Now ostracism involved legally a period of ten years' banishment. But in the meanwhile1
the Lacedaemonians invaded the district of Tanagra with a great army, and the Athenians straightway sallied out against them. So Cimon came back from his banishment and stationed himself with his tribesmen in line of battle, and determined by his deeds to rid himself of the charge of too great love for Sparta, in that he shared the perils of his fellow-citizens. But the friends of Pericles banded together and drove him from the ranks, on the ground that he was under sentence of banishment.
For which reason, it is thought, Pericles fought most sturdily in that battle, and was the most conspicuous of all in exposing himself to danger. And there fell in this battle all the friends of Cimon to a man, whom Pericles had accused with him of too great love for Sparta. Wherefore sore repentance fell upon the Athenians, and a longing desire for Cimon, defeated as they were on the confines of Attica, and expecting as they did a grievous war with the coming of spring.
So then Pericles, perceiving this, hesitated not to gratify the desires of the multitude, but wrote with his own hand the decree which recalled the man. Whereupon Cimon came back from banishment and made peace2
between the cities. For the Lacedaemonians were as kindly disposed towards him as they were full of hatred towards Pericles and the other popular leaders.
Some, however, say that the decree for the restoration of Cimon was not drafted by Pericles until a secret compact had been made between them, through the agency of Elpinice, Cimon's sister, to the effect that Cimon should sail out with a fleet of two hundred ships and have command in foreign parts, attempting to subdue the territory of the King, while Pericles should have supreme power in the city.
And it was thought that before this, too, Elpinice had rendered Pericles more lenient towards Cimon, when he stood his trial on the capital charge of treason.3
Pericles was at that time one of the committee of prosecution appointed by the people, and on Elpinice's coming to him and supplicating him, said to her with a smile:
‘Elpinice, thou art an old woman, thou art an old woman, to attempt such tasks.’ However, he made only one speech, by way of formally executing his commission, and in the end did the least harm to Cimon of all his accusers.
How, then, can one put trust in Idomeneus, who accuses Pericles of assassinating the popular leader Ephialtes, though he was his friend and a partner in his political program, out of mere jealousy and envy of his reputation? These charges he has raked up from some source or other and hurled them, as if so much venom, against one who was perhaps not in all points irreproachable, but who had a noble disposition and an ambitious spirit, wherein no such savage and bestial feelings can have their abode.
As for Ephialtes, who was a terror to the oligarchs and inexorable in exacting accounts from those who wronged the people, and in prosecuting them, his enemies laid plots against him, and had him slain secretly by Aristodicus of Tanagra, as Aristotle says.4
As for Cimon, he died on his campaign in Cyprus.5