Abstract According to classical and postclassical sources, the early Greek turannoi were, by definition, illegitimate rulers who overturned existing political arrangements and installed rogue monarchic regimes in their place. And on this one fundamental point at least, modern observers of archaic turannides seem to have little quarrel with their ancient informants. To this day, it remains axiomatic that Cypselus, Peisistratus, and the rest were autocrats who gained power by usurpation. Whatever their individual accomplishments, they were still, in a word, "tyrants." Relying mostly on evidence from the contemporary literary and material records, my paper aims to challenge this time-honored conventional wisdom and restore the first turannoi to the political mainstream.
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