12-29-0570 BCE

Salvator Rosa "The Crucifixion of Polycrates"

POLYCRATES, Greek tyrant, born (d: 522); By pirate raids and indiscriminate warfare, the tyrant of Samos dominated the East Aegean. He waged various wars and was, until the end of his life, victorious. His tyranny drove the philosopher Pythagorus from Samos, where Polycrates was generally despised. Eventually he was lured to Magnesia by one of his enemies, where he was crucified.

But even meanies can lose their hearts to the right boy, and Polycrates, tyrant though he was, was still a normal Greek. His special friend was the youth Bathyllus, so beautiful that Polycrates dared to erect a statue in his honor in the temple of Hera, goddess of women. Polycrates may have thought it appropriate that beautiful Bathyllus have his place among women, but it was considered an act of arrogance nonetheless. Almost immediately thereafter he was crucified. Don’t mess with Hera.