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Summary.

Introduction: Cimon’s Family and Character.

Cimon’s Early Career.

Cimon’s Successes.

The Beginning of Conflict with the Democrats.

Democratic Reforms Behind Cimon’s Back.

The Reforms that Cimon Opposed.

Cimon’s Last Years and Death.

Secondary Works Cited.

Index of Citations

General Index

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Cimon 

Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of January 31, 2003

(Section 1 of 9)

· Summary ·

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Athens.

Cimon, son of Miltiades (father) and Hegesipyle (mother), was a prominent Athenian in the first half of the 5th century BCE. He was instrumental in leading Athens to a dominant position in the Greek world after the Persian Wars, and he opposed the more radical democratic reforms of Ephialtes and Pericles, particularly their reform of the Court of the Areopagus.

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(Section 2 of 9)

· Introduction: Cimon’s Family and Character ·

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Isocrates (Isoc. 15).
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
 
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Athens.
Athens.

In the early 5th century BCE Athens became increasingly more democratic as the older institutions, which were dominated by the wealthy, lost power to newer institutions that were in the hands of the People. This change was not welcomed by everyone, and even a hundred years later, an aristocratic Athenian like Isocrates could complain of how, after the Persian Wars, “the city grew powerful and seized the empire of the Greeks, and our fathers, growing more self-assured than was proper for them, began to look with disfavor on those good men and true who had made Athens great, envying them their power, and growing to look instead to men who were low-born and full of insolence” (Isoc. 15.316). When he outlines the history of the government of Athens, Aristotle notes that at this critical point in the history of the democracy, the leadership of the People was held by Ephialtes, while the wealthy Athenians followed Cimon (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 28.2).

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Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Attica.

Cimon’s deme, the district in Attica where he was registered as a citizen, was Laciadae (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 27.3), and he was of the tribe ( φυλή ) Oineis (Plut. Cim. 17.3-6).

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Herodotus (Hdt.).
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
Demosthenes (Dem. 13).
Andocides (Andoc. 4).
 
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Thrace.
Paros.
Olympia.

Cimon’s father was Miltiades, a famous Athenian, and his mother was Hegesipyle, who was not an Athenian but the daughter of Olorus, king of Thrace (Plut. Cim. 4.1; Aristot. Ath. Pol. 26.1; Hdt. 6.39.2). The family was very wealthy. His father, Miltiades, had been general on a failed military expedition to Paros in 490 or 489 BCE (source for date: Rhodes, 324-325), and had been fined for that failure. When Miltiades died, his son Cimon paid the fine, which was 50 talents, a vast sum of money (Hdt. 6.136.3; Plut. Cim. 4.4). Aristotle says that Cimon “had an estate large enough for a tyrant,” but adds this comment on his reputation for generosity: “anyone of the Laciadae who liked could come to his house every day and have a moderate supply, and also all his farms were unfenced, to enable anyone who liked to avail himself of the harvest.” (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 27.2-3; Plutarch tells the same story at Plut. Cim. 10.1 -2). Demosthenes, writing in the 4th century BCE, suggests that Cimon had a reputation for modesty, citing him as an example of how, in the “old days” of the early 5th century, the houses of wealthy and famous Athenians were no different from those of ordinary citizens (Dem. 13.29). It is possible that Cimon had also been a victor in the games at Olympia (Andoc. 4.33).

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(Section 3 of 9)

· Cimon’s Early Career ·

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Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Susa, Persepolis (in text as “Persia”).
Attica.
Peloponnese.
Salamis.
Athens.

Cimon came to public prominence for the first time, it seems, in 480 BCE, when the army from Persia was marching toward Athens (source for date: OCD3). Faced with an invasion of Attica, the politician Themistocles urged the Athenians to abandon the territory of Attica to the enemy, take refuge on the island of Salamis and in the Peloponnese, and trust in Athens’ fleet of warships. Cimon made a flamboyant and effective gesture of support for this proposal: he marched up to the Acropolis and gave his horse’s bridle as a gift to the goddess Athene, thus indicating that he would not need his cavalry equipment, since he would trust in the navy. In the ensuing naval battle off the island of Salamis he performed bravely, and from those events became well known in Athens (Plut. Cim. 5.2-3).

