After he had given aid to the Lacedaemonians, he was going back home with his forces through the Isthmus of Corinth, when Lachartus upbraided him for having introduced his army before he had conferred with the citizens.
‘People who knock at doors,’ said he,
‘do not go in before the owner bids them’; to which Cimon replied,
‘And yet you Corinthians, O Lachartus, did not so much as knock at the gates of Cleonae and Megara, but hewed them down and forced your way in under arms, demanding that everything be opened up to the stronger.’ Such was his boldness of speech to the Corinthian in an emergency, and he passed on through with his forces.
Once more the Lacedaemonians summoned the Athenians to come to their aid against the Messenians and Helots in Ithome, and the Athenians went, but their dashing boldness awakened fear, and they were singled out from all the allies and sent off as dangerous conspirators. They came back home in a rage, and at once took open measures of hostility against the Laconizers, and above all against Cimon. Laying hold of a trifling pretext, they ostracised him for ten years.1
That was the period decreed in all cases of ostracism.
It was during this period that the Lacedaemonians, after freeing the Delphians from the Phocians, encamped at Tanagra on their march back home.2
Here the Athenians confronted them, bent on fighting their issue out, and here Cimon came in arms, to join his own Oeneid tribe, eager to share with his fellow-citizens in repelling the Lacedaemonians.
But the Council of the Five Hundred learned of this and was filled with fear, since Cimon's foes accused him of wishing to throw the ranks into confusion, and then lead the Lacedaemonians in an attack upon the city; so they forbade the generals to receive the man. As he went away he besought Euthippus of Anaphlystus and his other comrades, all who were specially charged with laconizing, to fight sturdily against the enemy, and by their deeds of valor to dissipate the charge which their countrymen laid at their door.
They took his armour and set it in the midst of their company, supported one another ardently in the fight, and fell, to the number of one hundred, leaving behind them among the Athenians a great and yearning sense of their loss, and sorrow for the unjust charges made against them. For this reason the Athenians did not long abide by their displeasure against Cimon, partly because, as was natural, they remembered his benefits, and partly because the turn of events favoured his cause.
For they were defeated at Tanagra in a great battle, and expected that in the following spring-time an armed force of Peloponnesians would come against them, and so they recalled Cimon from his exile. The decree which provided for his return was formally proposed by Pericles. To such a degree in those days were dissensions based on political differences of opinion, while personal feelings were moderate, and easily recalled into conformity with the public weal. Even ambition, that master passion, paid deference to the country's welfare.