d. 522 BC
|PYTHAGORAS OF SAMOS|
Polycrates came to power in 535 B
. when he and his two brothers, along with
their followers, took the city of Samos by force, during a festival. He consolidated power by
murdering one of his brothers, and exiling the other. Once he had established himself as tyrant, he
set about making Samos a great naval power by building a 100 ship navy, by far the largest of any
Greek city at the time. During the next ten years he had naval engagements with may Aegean Islands
and colonies, including Naxos, Rheneia, Miletus, and Lesbos and was very successful in his
endeavors. Under his leadership, Samos became very prosperous, and one of the great cultural and
commercial centers of Greece. It was after many years of uninterrupted success and prosperity,
that the story of the Ring of Polycrates
allegedly took place, which true or otherwise, is
the story by which Polycrates is best known. It relates the story of how Polycrates tries to ward of
the jealousy of the Gods, by tossing away his most valuable possession, and how in an highly
unlikely course of events, it is returned to him. He is thereby warned that the God's jealously
will not be so easily assuaged, and that a more tragic fate awaits him. In spite of these warnings,
he later fell into the clutches of his mortal enemy, Oroetes, then a Persian Governor on the mainland
of Asia Minor, and was put to a gruesome death, supposedly due to the implacably jealousy of the
Key events during the life of Polycrates:
||With brothers Pantagnotus and Syloson, took over
||Polycrates kills Pantagnotus and exiles Syloson—becomes sole tyrant of Samos.
||Builds fleet of 100 ships and dominates the islands the Ionian Sea.
||Enters into and alliance with Amasis II, king of Egypt.
||Amyais II breaks off alliance with Polycrates, supposedly due to fear of the Gods.
||Cambyses invades Egypt; Polycrates offers Naval Support.
||Polycrates reign continues prosperous, and Samos becomes a cultural and economic center of Greece.
||Oroetes, Governor of Lydia, invites Polycrates for a visit and puts him to death.
||Second to last king of Egypt, died before Egypt was overrun by Cambyses.
||Greek physician, valuable slave of Darius. Schemed and plotted to return to Greece.
||Eldest son of Cyrus. Invaded Egypt, killed brother, then died.
||Philosopher and mathematician; invented the Pythagorean Theorem.
||Persian Governor of Sardis. Enemy of Polycrates.
||Brother of Polycrates. Attempted to take back Samos after death of Polycrates.