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Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Athens.

Many ancient writers, often unsympathetic or actively hostile toward the idea of democracy, describe the history of Athens in the 5th and 4th centuries as an ongoing struggle between the rich and the poor (who were often referred to as the People)—or between “aristocracy” (after aristoi, “the best people,” a euphemism for the rich) and “democracy” (after the demos, the People)—with prominent Athenians championing one side or the other. Aristotle, for example, summarizes Athenian history in terms of this struggle, saying that at the end of the 6th century Cleisthenes took the side of the People, while Isagoras represented the rich; later, Xanthippus took the side of the People, and Miltiades took the side of the rich; and then, after the Persian Wars, Themistocles and Ephialtes took the side of the People, while Aristides and Cimon took the side of the rich (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 28.2). Plutarch tells the same story of “party politics” (Plut. Cim. 5.4), and goes so far as to say that Cimon restored Athens to a “the legendary community of Cronus” ( τὴν ἐπὶ Κρόνου μυθολογουμένην κοινωνίαν ) by resisting Themistocles and Ephialtes as they tried to enact democratic reforms (Plut. Cim. 10.6-8).

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(Section 4 of 9)

· Cimon’s Successes ·

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Herodotus (Hdt.).
Plutarch (Plut. Thes.).
Thucydides (Thuc.).
Diodorus (Diod.).
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
Plutarch (Plut. Arist.).
Pausanias (Paus.).
 
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Delphi.
Attica.
Scyros.
Athens.
Sparta.
Greece.

Cimon enjoyed this influence over affairs because he was a very successful general, politician, and perhaps self-promoter. After the Persian Wars, when the Athenians were rebuilding their city (it had been sacked by the Persians in 480 [source for date: OCD3, see also Hdt. 8.50.2— CWB]), Cimon acted on a message from the god Apollo, delivered to the Athenians through the oracle at Delphi; the message urged Athens to find the bones of their legendary king Theseus and return them for burial in Attica. Cimon found a large skeleton on the island of Scyros and returned with it, triumphantly, to Athens (Plut. Thes. 36.1-3; Plut. Cim. 8.3-7; Paus. 1.17.6; Paus. 3.3.7; Thuc. 1.98.2; Diod. 11.60.2). We also hear of Cimon and Aristides—both advocates of an aristocratic government (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 28.2; Plut. Cim. 10.7)—sent as an embassy to Sparta in 479, just after Athens and Sparta had led the Greeks in driving the Persians from Greece (Plut. Arist. 10.10; source for date: Rhodes, 293). According to Pausanias, Cimon was instrumental in fortifying the newly rebuilt Acropolis with walls (Paus. 1.28.3).

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Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Persia.
Aegean.
Athens.

In the years 478-477, when the Persians has left the Greek mainland but were still a threat to the Greek islands in the Aegean, the Spartans held leadership of a coalition of Greek states united for protection from Persia (Plut. Cim. 6.1; source for date: OHCW). But the Spartan king Pausanias mismanaged the alliance, while Cimon, who was in the Aegean as an Athenian general ( στρατηγός ), acted fairly, thus helping to bring many island-states into alliance with Athens (Plut. Cim. 6.2).

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Thucydides (Thuc.).
Pausanias (Paus.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Persia.
Aegean.
Eion.
Thrace.
Athens.
Greece.
Amphipolis.

Those years also marked the beginning of a series of naval battles between Persia and Athens, under the command of Cimon, that would, by 467, eliminate the Persian threat to the Greeks in the Aegean; the first of these battles was in the north, in Thrace, where Cimon attacked the Persians and liberated the city of Eion (Plut. Cim. 7.1; Thuc. 1.98.1; source for date: OHCW). Pausanias (the writer from the 2nd century CE, no relation to the Spartan king of the same name) reports that Cimon pioneered the use of running water to undermine brick walls (which resist battering rams better than stone, he says) during the siege of Eion (Paus. 8.8.9). Cimon’s victory at Eion in Thrace opened the way for Athens to control territory in northern Greece, including the city of Amphipolis (Plut. Cim. 8.2).

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Thucydides (Thuc.).
Pausanias (Paus.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Eurymedon.
Hydrus.
Persia.

