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Periander
(625-585 BC)

Dictator of Corinth who succeeded his father Cypselos. Periander was a very wise ruler, and was to be considered as one of the seven sages of Greece. He was married to Melissa and they had at least two sons, one called Psammetichus.

Periander was a friend of Athens, and also had strong ties with Miletus and Lydia. He conquered Corcyra and Epidaurus, and shared Athens's animosity towards Aegina.

He also founded several colonies: Potidae in Chalcidici, Apollonia and Epidamnus by the Adriaic Sea and established and enlarged the shipping routes to the Etruscans. He also traded with Egypt.

Between the Saronic and Corinthian Gulfs he had a dragway for ships constructed (diolkos) which can be seen to this day.

He also made Corinth a cultural centre, and had poets like Arion at his court. He also had buildings made in the Doric order, and it was during his rule the famous Corinthian painted pottery was developed.

However, Periander was also slightly mad and cruel. He killed his wife in a fit of jealousy, and when he realised what he had done he was filled with remorse and had intercourse with her corpse. He surveilled his subjects, and if he suspected someone of being a threat he had them executed. When on of his sons was killed in Corcyra he had 300 of the leading families sons shipped to Lydia as a gift. He told the Lydians the boys were to be eunuchised, but they were spared his grim destiny.

Periander died at an old age, and was succeeded by his son Psammetichus, who only ruled for three years, and then was overthrown by the oligarchs.


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