Well then, Cimon was acquitted at this trial. And during the remainder of his political career, when he was at home, he mastered and constrained the people in its onsets upon the nobles, and in its efforts to wrest all office and power to itself; but when he sailed away again on military service,1
the populace got completely beyond control. They confounded the established political order of things and the ancestral practices which they had formerly observed,
and under the lead of Ephialtes they robbed the Council of the Areiopagus of all but a few of the cases in its jurisdiction. They made themselves masters of the courts of justice, and plunged the city into unmitigated democracy, Pericles being now a man of power and espousing the cause of the populace. And so when Cimon came back home, and in his indignation at the insults heaped upon the reverend council, tried to recall again its jurisdiction and to revive the aristocracy of the times of Cleisthenes, they banded together to denounce him, and tried to inflame the people against him,
renewing the old slanders about his sister and accusing him of being a Spartan sympathizer. It was to these calumnies that the famous and popular verses of Eupolis about Cimon had reference:—
He was not base, but fond of wine and full of sloth,
and oft he'ld sleep in Lacedaemon, far from home,
And leave his Elpinicé sleeping all alone.
But if, though full of sloth and given to tippling, he yet took so many cities and won so many victories, it is clear that had he been sober and mindful of his business, no Hellene either before or after him would have surpassed his exploits.