Cimon’s greatest moment, however, was in 467, when he commanded the Athenian fleet in a battle against the Persians near the mouth of the river Eurymedon (Plut. Cim. 12.1-6; Thuc. 1.100.1; source for date: OHCW). After his fleet had beaten the Persian fleet, it landed troops which another victory on land (Plut. Cim. 13.1-2). Cimon won yet another victory immediately afterwards against a fleet of Phoenician ships that were part patrolling near Hydrus on behalf of Persia (Plut. Cim. 13.3). He became famous as the one general who won a victory on land and on sea on the same day (Paus. 1.29.14). The result of these victories was a treaty between the Greeks and the Great King of Persia, ending the Persian threat to the Greeks, at least for the moment (Plut. Cim. 13.4).

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Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
Thucydides (Thuc.).
 
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Athens.

Athens was still the leading city of the defensive alliance of Greek states, many of which grew tired of providing ships for the common defense; according to Plutarch, Cimon allowed them to pay money instead of contributing ships, money that the Athenians used to expand their own fleet, which would provide protection to all the allies. Thus, “before they knew it, they were tribute-paying subject rather than allies” (Plut. Cim. 11.1-3; compare Thuc. 1.99, which tells the same story without mentioning Cimon). This was the birth of the Athenian “empire” ( ἀρχή ) that would shape the city’s history in the 5th century (for the term, see Thuc. 1.67.4; Thuc. 1.75).

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Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).

Plutarch tells the following story to illustrate Cimon’s prestige during these years when he was one of the ten generals elected by the Athenians. On the occasion when the tragedian Sophocles was producing his first tragedies in the Theater of Dionysus, putting them in competition with some tragedies of Aeschylus, the crowd was in an uproar, excited by the young poet’s challenge to the old master. When Cimon and his fellow generals entered the theater, the archon chose them to judge the competition, rather than selecting ten judges at random. Cimon’s reputation calmed the crowd and prevented a riot when the “upstart” Sophocles won the competition (Plut. Cim. 8.7-8). This happened in 468 BCE (source for date: OHCW).

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(Section 5 of 9)

· The Beginning of Conflict with the Democrats ·

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Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Chersonese.
Aegean.
Thrace.
Athens.
Macedonia.

Plutarch praises Cimon for his opposition to the democratic reforms of Themistocles and Ephialtes (Plut. Cim. 10.7). The beginnings of this opposition, as far as we can tell, arose from an incident on one of Cimon’s military campaigns in the north. While the Persians had been mostly driven from the Aegean sea, they remained in the Chersonese, a peninsula in the northern Aegean, and allied themselves with some of the people of Thrace; the Athenians dispatched Cimon to wage war against them (Plut. Cim. 14.1). Cimon won a victory in Thrace, which allowed him, had he wished to, to invade Macedonia. When he failed to do this, he was brought to trial in Athens, accused of accepting bribes to leave Macedonia alone; one of the prosecutors at his trial was Pericles (Plut. Cim. 14.2-3). Cimon spoke well in his own defense (Plut. Cim. 14.3) and was acquitted, but this trial, at least as Plutarch narrates Cimon’s career, marked the beginning of a period of confrontation between him and the democratic reformers (Plut. Cim. 15.1-2; Plut. Cim. 10.7).

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Pausanias (Paus.).
Thucydides (Thuc.).
Aristotle (Aristot. Rh.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Athens.
Persia.
Sparta.

Cimon was the proxenos ( πρόξενος ) or “official representative” of Sparta in Athens, a position similar to that of an ambassador, except that the proxenus was a citizen of the foreign city, not of the city he represented (Plut. Cim. 14.3; Paus. 4.24.6). Cimon’s relationship with Sparta was close; he cited that relationship, as evidence of his good character, in his own defense at his trial (Plut. Cim. 14.3), and even named one of his sons Lacedaemonius, or “Spartan” (Thuc. 1.45.2; Plut. Cim. 16.1; Aristotle makes some unflattering comments about Cimon’s children at Aristot. Rh. 1390b). This relationship was helpful to Athens, and reflected well on Cimon in the eyes of his fellow citizens, while Sparta and Athens were allies in the struggle against Persia, but as the two cities became rivals, Sparta’s proxenus came to be regarded with some suspicion (Plut. Cim. 16.4-6).

