The Megarian Conflict :- 565 B.C.

A long conflict with the Megarans over the disputed territories of Eleusis and Salamis ended when the Athenian army under Peisistratus routed the Megarans in 565 BCE. This victory opened up the unofficial trade blockage that had been contributing to the food shortage in Athens during the past several decades.

In the period after the Megarans were defeated, several political factions competed for control in the government of Athens. These groups were both economically and geographically partitioned.

  • Pedieis - Lycurgus led the Pedieis, referring to the population that resided on the plains. These landowners could grow grain, giving them leverage during the food shortage.
  • Paralioi - Paralioi referred to the population living along the coast. Led by Megacles , an accursed Alcmaeonid , the Paralioi party was not as strong as the Pedieis primarily because they did not have the same ability to produce grain as did the plainsmen. With the Megarans patrolling the sea, much of the import/export possibilities were limited.
  • Hyperakrioi - The last group of people who were not previously represented by formal party dwelled primarily in the hills and were by far the poorest of the Athenian population. Their only products that could be bartered were items like honey and wool. Peisistratus organized them into the Hyperakrioi, or hill dwellers. This party was grossly outnumbered by the Plain party (even when combined with the Coastal party).

His role in the Megaran conflict gained Peisistratus popularity in Athens, but he did not have the political clout to seize power. Peisistratus staged an attempt on his own life, and in the chaos that followed, he persuaded the Athenian Assembly to issue him bodyguards. Peisistratus, much like his predecessor, Cylon of Athens , used his bodyguard to capture and hold the acropolis . With this in his possession, and the collusion of Megacles and his party, he declared himself tyrant. [ 1 ]

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