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[316] for then it was only in matters of ordinary routine and in affairs confined to the city that they damaged their country-men. In the meantime, however, the city waxed powerful and seized the empire of the Hellenes, and our fathers,1 growing more self-assured than was meet for them, began to look with disfavor on those good men and true who had made Athens great, envying them their power, and to crave instead men who were base-born and full of insolence,

1 From the time of the “reforms” of Ephialtes (see Isoc. 7.50: τοῖς ὀλίγῳ πρὸ ἡμῶν), and especially after the death of Pericles. Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 28) states: “So long, however, as Pericles was leader of the people, things went tolerably well with the State; but when he was dead there was a great change for the worse. Then for the first time did the people choose a leader who was of no reputation among the people of good standing, whereas up to this time men of good standing were always found as leaders of the democracy” (Kenyon's translation). Aristotle goes on to say that Pericles was followed by such leaders as Cleon, the tanner—insolent demagogues who vied with each other in pandering to the mob.

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  • Cross-references in notes to this page (3):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 28
    • Isocrates, Areopagiticus, 50
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