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The narrative of H. suggests, though it does not assert, that this was the first return of Aristides to his country after his ostracism, which took place at the time of Themistocles' increase of the fleet (Ath. Pol. 22) in 483-482, or a little before (484-483, Jerome, Eusebius). But it appears that the general return of exiles must be placed in the archonship of Hypsichides, i. e. before June 480 (Ath. Pol. 22), though Plutarch (Arist. 8) makes it synchronize with Xerxes' march through Thessaly and Boeotia (July-August). Again, Xanthippus, who had also been ostracized, returned before the evacuation of Attica (Plut. Cato maj. 5; Philoch, fr. 84, F. H. G. i. 397). Finally, in the capture of Psyttaleia, Aristides acts as general in command of a large force of Attic hoplites, i. e. appears to be one of the strategi (ch. 95 n.). If so, he must have been sent to Aegina on some mission, perhaps to take Athenian refugees thither (Grundy, p. 390), or to fetch the Aeacidae thence (Bury, Cl. Rev. x. 414 f.). The objection that while Aristides reached Salamis overnight, the trireme with the Aeacidae is not reported to have arrived till next morning (viii. 83), is parried by Burrows' remark (Cl. Rev. xi. 258) that Aristides did not arrive till after midnight (viii. 76, 81), so that the sailors would have already turned in, and so would not welcome the Aeacidae till daybreak. Nor is it easy to see how any ship could have evaded the Persian blockade after Aristides. The objections remain that the trireme which fetched the Aeacidae must surely have been Aeginetan (viii. 64, 83, 84), and that, had Aristides been commissioned to escort the Aeacidae, H. would have known and mentioned so interesting a fact. With this character of Aristides cf. Plut. Arist. 3, where the people in the theatre apply to him the line of Aeschylus about Amphiaraus (Sept. c. Theb. 592) “οὐ γὰρ δοκεῖν ἄριστος ἀλλ᾽ εἶναι θέλει”, and Timocreon, fr. 1 ap. Plut. Them. 21 “ἀλλ᾽ εἰ τύγε Παυσανίαν ἢ καὶ τύγε Ξάνθιππον αἰνέεις ι ἢ τύγε Λευτυχίδαν, ἐγὼ δ᾽ Ἀριστείδαν ἐπαινέω ι ἄνδρ᾽ ἱερᾶν ἀπ᾽ Ἀθανᾶν ι ἐλθεῖν ἕνα λῷστον: ἐπεὶ Θεμιστοκλῆ ἤχθαιρε Λατὼ ι ψεύσταν, ἄδικον, προδόταν, ὃς Τιμοκρέοντα ξεῖνον ἔοντ̓ ι ἀργυρίοισι σκυβαλικοῖσι πεισθεὶς οὐ κατᾶγεν εἰς πατρίδ̓ Ιάλυσον”.
στὰς ἐπί: not ‘appearing before’ (as in iii. 46. 1), but ‘standing at the doors of’, since he calls Themistocles out (cf. ἐξῆλθε, § 2). Probably only the commander-in-chief of Athens, Themistocles (vii. 173. 2; viii. 4, 19, 61), would have the right to attend the council.
αὐτόπτης. The new fact hitherto unknown to which Aristides can bear witness, is the complete envelopment of the Greeks by the Persian squadron sent round Salamis, blocking retreat to the west (cf. Appendix XXI. 5). The advance of the main body to block the eastern straits could hardly have escaped notice.
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