University of Oulu

Kuokkanen, S. (2020). Athenian Ostrakismos and the Hybris of a Would-Be Tyrant. Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 60(1–2), 53–70.

Athenian Ostrakismos and the Hybris of a would-be tyrant

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Author: Kuokkanen, Suvi1
Organizations: 1History of Sciences and Ideas, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Akadémiai Kiadó, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-10-08


Analysing Greek literary sources together with a selection of preserved ostraka, this article discusses the interrelationships between the prevention of hybris, the perceptions of tyranny, and the purposes of practising ostracism in fifth-century Athens. It will be proposed that the political decisions to organize ostrakophoriai were reactions to the threat posed by hybristic disposition of an individual — hence, ostracism played a role in detecting and punishing one’s motives and intentions. It will also be proposed that luxurious life-style was perceived by the Athenians both as a sign of Medism and of a hybristic disposition characteristic of a would-be-tyrant. Thus, profligate life-styles of political figures might have urged the Athenians to organise ostrakophoriai.

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Series: Acta antiqua. Academiae scientiarum Hungaricae
ISSN: 0044-5975
ISSN-E: 1588-2543
ISSN-L: 0044-5975
Volume: 60
Issue: 1-2
Pages: 53 - 70
DOI: 10.1556/068.2020.00005
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Copyright information: © 2020 Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. The final authenticated version is available online at