the city largely responsible for beating off the Persians
(haha that could be interpreted sexually)
and Athens is also the city that usually has the most bling
and also the most government
which means that all of these Athenian citizens
(who, remember, fucking hate each other)
are busy trying to use the government as a money vacuum to get them all that money
some of them come up with pretty neat strategies
like this guy Pisistratus

So Pisistratus starts out as a general
in a war against another greek city, Megara
(what did I tell you about hating each other)
and he does a pretty good job in the war
which makes him kind of popular
but not quite “President of Athens” popular
so he pushes it a little further

see there’s three major political factions in Athens
there are the grain farmers who live in the plains
who are rich as fuck because the Megarans have been blocking the ports for a long time
and all anybody can eat is grain
then there are the people who live on the coast
who are pretty poor but they’re still okay because i guess they have fish or whatever
and then there are the hill people
who don’t have jack shit because they live in the hills and why would you do that

so naturally Pisistratus decides to make friends with the hill people
who are not only ridiculously poor
but are also the smallest and least influential faction
which sounds stupid
until you take into account that Pisistratus also has an alliance with the coastal people
who are lead by a dude named Megacles
and you can’t go wrong with an ally named Megacles

except even with the two factions combined, Pisistratus still doesn’t have enough dudes
so what he does
and this, my friends, is brilliant
is he stages an attempt on his OWN LIFE
uses that as grounds to get the Athenian government to give him bodyguards
and then uses those bodyguards TO TAKE OVER THE ATHENIAN GOVERNMENT
my friends
that would be like if you faked a heart attack
to get a Paramedic to give you nitroglycerin
and then you used that nitroglycerin to BLOW UP CONGRESS
it’s a DICK MOVE is what i’m saying.

but so now Pisistratus is Tyrant of Athens
(that is his actual official title
cause greeks don’t fuck around)
and he starts doing all the stuff you’d expect a tyrant to do
like funding the arts
and giving land and legal representation to the poor
and … what?
this dude just took over the government with swords
why is he being nice
Tyrants aren’t supposed to establish bands of traveling judges to settle disputes in the countryside
they’re supposed to establish bands of traveling kidnappers to draft young men and women into the tyrant’s personal blowjob brigade
they’re not supposed to commission the first ever definitive transcriptions of the Odyssey and Iliad
they’re supposed to commission the first ever transcription of “I am Great and my Nuts are Huge: The Pisistratus Story by Pisistratus”

an instant classic

What the hell is this guy doing
he knows he’s a tyrant, right?

so obviously Megacles is like what the fuck, man
i allied with you on the condition that you were gonna be a huge dick
this is unacceptable
so he turns around and allies with the plains-dwellers
and Pisistratus gets exiled
but WHATEVER
this is ancient Greece
dudes are gettin’ exiled all DAY
Pisistratus just sends a message to Megacles like dude
If you let me back into the city, I’ll bang your daughter
and Megacles is like SOLD
so Pisistratus returns to the city
but what he didn’t tell Megacles
is that he was planning on returning in a gold chariot
accompanied by a hot chick who he intends to pass off as ATHENA HERSELF
AND HE SUCCEEDS
AND EVERYONE IS LIKE HOLY SHIT, ATHENA IS SUPER INTO THIS DUDE
LET’S MAKE HIM OUR TYRANT AGAIN
AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS
GUYS
THIS IS LIKE IF AFTER BLOWING UP CONGRESS WITH NITROGLYCERIN
THEY SENT YOU TO GUANTANAMO BAY
BUT THEN YOU CAME BACK IN A STRETCH LIMO
ACCOMPANIED BY A HOBO YOU HAD PAID TO DRESS UP LIKE THE GHOST OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
AND THEN YOU GOT TO BE PRESIDENT
GUYS
WHY DO I NOT LIVE IN ANCIENT GREECE

so anyway, Pisistratus goes back to being a suspiciously nice dude
but he makes one crucial mistake
the crucial mistake he makes is that he always uses protection when he bangs Megacles’ daughter
and Megacles is having none of that
he’s like PISISTRATUS
I NEED YOU TO PUT A BABY IN MY DAUGHTER
and Pisistratus is like HELL NO SHE UGLY
and Megacles is like GETTIN EXILED AGAIN BITCH
and Pisistratus is like aw noooooooo

but it’s okay
because while he’s exiled he just gets super rich
buys a big army
and takes over Athens FOR A THIRD TIME
it is said that only half of the army was actually necessary to take over the city
the other half was just the manpower required to widen the gates of Athens
to accommodate Pisistratus’s HUGE FUCKING TESTICLES

so at this point everyone is like fuck it
we can keep exiling this dude til the cows come home
(and there are a lot of cows in this country, let me tell you)
but he’s just gonna keep coming back and taking over the government
so maybe we should just go with it
and they do
and it’s pretty rad
until he dies and then someone assassinates one of his sons
and then his other son turns into a jerk
and then Athens has to go back to being a boring old democracy

so the moral of the story
is that if you pull off any crime three times in a row
it becomes legal

the end.

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8 thoughts on “Pisistratus is Smarter Than the Government

  1. Hey, love your stuff. I am a professor in Florida (not sure I should say which one:) I teach Greek Mythology and you are on my links page. I love this story and I am so surprised you did not mention that the form of birth control was, well a bit anal. I was sort of looking forward to your description. Love your creativity. You should start including images from ancient pottery and sundries. I would love to see one done on the Herm statues, or as I like to refer to them.. mile markers.

  2. Wait, Megacles as in the Megacles who got that chick that Hippocleides didn’t get by breakdancing too much (but he CARES NOT)

  3. I had to write an essay on a person or event for an Ancient Greek History course I took, and I was kinda wondering who or what I was going to do it on, until my professor told us about Pisistratus. I immediately latched on and wrote an A paper on why he was one of the greatest rulers Athens ever had. It was a fun time.

  4. Pingback: The one-stop Trump U-turn thread - Page 12

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