Stasis (political history)
- the constant feuds between aristocrats in archaic Greece, and their struggles to attain the best in title (aristos is Greek for "the best") both in terms of prestige and property. It led to various civil wars and the establishment of Tyrannies in many cities of ancient Greece, most notably the Tyranny of Peisistratos in Athens
- the feuding between oligarchic and democratic factions in the Greek city-states of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. This is a theme of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, which features a famous description of factional fighting on the island of Corcyra (modern Corfu).
According to the Iliad, the goal of all men of honour in archaic Greece was to always be the first and superior to the others. This ideal was called the aristeuein- or aristeia-Ideal. In Homer's days, this ideal was mainly based on performance skills in speaking and fighting, and included wisdom, self-restraint, loyalty, and bravery (e.g., leading armies in the front row). For decades, prestige, which was a requisite for might, originated in speaking ability and military virtues. This is true for the cases of both Solon and Peisistratos by Herodotus and by Aristotle in the Athenaion Politeia. In addition, success at the Olympic Games, especially in the field of four-horse chariot racing, was a peaceful way to gain prestige.
The resulting civil wars
Since ancient Athens before Solon did not have a fixed state order or instruments of power that belonged only to the state, the aristocrats could compete violently for office and property. As a result, as methods became more and more violent, aristocrats and their oikoi (families and followers) were engaged in civil strife against each other. At the beginning of the 6th century, the situation worsened, so that the aristocrats of Athens made Solon a lawmaker and arbitrator. The result was the Solonic Reforms. From then on, the term tyrannos (tyrant) became increasingly connected with violence and lawless might, a development which was fruitful only after the death of Solon's successor, the tyrannos Peisistratos.
Stasis under Peisistratos
After Solon's retirement from Athenian politics, the struggle for might continued, because the Athenian society wasn't ready for a fixed state order yet. Under Peisistratos' regime, the stasis continued, but only for charges under the tyrant, thus both securing him by appeasing the other aristocrats, and accustoming them to fixed charges given by a ruler, which paved the way for the reforms of Cleisthenes. Thus, aristocrats like Callias and Cimon had to struggle for prestige by winning in Olympia or showing off their wealth, not by becoming tyrants, while Miltiades the Elder emigrated from Athens and became head of a colony.
- Thucydides, Peloponnesian War III 69-85
- Iliad 6, 208.
- Herodotus (5, 71 ) mentions this when introducing Kylon
- Alcaeus writes about 600 BC: "Money is the man", while both Hesiod and Solon mention aristocrats ruthlessly trying to enlarge their wealth during the 7th century BC
- Plutarch: Solon, 13, see also Athenaion Politeia: 5,1 
- Schlange-Schöningen, p. 32
- Herodotus (6,34)
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