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This article is about the tyrant of Miletus. For the Athenian general, see Thrasybulus.
Thrasybulus (Greek: Θρασύβουλος ο Μιλήσιος) was the tyrant of Miletus in the 7th century BC. Under his rule, Miletus fought a lengthy war against Lydia. This war ended without a decisive victor (a result that Herodotus credits to Thrasybulus's trickingAlyattes II into making peace). Following the war, Miletus and Lydia concluded an alliance.
Thrasybulus was an ally of Periander, the tyrant of Corinth. He features in a famous anecdote from Herodotus's Histories, in which a messenger from Periander asks Thrasybulus for advice on ruling. Thrasybulus, instead of responding, takes the messenger for a walk in a field of wheat, where he slices off all the tallest stalks by swinging a stick. The message, correctly interpreted by Periander, was that a wise ruler would preempt challenges to his rule by "removing" those promin…