Pittakos was one of the Seven Sages of the ancient
and was native of Mytilini (648 B.C).
He was devoted to public service, associated with
the aristocratic party, and fought in many wars, eventually becoming a
General. He was renowned for his adamant character and decency. His
popularity was such that the Mytilinians vested him with dictatorial
powers, a kind of elected tyrant. He introduced and applied many new laws
and granted amnesty to his enemies, believing that forgiveness is better
than punishment. He opted to rule for only ten years, relinquishing power
with his own free will.
The Mytilinians, on his decision to leave public
life, presented him with a piece of land, the ‘Pittakean plot’, from which
he kept only an area as far as he could throw his spear, since he said ‘a
fair amount is more than enough’.