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Ephialtes’ Family and Character.

The Areopagus Before the Reforms..

→ The Reforms.

Political Background to Ephialtes’ Reforms: Cimon and Themistocles.

Political Background to Ephialtes’ Reforms: the People.

The Reforms Themselves.

The Death of Ephialtes.

Secondary Works Cited.

Index of Citations

General Index

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Christopher W. Blackwell, edition of January 27, 2003

page 5 of 10

· The Reforms ·

Read about the evidence
Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol.).
Plutarch (Plut. Per.).
Aristotle (Aristot. Pol.).
Diodorus (Diod.).
Plot on a Map

The ancient sources are not consistent regarding who was responsible for the reform of the Areopagus. Aristotle’s Constitution of the Athenians, for example, mentions Ephialtes alone at one point (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 25.1), Ephialtes and Themistocles elsewhere (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 25.3-4), and Pericles elsewhere (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 27.1). Plutarch also gives credit to Pericles (Plut. Per. 9.3), but his description of events helps straighten out the confusion and point to Ephialtes as the man responsible for the reforms themselves: “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 [emphasis added — CWB]). Elsewhere in his biography of Pericles, Plutarch refers to Ephialtes as the one “who broke down the power of the Council of the Areopagus” (Plut. Per. 7.6). According to Plutarch, then, Pericles may have been an important influence behind the events, but it was Ephialtes who actually brought about the reforms (see also Aristot. Pol. 1274a, which seems to agree with Plutarch’s version, and Diod. 11.77.6, which mentions Ephialtes only).

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