The Greek Tyrants

The Greek Tyrants

The Greek Tyrants

The Greek Tyrants

Excerpt

As will be clear from every chapter of this book, the study of early Greek politics is hampered by lack of documentary detail of the kind which might illustrate the machinery of government and the structure of classes. The historian need not despair, provided he keeps in mind the nature of the gap in his evidence, but he is tempted to hedge his statements with "probably" and "possibly", and though I have tried to concentrate on material about which positive assertions can profitably be made, enough of these notes of doubt remain in my text. Consistency in the transliteration of Greek names and words is almost impossible. No problem arises where there are specifically English forms like Athens or Aristotle: in general I have given names the latinized forms which may be more familiar (Alcaeus, not Alkaios), though with the representation of Greek k by c it is perhaps worth noting that those who have frequent occasion to name e.g. Cimon generally pronounce him Kimon rather than Simon: but I have not latinized Greek words, most of which will be unfamiliar in any case (so hyperakrioi, not hyperacrii), nor some of the more intractable names (there seems no gain in disguising Rhaikelos as Rhaecelus, which is nobody's pronunciation). Since all dates are B.C., I have omitted these letters throughout. I must emphasize my debt to two scholars untimely dead: Alan Blakeway's eager, even uproarious, teaching first introduced me to Greek history, and from his lectures on the seventh century these pages are (however remotely) descended; and the period covered here was the special field of his pupil and my contemporary, T. J. Dunbabin, whose laconic advice was always both steadying and stimulating. I thank Sir Maurice Bowra and Mr. R. Meiggs who read and discussed drafts of my text, Prof. D. L. Page for much conversation about Alcaeus, Prof. C. M. Robertson and Dr. P. Jacobsthal for archaeological first aid most generously given, though none of these are at all responsible for my errors; Mr. G. E. M. de Ste. Croix for reading proofs; and most of all Prof. H. T. Wade-Gery for wise and unstinted help at every stage.

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