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These reforms made the constitution much more democratic than that of Solon; for it had come about that the tyranny had obliterated the laws of Solon by disuse, and Cleisthenes aiming at the multitude had instituted other new ones, including the enactment of the law about ostracism. [2] First of all, in the fifth year1 after these enactments, in the archonship of Hermocreon, they instituted the oath of induction for the Council of Five Hundred that is still in use. Next they began to elect the Generals by tribes, one from each tribe, while the whole army was under the command of the War-lord. [3] Eleven years afterwards came their victory in the battle of Marathon; and in the archonship of Phaenippus, two years after the victory, the people being now in high courage, they put in force for the first time the law about ostracism, which had been enacted owing to the suspicion felt against the men in the positions of power because Peisistratus when leader of the people and general set himself up as tyrant. [4] The first person banished by ostracism was one of his relatives, Hipparchus son of Charmus of the deme of Collytus, the desire to banish whom had been Cleisthenes' principal motive in making the law. For the Athenians permitted all friends of the tyrants that had not taken part with them in their offences during the disorders to dwell in the city, —in this the customary mildness of the people was displayed; and Hipparchus was the leader and chief of these persons. [5] But directly afterwards, in the next year, in the archonship of Telesinus, they elected the Nine Archons by lot, tribe by tribe, from a preliminary list of five hundred chosen by the demesmen: this was the date of the first election on these lines, after the tyranny, the previous Archons having all been elected by vote. And Megacles son of Hippocrates of the deme Alopeke was ostracized. [6] For three years they went on ostracizing the friends of the tyrants, at whom the legislation had been aimed, but afterwards in the fourth year it was also used to remove any other person who seemed to be too great; the first person unconnected with the tyranny to be ostracized was Xanthippus son of Ariphron. [7] Two years later, in the archonship of Nicomedes, in consequence of the discovery of the mines at Maronea,2 the working of which had given the state a profit of a hundred talents, the advice was given by some persons that the money should be distributed among the people; but Themistocles prevented this, not saying what use he would make of the money, but recommending that it should be lent to the hundred richest Athenians, each receiving a talent, so that if they should spend it in a satisfactory manner, the state would have the advantage, but if they did not, the state should call in the money from the borrowers. On these terms the money was put at his disposal, and he used it to get a fleet of a hundred triremes built, each of the hundred borrowers having one ship built, and with these they fought the naval battle at Salamis against the barbarians. And it was during this period that Aresteides son of Lysimachus was ostracized. [8] Three years later in the archonship of Hypsechides they allowed all the persons ostracized to return, because of the expedition of Xerxes; and they fixed a boundary thenceforward for persons ostracized, prohibiting them from living3 within a line drawn from Geraestus4 to Scyllaeum5 under penalty of absolute loss of citizenship.

1 i.e. in 504 B.C.; but if Marathon (490 B.C.) was eleven years later (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 3), perhaps the Greek should be altered here to give 'in the eighth year after.'

2 Possibly five miles north of Cape Sunium.

3 The MS. gives 'enacting that they must live.'

4 The S. point of Euboea.

5 The S.E. point of Argolis.

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hide References (14 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (9):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 5.103
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 6.103
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 6.104
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 6.109
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 6.93
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 7.143
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 7.144
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 8.131
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 8.79
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (4):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 3
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