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After this when Pericles advanced to the leadership of the people, having first distinguished himself when while still a young man he challenged the audits of Cimon who was a general, it came about that the constitution became still more democratic. For he took away some of the functions of the Areopagus, and he urged the state very strongly in the direction of naval power, which resulted in emboldening the multitude,1 who brought all the government more into their own hands. [2] Forty-eight years after the naval battle of Salamis, in the archonship of Pythodorus, the war against the Peloponnesians broke out, during which the people being locked up in the city, and becoming accustomed to earning pay on their military campaigns, came partly of their own will and partly against their will to the decision to administer the government themselves. Also Pericles first made service in the jury-courts a paid office, as a popular counter-measure against Cimon's wealth. [3] For as Cimon had an estate large enough for a tyrant, in the first place he discharged the general public services in a brilliant manner, and moreover he supplied maintenance to a number of the members of his deme; for anyone of the Laciadae who liked could come to his house every day and have a moderate supply, and also all his farms were unfenced, to enable anyone who liked to avail himself of the harvest. [4] So as Pericles' means were insufficient for this lavishness, he took the advice of Damonides of Oea (who was believed to suggest to Pericles most of his measures, owing to which they afterwards ostracized him), since he was getting the worst of it with his private resources, to give the multitude what was their own, and he instituted payment for the jury-courts; the result of which according to some critics was their deterioration, because ordinary persons always took more care than the respectable to cast lots for the duty. [5] Also it was after this that the organized bribery of juries began, Anytus having first shown the way to it after his command at Pylos2; for when he was brought to trial by certain persons for having lost Pylos he bribed the court and got off.

1 Cf. Aristot. Ath. Pol. 22.7, Aristot. Ath. Pol. 24.1.

2 Pylos (Navarino) on the W. coast of Peloponnesus, had been taken by Athens 425 B.C, but was retaken by Sparta 409 B.C. Anytus (see also Aristot. Ath. Pol. 34.3, one of the prosecutors of Socrates) was sent with 30 triremes to its relief, but owing to weather never got round Cape Malea.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 6.131
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 22.7
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 24.1
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 34.3
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