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Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
Pausanias (Paus.).
Aristophanes (Aristoph. Lys.).
 
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Peloponnese.
Sparta.
Athens.

In 464 BCE, an earthquake struck the Peloponnese in the area around Sparta, and the helots ( εἵλως , εἱλώτης ), a large population of serfs controlled by the Spartans, took the disaster as an opportunity to revolt from their masters; the Spartans send messages to Athens asking for help in putting down this rebellion (Plut. Cim. 16.4-7; Paus. 1.29.8; source for date: OHCW). Aristophanes makes a joking reference to this event in his play Lysistrata, where Lysistrata chides some Spartans, saying: “You must remember, not so long ago, you sent a man to Athens begging us, on bended knee and whiter than a ghost, to sent an army? All your slaves were up in arms when that big earthquake hit you. We send you help, four thousand infantry” (Aristoph. Lys. 1138)—“not so long ago” is misleading, since Lysistrata was produced in 411 BCE, fifty three years after the helot-uprising (source for date: OHCW).

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Thucydides (Thuc.).
Pausanias (Paus.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
Andocides (Andoc. 4).
Andocides (Andoc. 3).
Plutarch (Plut. Per.).
 
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Sparta.
Ithome.
Messenia.
Athens.

Ephialtes opposed sending help to Sparta, but Cimon argued in favor of doing so and persuaded the Athenians (Plut. Cim. 16.8). After this successful intervention, the Spartans called for help from Athens a second time, in 462 BCE, when they were besieging a group of rebellious helots in the town of Ithome, in Messenia (source for date: OHCW). Again the Athenians sent a military force, under Cimon’s command, but once the army arrived in Messenia, the Spartans sent them back again (Plut. Cim. 17.2; Thuc. 1.102; Paus. 1.29.8). Plutarch says, “the army came back home in a rage, and at once took open measures of hostility against the pro-Spartan people, and above all against Cimon” (Plut. Cim. 17.2); Cimon was ostracized, a process by which the people of Athens voted to expel him from the city for a period of ten years (Plut. Cim. 17.2; Andoc. 4.33; Andoc. 3.3; Plut. Per. 9.4).

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Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Sparta.
Messenia.
Athens.

When Plutarch describes Cimon’s ostracism at Plut. Cim. 17.2, he suggests that it was motivated by Athens’ anger at their humiliating dismissal by the Spartans—Cimon, the proxenus of Sparta would have been a natural target for that anger. But there may have been more to it than that. We have reason to think that while Cimon was away in Messenia with an Athenian army, the people in Athens, under the leadership of Ephialtes and Pericles, enacted a radical democratic reform by limiting the powers of the Court of the Areopagus.

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(Section 6 of 9)

· Democratic Reforms Behind Cimon’s Back ·

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Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
Thucydides (Thuc.).
 
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Ithome.

First there is the question of why the Spartans, after summoning the Athenians to help, suddenly changed their minds and dismissed them. Plutarch says that the Spartans saw the Athenians as “revolutionaries” ( νεωτεριστάς ) (Plut. Cim. 17.2). Thucydides expands on this, saying that the Spartans, “apprehensive of the enterprising and revolutionary character of the Athenians, and further looking upon them as foreigners, began to fear that if they remained, they might be tempted by the besieged in Ithome to attempt some political changes. They accordingly dismissed them alone of the allies, without declaring their suspicions, but merely saying that they had now no need of them” ( δείσαντες τῶν Ἀθηναίων τὸ τολμηρὸν καὶ τὴν νεωτεροποιίαν, καὶ ἀλλοφύλους ἅμα ἡγησάμενοι, μή τι, ἢν παραμείνωσιν, ὑπὸ τῶν ἐν Ἰθώμῃ πεισθέντες νεωτερίσωσι, μόνους τῶν ξυμμάχων ἀπέπεμψαν, τὴν μὲν ὑποψίαν οὐ δηλοῦντες, εἰπόντες δὲ ὅτι οὐδὲν προσδέονται αὐτῶν ἔτι ) (Thuc. 1.102).

