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First of all they removed Themistocles from Athens, employing against him what is called ostracism, an institution which was adopted in Athens after the overthrow of the tyranny of Peisistratus and his sons; and the law was as follows.1 [2] Each citizen wrote on a piece of pottery (ostracon) the name of the man who in his opinion had the greatest power to destroy the democracy; and the man who got the largest number of ostraca was obliged by the law to go into exile from his native land for a period of five years.2 [3] The Athenians, it appears, passed such a law, not for the purpose of punishing wrongdoing, but in order to lower through exile the presumption of men who had risen too high. Now Themistocles, having been ostracized in the manner we have described, fled as an exile from his native city to Argos. [4] But the Lacedaemonians, learning of this and considering that Fortune had given them a favourable moment to attack Themistocles, again dispatched ambassadors to Athens. These accused Themistocles of complicity in the treason of Pausanias, and asserted that his trial, since their crimes affected all Greece, should not be held privately among the Athenians alone but rather before the General Congress of the Greeks which, according to custom, was to meet at that time.3 [5]

And Themistocles, seeing that the Lacedaemonians were bent upon defaming and humbling the Athenian state, and that the Athenians were anxious to clear themselves of the charge against them, assumed that he would be turned over to the General Congress. [6] This body, he knew, made its decisions, not on the basis of justice, but out of favour to the Lacedaemonians, inferring this not only from its other actions but also from what it had done in making the awards for valour.4 For in that instance those who controlled the voting showed such jealousy of the Athenians that, although these had contributed more triremes than all the others who took part in the battle, they made them out to be no whit better than the rest of the Greeks. [7] These, then, were the reasons why Themistocles distrusted the members of the Congress. Furthermore, it was from the speech in his own defence which Themistocles had made in Athens on the former occasion that the Lacedaemonians had got the basis for the accusation they afterwards made. [8] For in that defence Themistocles had acknowledged that Pausanias had sent letters to him, urging him to share in the act of treason, and using this as the strongest piece of evidence in his behalf, he had established that Pausanias would not have urged him, unless he had opposed his first request.

1 The institution of ostracism was incorporated in one of the laws of Cleisthenes, and was passed in 507 B.C. but first used, according to Aristotle (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 22), twenty years later, "when the people had gained self-confidence." Professor T. Leslie Shear has kindly allowed me to see an as yet unpublished paper of his, "Ostracism and the Ostraka from the Agora," which he prepared in 1941. Whereas Carcopino for the second edition of his L'Ostracisme athénien (1935) had 62 examples of the ballots used in Athenian ostracophoria (the balloting), the collection from the Agora now totals 503, and in 1937 a well on the North Slope yielded an additional 191 pieces. There are names of persons who were never ostracized and of many persons who are otherwise unknown. The accuracy of Aristotle's statement that the institution was first used in 487 B.C. is borne out against Walker's theory (Camb. Anc. Hist. 4, p. 152) that there may well have been instances of its use before the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C.

2 The period was ten years (Diodorus has probably confused the Athenian institution with a similar one of Syracuse where the term of exile was five years (cp. chap. 87.1)), and a total of 6000 votes was required.

3 The ostracism of Themistocles took place in the period 472-470 B.C. (Walker in the Camb. Anc. Hist. 5, pp. 62 f.), and this attack on him by the Spartans a year or so later. Thucydides (Thuc. 1.135) states that he was to be recalled to Athens for trial, whether before the Assembly (so E. Meyer) or the Areopagus (Wilamowitz) is not clear. Modern writers generally reject Diodorus' account that his trial was to have been before the General Congress of the Hellenic League. It is not impossible, however, that such a suggestion was first made by the Spartans, but was not pressed when the Athenians offered to recall him to Athens for trial. Plutarch (Plut. Arist. 21) states that a Hellenic League to prosecute the war against the Persians, meeting annually, was established in 479. It is clear that Diodorus was thinking of the General Congress of this league and not of that of the Peloponnesian League (cp. J. A. O. Larsen in Class. Phil. 28 (1933), pp. 263-265).

4 Cp. chap. 27.2.

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