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At this date, therefore, the state had advanced to this point, growing by slow stages with the growth of the democracy; but after the Persian Wars the Council on the Areopagus became powerful again, and carried on the administration, having gained the leadership by no definite resolution but owing to its having been the cause of the naval battle of Salamis. For the Generals had been reduced to utter despair by the situation and had made a proclamation that every man should see to his own safety; but the Council provided a fund and distributed eight drachmas a head and got them to man the ships. [2] For this reason, therefore, the Generals gave place to the Council in esteem. And Athens was well governed in these periods; for during this time it occurred that the people practised military duties and won high esteem among the Greeks and gained the supremacy of the sea against the will of the Lacedaemonians. [3] The heads of the People1 in these periods were Aristeides son of Lysimachus and Themistocles son of Neocles, the latter practising to be skillful in military pursuits, and the former in politics,2 and to excel his contemporaries in justice; hence the Athenians employed the one as general and the other as counsellor. [4] So the rebuilding of the walls3 was directed by both these statesmen jointly, although they were at variance with one another; but the secession of the Ionian states from the Lacedaemonian alliance was promoted by Aristeides, who seized the opportunity when the Lacedaemonians were discredited because of Pausanias. [5] Hence it was Aristeides who assessed the tributes of the allied states on the first occasion, two years after the naval battle of Salamis, in the archonship of Timosthenes, and who administered the oaths to the Ionians when they swore to have the same enemies and friends, ratifying their oaths by letting the lumps of iron sink to the bottom out at sea.4

1 See 2.3 n.

2 The Greek should perhaps be altered to give 'the latter practising military pursuits, and the former esteemed to be skillful in politics.'

3 The city fortifications were rebuilt, the harbor of Peiraeus completed and the Long Walls built to link Peiraeus and Phalerum with the city.

4 The parties swore to keep the covenant until the iron appeared again on the surface, πρὶν τὸν μύδρον τοῦτον ἀναφῆναι Hdt. 1.165, and Hor. Epodes 16.25—“sed iuremus in haec: 'simul imis saxa renarint
vadis levata, ne redire sit nefas.'

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hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 1.165
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 8.3
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (2):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 2.3
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.165
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