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Plutarch (Plut. Per.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Athens.

Second, there are several passages from ancient authors that say that democratic reforms were passed in Athens while Cimon was away. Plutarch suggests this, in very general terms, in his biography of Pericles. Once Aristides was dead, Plutarch says, and Themistocles was banished and Cimon was generally absent on campaigns, “Pericles decided to devote himself to the people, espousing the cause of the poor and the many instead of the few and the rich, contrary to his own nature, which was anything but popular” (Plut. Per. 7.2). In his biography of Cimon he is more specific, saying that after Cimon’s trial and acquittal, he opposed any democratic reforms, “but when he sailed away again on military service, the People got completely beyond control. They confounded the established political order of things and the ancestral practices which they had formerly observed, and under the lead of Ephialtes they robbed the Council of the Areopagus of all but a few of the cases in its jurisdiction” (Plut. Cim. 15.1).

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Diodorus (Diod.).
Aristotle (Aristot. Pol.).
 
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Athens.

Third, there is evidence to suggest that democratic reforms, and particularly a reform of the Court of the Areopagus, were enacted specifically by the People generally, the dēmos ( δῆμος ), in the absence of Cimon and the wealthier Athenians. Diodorus says that it was the Assembly ( ἐκκλησία ), the most democratic institution in Athens, that reformed the Court of the Areopagus (Diod. 11.77.6). More interesting still, Aristotle attributes the democratic reforms after the Persian Wars, and particularly the changes to the Court of the Areopagus, to the “naval multitude” ( ναυτικὸς ὄχλος ) (Aristot. Pol. 1304a 20). This “naval multitude” refers to the citizens who were not wealthy enough to provide themselves with bronze armor, but could nevertheless serve as rowers on warships.

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Plutarch (Plut. Per.).
 
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Sparta.

Fourth, and finally, Plutarch’s biography of Pericles, unlike his biography of Cimon, explicitly connects Cimon’s ostracism with Ephialtes’ reform of the Court of the Areopagus, which he calls here the “Council of the Areopagus”: “ Not only was the Council robbed of most of its jurisdiction by Ephialtes, but Cimon also, on the charge of being a lover of Sparta and a hater of the people, was ostracized” (Plut. Per. 9.4).

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Ithome.
Messenia.
Athens.
Sparta.

If we put these four categories of evidence together, we might (tentatively) reconstruct events as follows: In 462 BCE the Spartans sent for Athenian help during the siege of Ithome in Messenia. Cimon marched south with an army that consisted of those Athenians wealthy enough to afford the bronze armor necessary for fighting on land. While this army was gone, the Assembly at Athens, with a smaller-than-usual number of wealthy citizens participating, passed democratic reforms, including a reform of the Court of the Areopagus. Word of this reached Sparta, and the Spartans (who did not look kindly on reform, certainly not democratic reform) decided that the Athenians were dangerous to have around and so dismissed them. Upon returning to Athens, Cimon, who was known for his good relationship with Sparta and for opposing reforms such as had just been passed, was ostracized.

It is important to note that the preceding paragraph is one possible interpretation of a few pieces of evidence. The evidence, by itself, does not give a full, or consistent, picture of events.

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(Section 7 of 9)

· The Reforms that Cimon Opposed ·

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Athens.

For a full description of the Court of the Areopagus (sometimes called the “Council of the Areopagus,” and sometimes simply “the Areopagus”, after the Hill of the Areopagus, where it convened) and the reforms of 462 BCE, see the entries under Court of the Areopagus and Ephialtes. What follows is a very condensed account, to illustrate the democratic changes to the government of Athens that Cimon opposed.

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Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
 
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Athens.

In the earliest stages of the Athenian government that our sources describe, the Court of the Areopagus was the most important governing body. It was also a very aristocratic body. Aristotle says that before the fifth century, “The Council of the Areopagus had the official function of guarding the laws, but actually it administered the greatest number and the most important of the affairs of state, inflicting penalties and fines upon offenders against public order without appeal; for the elections of the Archons went by birth and wealth, and the members of the Areopagus were appointed from them, owing to which this alone of the offices has remained even to the present day tenable for life” (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 3.6). In the time of Draco, who (according to legend) first gave Athens a code of laws, “The Council of the Areopagus was guardian of he laws, and kept a watch on the magistrates ( τὰς ἀρχάς ) to make them govern in accordance with the laws. A person unjustly treated might lay a complaint before the Council of the Areopagus, stating the law in contravention of which he was treated unjustly” (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 4.4). Both of these passages are rather vague as to the details of the functions of the Court of the Areopagus, but its importance is clear.

