Pisistratis, tyrant of Athens, born about 612 B. 0., died in 527". He was the kinsman and friend of Solon, and accompanied him in the expedition for the recovery of Salamis. After the adoption of the constitution of Solon, the old rivalry revived between the three parties in Attica: the proprietors of the plain, headed by Lycurgus; the party of the coast, headed by Megacles, the son of Alcmseon; and the party of the highlands, consisting of the poorer classes, headed by Pisistratus. Having wounded himself, Pisistratus appeared one day in the agora, complaining that he had been attacked, and asking for a guard. A company of 50 club men was assigned him, which soon being increased, he seized the acropolis (560), and compelled his leading opponents to flee. A coalition was formed against him, and he was driven from the city and remained in exile six years; but dissensions arose among his enemies, and Megacles offered him the sovereignty on condition that he should marry his daughter. This was agreed to, and Pisistratus entered Athens in a chariot by the side of a stately woman named Phya, clothed in the costume of Minerva, heralds crying out: "Athenians, cordially receive Pisistratus, whom Athena has honored above all other men, and is now bringing back into her own acropolis." He thus gained possession of the government, and married the daughter of Megacles; but not choosing to have children by a member of a family deemed accursed, he so incensed the Alcmaso-nidee that they again united with the party of Lycurgus and expelled him.
Ten years later he landed at Marathon with mercenaries and troops led by Lygdamis of Naxos, and reestablished himself in power. He now took into pay a body of foreign mercenaries, exiled some of his enemies, and kept the children of many of the principal citizens as hostages. His reign, however, seems to have been mild, and received the commendation of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Aristotle. Among other great works, he commenced the temple of the Olympian Jupiter on a plan so large that it was not finished till the time of Hadrian. He is said to have instituted the greater Panathenaic festival, and under his encouragement the poems of Homer were collected and written down. He is said to have been the first person in Greece who collected a library, to which he allowed the public access. He conquered Naxos, placing Lygdamis upon the throne, and wrested Sigeum from the Mytileneans. He was succeeded by his sons. (See Hippias and Hipparchus.)