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popular vote for a period of ten years any one who might be considered

dangerous to the state. The method was this. If the Senate and Ecclesia

should first decide that the state was menaced by a citizen, the question

was submitted to the people. Each citizen who desired to vote wrote the

name of the person whom he wished to have banished on an ostracon, or

oyster-shell, and dropped it into the urn. If, when the shells were

counted, it was found that six thousand votes had been cast against any

person, the measure was carried as to him. No special charge need be

preferred against the person considered dangerous. He was allowed no

opportunity of trial or defense. The only cheering symptom of his case

was that he might return without serious disparagement at the end of his

term of condemnation, or might be recalled at any time by the same power

which had condemned him to banishment. None the less, the abuses of such

an arbitrary and extraordinary system were fewer than might have been

expected. As a matter of fact, it was not easy to get six thousand free

citizens to vote for the exile of another free citizen unless they

thought that there were good grounds to suspect his patriotism.

The constitution proposed by Clisthenes greatly heightened his reputation

with his countrymen. His rival, Isagoras, was driven to the unwise

extreme of inviting foreign influence to counteract what he himself could

not successfully oppose. So he sent word to the Spartan king Cleomenes

that one of the accursed family of the Alcmaeonidae was master of Athens,

and invoking his aid to secure the expulsion of Clisthenes. The Spartan

accepted the invitation and marched a force into Attica. But Clisthenes,

seeing himself the cause of trouble to his country, retired from Athens

before the arrival of Cleomenes. The latter, however, attempted to undo

the new constitution. He reduced the Senate to three hundred men, and

then expelled seven hundred families of those who were the principal

supporters of the recent statutes. These proceedings so angered the

people that they took up arms, drove Cleomenes and Isagoras into the

citadel, and compelled them to surrender. Clisthenes came back on the

rising tide, and the Spartan king was allowed to retire in disgrace.

Isagoras went into exile, but many of his leading adherents in Athens

were put to death. The reaction was so strong as to secure the complete

establishment of the new constitution as the fundamental law of the


It was not to be expected that Sparta would tamely bear the recent

humiliation of her king by the Athenian democrats. Clisthenes clearly

foresaw that Cleomenes would renew the conflict at the earliest

practicable moment. He accordingly determined to strengthen himself by a

foreign alliance. Messengers were sent to Tissaphernes, satrap of Lydia,

requesting his support for Athens in the expected struggle with the

Spartans. The message was kindly received by the Persian governor, who

returned answer that if the Athenians would send earth and water as

tokens of submission to the Great King he would defend them against their

enemies. The messengers accepted the terms, but on their return to Athens

the conditions were repudiated with proper disgust.

Meanwhile, Cleomenes called together his allies from Peloponnesus, and

marched a large force into Attica to Eulusis. The Spartan kept to himself

as long as possible the destination of the expedition, and when he was

finally obliged to divulge his purpose the Corinthians refused to

proceed. His colleague Demaratus also opposed the further prosecution of

the campaign. So the whole movement fell to pieces. Unfortunately for

themselves, the Thebans and Chalcidians of Euboea had been induced by

Cleomenes to join in the movement against Athens. That city now found

herself free to punish the defection of those from whom she had a right

to expect friendship and had received enmity. She accordingly sent a

force against Thebes and inflicted upon her a severe defeat. Thence

marching into Euboea, the Chalcidians were still more severely dealt

with. Their estates were confiscated and divided among four thousand of

the Athenian poor.

These marked successes of Athens so fired the jealousy of the Spartans

that they