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By these means the people were provided with their food-supply. The constitution remained under the leadership of the Areopagites for about seventeen years after the Persian War, although it was being gradually modified. But as the population increased, Ephialtes son of Sophonides, having become head of the People1 and having the reputation of being incorruptible and just in regard to the constitution, attacked the Council. [2] First he made away with many of the Areopagites by bringing legal proceedings against them about their acts of administration; then in the archonship of Conon he stripped the Council of all its added powers which made it the safeguard of the constitution, and assigned some of them to the Five Hundred and others to the People and to the jury-courts. [3] For these acts of Ephialtes, Themistocles2 was partly responsible; he was a member of the Areopagus, but was destined to be put on trial for treasonable dealings with Persia. Themistocles desiring the Council to be destroyed used to tell Ephialtes that the Council was going to arrest him, while he told the Areopagites that he would give information about certain persons who were conspiring to destroy the constitution. And he used to take selected members of the Council to the place where Ephialtes resided to show them the people collecting there, and conversed with them seriously. [4] Ephialtes was dismayed when he saw this, and took his seat at the altar in only his shirt. Everybody was amazed at what had happened, and afterwards when the Council of Five Hundred assembled Ephialtes and Themistocles kept on denouncing the Areopagites, and again similarly at the meetings of the people, until they deprived them of their power. And also Ephialtes was actually made away with not long after, being craftily murdered by Aristodicus of Tanagra.

1 See Aristot. Ath. Pol. 3 n.

2 In Aristot. Pol. 2.12the place assigned here to Themistocles is taken by Pericles.

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    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 3
    • Aristotle, Politics, 2.1274a
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