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Aristotle (Aristot. Pol.).
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
 
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Athens.
Salamis.
Peloponnese.

As Athens became gradually more democratic, in the years leading up to the Persian Wars (c. 481-479 BCE: source OHCW), the Areopagus seems to have lost some of its authority. Aristotle says in his Politics that Solon—the partly legendary, partly historical Athenian lawgiver of the early 6th century BCE (source: OCD3)—reformed the Athenian constitution by mixing democratic elements (the law-courts), aristocratic elements (the elected offices) and oligarchic elements (the Council of the Areopagus) (Aristot. Pol. 1273b). However, during the chaos of the Persian invasion in 480 BCE, the Council of the Areopagus took a leading role in organizing, and financing, the evacuation of all Athenians to Salamis and the Peloponnese, which raised the body’s status considerably (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 23.1).

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Aristotle (Aristot. Pol.).
 
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Salamis.
Athens.

While the evacuation of Athens raised the prestige of the Areopagus, the ensuing battle in the sea by Salamis may have helped bring about its later fall from power. The victory at Salamis was won by Athens’ fleet, which was manned by the general population who may have assumed that their role in the defense of Athens entitled them to a greater role in the city’s governance. Aristotle explicitly contrasts this “naval crowd” with the Council of the Areopagus: “…as for example the Council of the Areopagus having risen in reputation during the Persian Wars was believed to have made the constitution more rigid, and then again the naval multitude, having been the cause of the victory off Salamis and thereby of the leadership of Athens due to her power at sea, made the democracy stronger” ( οἷον ἐν Ἀρείῳ πάγῳ βουλὴ εὐδοκιμήσασα ἐν τοῖς Μηδικοῖς ἔδοξε συντονωτέραν ποιῆσαι τὴν πολιτείαν, καὶ πάλιν ναυτικὸς ὄχλος γενόμενος αἴτιος τῆς περὶ Σαλαμῖνα νίκης καὶ διὰ ταύτης τῆς ἡγεμονίας διὰ τὴν κατὰ θάλατταν δύναμιν τὴν δημοκρατίαν ἰσχυροτέραν ἐποίησεν ) (Aristot. Pol. 1304a 20).

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Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
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Persia.
Macedonia.

In the years following the Persian Wars, we know of two events, particularly, that may have motivated the advocates of democracy to try to limit the authority of the Council of the Areopagus. First, Themistocles, who was a leader of those who favored democracy (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 28.2; Plut. Cim. 5.4; Plut. Cim. 10.6), was brought to trial before the Council of the Areopagus on charges that he had improper dealings with Persia (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 25.3). Second, Cimon, who as we have seen was an opponent of democratic reforms (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 28.2; Plut. Cim. 5.4; Plut. Cim. 10.6), was acquitted by the Areopagus when he was charged with failing to invade Macedonia (Plut. Cim. 15.1-2; Plut. Cim. 10.7).

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Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
Plutarch (Plut. Per.).
 
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Sparta.

The ancient sources are in agreement that in 462 BCE Cimon was the principle opponent of reform to the powers of the Council of the Areopagus (see, for example Aristot. Ath. Pol. 26.1; Plut. Per. 9.4; Plut. Cim. 15.1; source for date: OCD3). The sources do not agree, however, as to who initiated that reform. Plutarch says that it was Ephialtes who, “broke down the power of the Council of the Areopagus” (Plut. Per. 7.6). At one point in the Constitution of the Athenians Aristotle says “But as the population increased, Ephialtes son of Sophonides, having become head of the People and having the reputation of being incorruptible and just in regard to the constitution, attacked the Council of the Areopagus” (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 25.1). But elsewhere in the same work he says that the reform was organized by Ephialtes and Themistocles (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 25.3), and elsewhere still, he mentions Pericles attacking the Council of the Areopagus (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 27.1). Plutarch also mentions Pericles at Plut. Per. 9.3. We should probably conclude, although cautiously, that Ephialtes was the principle reformer, but that he acted with the advice and support of Pericles. Ephialtes is the name most often associated with the reforms, and the following passage from Plutarch suggests that, while Pericles was a leader of the democratic movement, it was Ephialtes who enacted this particular reform: “For this reason all the more did Pericles, strong in the affections of the people, lead a successful party against the Council of the Areopagus. Not only was the Council robbed of most of its jurisdiction by Ephialtes, but Cimon also, on the charge of being a lover of Sparta and a hater of the people, was ostracized.” (Plut. Per. 9.4).

