Then the aristocrats, aware even some time before this that Pericles was already become the greatest citizen, but wishing nevertheless to have some one in the city who should stand up against him and blunt the edge of his power, that it might not be an out and out monarchy, put forward Thucydides of Alopece, a discreet man and a relative of Cimon, to oppose him.
He, being less of a warrior than Cimon, and more of a forensic speaker and statesman, by keeping watch and ward in the city, and by wrestling bouts with Pericles on the bema, soon brought the administration into even poise.
He would not suffer the party of the
‘Good and True,’ as they called themselves, to be scattered up and down and blended with the populace, as heretofore, the weight of their character being thus obscured by numbers, but by culling them out and assembling them into one body, he made their collective influence, thus become weighty, as it were a counterpoise in the balance.
Now there had been from the beginning a sort of seam hidden beneath the surface of affairs, as in a piece of iron, which faintly indicated a divergence between the popular and the aristocratic programme; but the emulous ambition of these two men cut a deep gash in the state, and caused one section of it to be called the
‘Demos,’ or the People, and the other the
‘Oligoi,’ or the Few.
At this time, therefore, particularly, Pericles gave the reins to the people, and made his policy one of pleasing them, ever devising some sort of a pageant in the town for the masses, or a feast, or a procession,
‘amusing them like children with not uncouth delights,’
and sending out sixty triremes annually, on which large numbers of the citizens sailed about for eight months under pay, practising at the same time and acquiring the art of seamanship.
In addition to this, he despatched a thousand settlers to the Chersonesus,2
and five hundred to Naxos, and to Andros half that number, and a thousand to Thrace to settle with the Bisaltae, and others to Italy, when the site of Sybaris was settled,3
which they named Thurii. All this he did by way of lightening the city of its mob of lazy and idle busybodies, rectifying the embarrassments of the poorer people, and giving the allies for neighbors an imposing garrison which should prevent rebellion.