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When the tyranny had been put down, there was a period of faction-strife between Isagoras son of Teisander, who was a friend of the tyrants, and Cleisthenes, who belonged to the family of the Alcmaeonidae. Cleisthenes having got the worst of it in the Comradeships1 enlisted the people on his side, offering to hand over the government to the multitude. [2] Isagoras began to lose power, so he again called in the aid of Cleomenes, who was a great friend of his, and jointly persuaded him to drive out the curse,2 because the Alcmaeonidae were reputed to be a family that was under a curse. [3] Cleisthenes secretly withdrew, and Cleomenes with a few troops proceeded to expel as accursed seven hundred Athenian households; and having accomplished this he tried to put down the Council and set up Isagoras and three hundred of his friends with him in sovereign power over the state. But the Council resisted, and the multitude banded together, so the forces of Cleomenes and Isagoras took refuge in the Acropolis, and the people invested it and laid siege to it for two days. On the third day they let Cleomenes and his comrades go away under a truce, and sent for Cleisthenes and the other exiles to come back. [4] The people having taken control of affairs, Cleisthenes was their leader and was head of the people. For almost the chief initiative in the expulsion of the tyrants was taken by the Alcmaeonids, and they accomplished most of it by party faction. [5] And even before the Alcmaeonids Cedon had attacked the tyrants, owing to which people also sang in his honor in their catches:“Now fill to Cedon, boy! let's drink him too,
If duty bids us toast good men and true.


1 Political clubs with anti-democratic leanings.

2 Cf. ch. i.

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  • Commentary references to this page (4):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 5.66
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 5.69
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 5.70
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 5.72
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