Read about the evidence
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
Plutarch (Plut. Per.).
Lysias (Lys. 7).
Demosthenes (Dem. 23).
Apollodorus (Dem. 59).
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).

What were the reforms? They are discussed at length in the articles on Ephialtes and on the Court of the Areopagus, but they can be summarized briefly here. Plutarch says that the Council of the Areopagus lost jurisdiction over almost all kriseis, “judgements” ( κρίσεις ) (Plut. Cim. 15.2; Plut. Per. 9.5). Aristotle is vague, saying that the Council of the Areopagus was “deprived of superintendence of affairs” ( ἀπεστερήθη τῆς ἐπιμελείας ) (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 26.1). Our best evidence for what authority remained in the hands of the Council of the Areopagus comes from subsequent trials that appeared before it. These include trials for homicide, assault and battery, certain religious offenses, and arson (Lys. 7.22; Dem. 23.22; Dem. 59.79; Aristot. Ath. Pol. 57.3; Aristot. Ath. Pol. 60.2).

Read about the evidence
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).

Immediately after describing the reform of the Court of the Areopagus, Aristotle mentions that Pericles first introduced pay for citizens who served on juries in the court of the Heliaia (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 27.2). This might indicate that, with many kinds of court cases no longer appearing before the Areopagus, there was greater need for citizen jurors.

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(Section 8 of 9)

· Cimon’s Last Years and Death ·

Read about the evidence
Andocides (Andoc. 4).
Andocides (Andoc. 3).
Plutarch (Plut. Per.).
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
 
Plot on a Map
Sparta.
Athens.
Tanagra.

Cimon had been ostracized in 462, which meant that he was exiled from Athens for ten years (Plut. Cim. 17.2; Andoc. 4.33; Andoc. 3.3; Plut. Per. 9.4). In 458 BCE, however, when Sparta and Athens were at war and facing each other for battle at Tanagra, Cimon volunteered himself to fight for the city. The Athenians refused his services, but when his tribe, the Oeneidae, fought well (though they died to the last man), the Athenians had a change of heart, and Pericles himself persuaded them to bring Cimon back from exile (Plut. Cim. 17.3-6; source for date: OCD3).

Read about the evidence
Thucydides (Thuc.).
Aeschines (Aeschin. 2).
Andocides (Andoc. 3).
 
Plot on a Map
Athens.
Sparta.

Around 450 BCE, Cimon negotiated a treaty between Athens and Sparta, thus (temporarily) bringing an end to the war (Thuc. 1.112.1; see also the comments at Aeschin. 2.172 and Andoc. 3.3, which are not consistent).

Read about the evidence
Plutarch (Plut. Cim.).
Thucydides (Thuc.).
 
Plot on a Map
Egypt.
Citium.

Cimon’s last years saw him return to the calling in which he had his greatest success, leading Athenian warships against Persian enemies. He led an Athenian military expedition to fight against the Persians in Egypt (Plut. Cim. 18.1-7). He died at Citium, either from an illness or from a wound (Plut. Cim. 19.1; Thuc. 1.112.4).

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(Section 9 of 9)

· Secondary Works Cited ·

  1. John Boardman, Jasper Griffin, Oswyn Murray, Oxford History of the Classical World (Oxford, 1986) [OHCW].
  2. S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth edd., The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd Edition (Oxford, 1996) [OCD3].
  3. P.J. Rhodes, Commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia (Oxford, 1993).

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