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Death to Tyrants! is the 1st finished examine of historical Greek tyrant-killing legislation--laws that explicitly gave contributors incentives to "kill a tyrant." David Teegarden demonstrates that the traditional Greeks promulgated those legislation to harness the dynamics of mass uprisings and guard well known democratic rule within the face of anti-democratic threats. He offers distinct historic and sociopolitical analyses of every legislation and considers quite a few matters: what's the nature of an anti-democratic risk? How may numerous provisions of the legislation aid pro-democrats counter these threats? And did the legislation work?

Teegarden argues that tyrant-killing laws facilitated pro-democracy mobilization either by means of encouraging courageous contributors to strike the 1st blow opposed to a nondemocratic regime and by way of convincing others that it was once secure to persist with the tyrant killer's lead. Such laws hence deterred anti-democrats from staging a coup via making sure that they'd be crushed by means of their numerically more suitable competitors. Drawing on smooth social technological know-how types, Teegarden appears to be like at how the establishment of public legislations impacts the habit of people and teams, thereby exploring the root of democracy's endurance within the old Greek global. He additionally presents the 1st English translation of the tyrant-killing legislation from Eretria and Ilion.

By interpreting an important historic Greek tyrant-killing laws, Death to Tyrants! explains how sure legislation enabled voters to attract on collective power so as to shield and defend their democracy within the face of encouraged opposition.

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One needn't doubt that, in the course of these years, anti-democrats desired to disorder and dominate the polis with Macedon’s a minimum of tacit help: anti-democrats in different different poleis did so; and Athenian democrats, evidently, have been very excited by the opportunity of a coup. fifty seven yet Athenian anti-democrats didn't make one of these circulation. Why no longer? the best resolution is they concluded that their try out could fail—that the democrats may effectively mobilize opposed to them. And it used to be to strength that calculation, in fact, that the democrats promulgated the legislations of Eukrates. during this gentle one should still word an important distinction among the legislation of Eukrates and either the decree of Demophantos and the Eretrian tyrant-killing legislation. these promulgations promised nice honors to the tyrant killer. in line with the decree of Demophantos, the tyrant killer might obtain the financial worth of part the “tyrant’s” estate, and, may still he be killed, he will be taken care of like Harmodios and Aristogeiton and his descendants taken care of like their descendants. And the honors prescribed via the Eretrian legislation have been no much less grand. If Knoepfler’s restorations are right, the tyrant killer may obtain proedria, sitēsis, a money fee, and a statue in his likeness will be erected in a conspicuous position; and will he die whereas killing the tyrant, the nation would supply for his youngsters. The legislations of Eukrates, nevertheless, prescribes no such optimistic, selective incentives for the tyrannicide, simply the reassurance that he wouldn't be prosecuted. Why might that be the case? One a part of the reply should be that, within the Athens of 337/6, tyrannicide was once now not thought of to be an extremely bold act. The using common sense in the back of that end is sort of easy: incentives are provided so one can inspire humans to do anything that they may not differently do. The query hence turns into, why may somebody democrat desire an incentive to kill a tyrant? One reason—likely the main major cause, it seems—would be to counter the load of his problem that, should still he devote that act, an inadequate variety of humans may stick with him. The higher his uncertainty, the better the inducement required to make tyrant killing in all likelihood definitely worth the hazard. It hence stands to cause that the absence of incentives in Eukrates’s legislation displays the common trust that the democrats—a majority of the population—will struggle to protect their regime. this doesn't suggest that any democrat will be as most probably as the other democrat to kill a tyrant. It signifies that would-be tyrannicides may come from the (relatively huge) pool of proactive democrats, now not the (very small) pool of terribly courageous, proactive democrats. that's, Athenian democrats grew to become more and more convinced, extra conscious of their collective power, among the promulgation of the decree of Demophantos and the legislation of Eukrates. * * * 1 for contemporary discussions of the conflict (and citations of the traditional evidence), see Ellis (1976: 197–98); Cawkwell (1978b: 144–49); Griffith (1979: 596–603); Hammond (1989:115–119); Sealey (1993: 196–98); Worthington (2008: 147–51).

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