7th cent. BC mass grave found near Athens

Two mass graves were discovered by archaeologists in an area near to Athens, containing skeletons of 80 men who may have been followers of ancient would-be tyrant Cylon. Two small vases discovered amongst the skeletons have allowed archaeologists to date the graves from between 675 and 650 BC, which was a period of great political turmoil in the region. The skeletons were found lined up, some on their backs and others on their stomachs. A total of 36 had their hands bound with iron. They could have been followers of Cylon, a nobleman whose failed coup in the 7th century BC is detailed in the accounts of ancient historians Herodotus and Thucydides.

Mass Grave in Athens (by Seeker)
Mass Grave in Athens (by Seeker)

Cylon, a former Olympic champion, sought to rule Athens as a tyrant. But Athenians opposed the coup attempt and he and his supporters were forced to seek refuge in the Acropolis. The conspirators eventually surrendered after winning guarantees that their lives would be spared. But Megacles, of the powerful Alcmaeonid clan, had the men massacred — an act condemned as sacrilegious by the city authorities

(after Seeker)

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