Having lost the war to the Spartans, the citizens of Athens elected thirty men as oligarchs. The Thirty instituted oppressive and highly exclusionary laws and instituted a political purge against Athenians who had been Spartan informers and collaborators during the long war. Eventually open hostilities between the Thirty and disenfranchised or disaffected Athenian citizens led to a coup d'etat in 403 B.C. that deposed them.
He is the subject of a legal oration by the orator Lysias, entitled Against Eratosthenes, according to some critics. However, the age of the Tyrant does not fit with the context of Lysias' speech: he must have been aged at least 18 in 411BC to have served as a trierarch, and at least 30 by the time of the Thirty Tyrants period in 403/2BC. But Lysias' speech suggests that the Eratosthenes referred to is younger than 30 in 403/2 - he is described as 'neaniskos', a word which Lysias elsewhere uses to refer to younger men.
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