This investigation relies on a rash bet: to write the biography of two of the most famous statues in Antiquity, the Tyrannicides. Representing the murderers of the tyrant Hipparchus in full action, these statues erected on the Agora of Athens have been in turn worshipped, outraged, and imitated. They have known hours of glory and moments of hardships, which have transformed them into true icons of Athenian democracy.
The subject of this book is the remarkable story of this group statue and the ever-changing significance of its tyrant-slaying subjects. The first part of this book, in six chapters, tells the story of the murder of Hipparchus and of the statues of the two tyrannicides from the end of the sixth century to the aftermath of the restoration of democracy in 403. The second part, in three chapters, chronicles the fate and influence of the statues from the fourth century to the end of the Roman Empire. These chapters are followed by an epilogue that reveals new life for the statues in modern art and culture, including how Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union made use of their iconography. By tracing the long trajectory of the tyrannicides-in deed and art-Azoulay provides a rich and fascinating microhistory that will be of interest to readers of classical art and history.