Death to Tyrants!: Ancient Greek Democracy and the Struggle against Tyranny (Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2013), xiv + 261 pp. $45.00. isbn 9780691156903. In this book, a re-working of his 2007 Princeton dissertation, David Teegarden 1 presents a study of anti-tyranny legislation in the Classical and Hellenistic periods. The work is a model of social-science Greek history, drawing on careful and detailed examinations of individual inscriptions in order to construct an overall argument that is important, cogent, and largely compelling – even if it is over-ambitious in some respects. Teegarden’s overall argument incorporates three main claims. The first is that ‘the ancient Athenians invented, and the citizens of many Greek poleis subsequently adopted, an institution that facilitated large-scale, pro-democracy uprisings: tyrant-killing law’ (p. xi). The second is that individual examples of tyrant-killing legislation depended on a similar logic, ‘the dynamics of bandwagoning’. The third is that this type of legislation ‘contributed to the success of democracy in the ancient Greek world’ (p. xii). Teegarden supports this last claim in his Introduction, Conclusion, in the closing section of Chapter 6 (pp. 211-14) and in an Appendix, in which he quantifies the number of regimes of different types in
Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought – Brill
Published: May 5, 2015
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