Tyrant on Samos
in the 6th century BC. He took power together with his brothers in 538 BC,
but became lone ruler in 532 BC.
Polycrates was a very strong ruler, and was to make many changes in his time at various levels. With his fleet, he conquered several cities on the coast of Asia Minor, as well as many islands in the Aegean Sea.
On Samos he had several buildings made, including a 1km water-tunnel, temples and wave breakers. Around him he gathered learned scholars, but Pythagoras disagreed with his rule and left the island.
According to Herodotus Polycrates' friend Amasis, king of Egypt, worried about the tyrant's success. He feared the gods, and begged his friend to throw away his most precious belonging. Polycrates then took off his most valuable ring and threw it in the sea. Three days later, a fisherman came to his court o present him with ha huge fish he had caught as a gift. When the fish was cut open, the ring was in its stomach. Amasis then thought it best to leave.
Polycrates was killed by the Persian governor Oroites, who had his corpse crucified when he conquered Samos.