SLC / Classics Research Seminar Series 2019 - Ziming Liu

SLC / Classics Research Seminar Series 2019 - Ziming Liu

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Event type: Seminars

24 July 2019 from 12.00 pm - 2.00 pm 24 Jul 2019 12:00 pm 24 Jul 2019 2:00 pm

OK526 (Classics Museum), Old Kirk Building, Kelburn Parade

Harmodios and Aristogeiton: The Accidental Liberators

Presented by Ziming Liu

Statues of Aristogeiton and Harmodios
Statues of Aristogeiton (left) and Harmodios (right) .


In 514 BC Harmodios and Aristogeiton died murdering the Peisistratid Hipparkhos in the Athenian Agora. The two men would go on to become symbols of democracy and isonomia as the Tyrannicides who brought an end to tyranny in Athens and ushered in a new age. And yet the Peisistratids continued to rule for several years following the death of Hipparkhos. Moreover, both Herodotos and Thucydides agree that the actions of the two men did not result in the direct downfall of tyranny but instead in the exacerbation of the tyrants’ cruelty. The purpose of this paper is to explore this dissonance between the reality of the situation and the constructed narrative of the Tyrannicides, the latter of which owes itself largely to the monuments erected in their honour.


Ziming Liu is an MA student in Classics at the Victoria University of Wellington. She is a tutor in Classics and she has served as a student representative for the Wellington Classical Association. Later this year she will join the Classics Department at Yale, where she will complete a Ph.D.