All other traits of Cimon's character were admirable and noble. Neither in daring was he inferior to Miltiades, nor in sagacity to Themistocles, and it is admitted that he was a juster man than either, and that while not one whit behind them in the good qualities of a soldier, he was inconceivably their superior in those of a statesman, even when he was still young and untried in war.
When the Medes made their invasion, and Themistocles was trying to persuade the people to give up their city, abandon their country, make a stand with their fleet off Salamis, and fight the issue at sea, most men were terrified at the boldness of the scheme; but lo! Cimon was first to act, and with a gay mien led a procession of his companions through the Cerameicus up to the Acropolis, to dedicate to the goddess there the horse's bridle which he carried in his hands, signifying thus that what the city needed then was not knightly prowess but sea-fighters.
After he had dedicated his bridle, he took one of the shields which were hung up about the temple, addressed his prayers to the goddess, and went down to the sea, whereat many were first made to take heart.
He was also of no mean presence, as Ion the poet says, but tall and stately, with an abundant and curly head of hair. And since he displayed brilliant and heroic qualities in the actual struggle at Salamis,1
he soon acquired reputation and good will in the city. Many thronged to him and besought him to purpose and perform at once what would be worthy of Marathon.
So when he entered politics the people gladly welcomed him, and promoted him, since they were full to surfeit of Themistocles, to the highest honors and offices in the city, for he was engaging and attractive to the common folk by reason of his gentleness and artlessness. But it was Aristides, son of Lysimachus, who more than any one else furthered his career, for he saw the fine features of his character, and made him, as it were, a foil to the cleverness and daring of Themistocles.