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Well then, as soon as Cimon returned from exile he stopped the war and reconciled the rival cities. After peace was made,1 since he saw that the Athenians were unable to keep quiet, but wished to be on the move and to wax great by means of military expeditions; also because he wished that they should not exasperate the Hellenes generally, nor by hovering around the islands and the Peloponnesus with a large fleet bring down upon the city charges of intestine war, and initial complaints from the allies, he manned two hundred triremes. [2] His design was to make another expedition with them against Egypt and Cyprus. He wished to keep the Athenians in constant training by their struggles with Barbarians, and to give them the legitimate benefits of importing into Hellas the wealth taken from their natural foes.

All things were now ready and the soldiery on the point of embarking, when Cimon had a dream. [3] He thought an angry bitch was baying at him, and that mingled with its baying it uttered a human voice, saying:—

Go thy way, for a friend shalt thou be both to me
and my puppies.
The vision being hard of interpretation, Astyphilus of Posidonia, an inspired man and an intimate of Cimon's, told him that it signified his death. He analyzed the vision thus: a dog is a foe of the man at whom it bays; to a foe, one cannot be a friend any better than by dying; the mixture of speech indicates that the enemy is the Mede, for the army of the Medes is a mixture of Hellenes and Barbarians. [4] After this vision, when Cimon had sacrificed to Dionysus and the seer was cutting up the victim, swarms of ants took the blood as it congealed, brought it little by little to Cimon, and enveloped his great toe therewith, he being unconscious of their work for some time. Just about at the time when he noticed what they were doing, the ministrant came and showed him the liver of his victim without a head.

But since he could not get out of the expedition, he set sail, and after detailing sixty of his ships to go to Egypt, with the rest he made again for Cyprus. [5] After defeating at sea the royal armament of Phoenician and Cilician ships, he won over the cities round about, and then lay threatening the royal enterprise in Egypt, and not in any trifling fashion,—nay, he had in mind the dissolution of the King's entire supremacy, and all the more because he learned that the reputation and power of Themistocles were great among the Barbarians, who had promised the King that when the Hellenic war was set on foot he would take command of it. [6] At any rate, it is said that it was most of all due to Themistocles' despair of his Hellenic undertakings, since he could not eclipse the good fortune and valor of Cimon, that he took his own life.2

But Cimon, while he was projecting vast conflicts and holding his naval forces in the vicinity of Cyprus, sent men to the shrine of Ammon to get oracular answer from the god to some secret question. [7] No one knows what they were sent to ask, nor did the god vouchsafe them any response, but as soon as the enquirers drew nigh, he bade them depart, saying that Cimon himself was already with him. On hearing this, the enquirers went down to the sea-coast, and when they reached the camp of the Hellenes, which was at that time on the confines of Egypt, they learned that Cimon was dead, and on counting the days back to the utterance of the oracle, they found that it was their commander's death which had been darkly intimated, since he was already with the gods.

1 450 B.C.

2 Cf. Plut. Them. 31.4

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