A brief history of Athens:- 561 B.C.
How Pisistratus became tyrant of Athens:
In 561 BC Athens found itself being ruled by two tyrants and
their parties; Megacles (from the Alcmaeonid
family) who's party represented the SeaCoast
and Lycurgus who represented the farmers. While they were both trying
to undermine each other; Pisistratus came
into mind of making a third party.
Pisistratus contrived a devious plan and carried it out.
Wounding himself and his mules, and then driving his chariot into the
market-place, he professed to have just escaped an attack of his enemies,
who had attempted his life as he was on his way into the country. He
besought the people to assign him a guard to protect his person. The
Athenians, deceived by the story, appointed him a band of citizens
to serve under him.
Thus strengthened, Pisistratus broke into revolt and seized the citadel.
In this way he acquired the sovereignty of Athens. After a little time
Megacles and Lycurgus agreed to forget their differences, and united
to drive him out. Thus Pisistratus lost his power, before it could take
No sooner had he departed then fighting erupted again between the two
main parties. But now Megacles sent a message to Pisistratus, with an
offer to re-establish him on the throne if he would marry his daughter,
Pisistratus consented. Now Pisistratus and Megacles organised a plan
of Hollywood proportions. Pisistratus was to come riding into Athens
in a chariot accompanied by a woman named Phya who was to be dressed
up as Athena (the goddess).
She was to be exclaiming "Citizens of Athens, receive again Pisistratus
with friendly minds, Athena, who of all men honors him the most, herself
conducts him back to her own citadel."
The plan worked! (lord knows how) and Pisistratus was re-instated his sovereignty, and married according to the agreement,
the daughter of Megacles. Pisistratus was already married and it wasn't
long before it reached Megacles ears that they hadn't consummated the
marriage. Megacles quickly made up with the opposite factions and they
ran Pisistratus out of town. Pisistratus was not to be denied, and he
started to gather allies both inside and outside Athens. After eleven
years, by 542 BC he had a large enough force for him to think that he
could retake Athens.
Landing near Marathon he organised his allies
to begin a march on Athens. Athens by this time knew he was coming an
organised their army to meet him. Pisistratus spurred by an oracle raced
out to meet the Athenians after lunch (their
siesta time) and routed them. Overtaking
the deserters his troops were told to tell each man that he can safely
return home. Pisistratus was now the master of Athens a third time. From
here he banished many Athenians who he considered against him, to Naxos.
'Histories' by Herodotus published by Wordsworth 1996