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In ancient Greece, medism (Greek: μηδισμός, medismos) was the imitation of, sympathizing with, collaboration with, or siding with Persians. The ethnonym "Mede" was often used by the Greeks of the Persians although, strictly speaking, the Medes were a different Iranian people.

Medism was considered a faux pas, even a crime, in many ancient Greek city-states. Themistocles the Athenian was ostracized for medism. Pausanias, the Lacedaemonian hegemon of the Hellenic League in the Battle of Plataea, was accused of medism by other member states, an accusation which allowed Athens to seize control of the league. Herodotus mentions the so-called "state medism" of Aegina, Thessaly, Argos, Thebes, and other Boeotians. Astute politicians in Athens often exploited popular feelings against medism as a means to their own advancement, which once led to a feud between the poets Timocreon of Rhodes and Simonides of Ceos in support of and against Themistocles, respectively.[1]


  1. ^ Rachel M. McMullin, 'Aspects of Medizing: Themistocles, Simonides and Timocreon of Rhodes', The Classical Journal Vol. 97, No. 1 (Oct.-Nov. 2001), page 55

Further reading[edit]

  • Medism: Greek collaboration with Achaemenid Persia by David Frank Graf
  • Medism in the Sixth and Fifth Centuries B.C. by Helen Harriet Thompson
  • “The Medism of Thessaly,” Henry Dickinson Westlake