GREECE-THE ATHENIAN ASCENDENCY.
restore order among the Cyclades by putting down certain irresponsible
governors who had usurped authority during the Persian wars, he
compounded with several of the petty despots for money.
Meanwhile Cimon and Alcmaeon had become the leaders of what remained of
the old aristocratic party in Athens. They made no concealment of their
preferment for the constitution of Sparta over the too democratic
institutions of their own city. In this fact was laid the foundation of a
Lacedaemonian faction in the heart of Athens; and it was not long in
making itself felt, to the injury of the state. It will be remembered
that Pausanias had been deposed from the command of the allied fleet at
Byzantium on account of his too manifest intrigues with the Persians. The
party of Cimon was now instigated from Sparta to prefer the same charge
against Themistocles, and he was accordingly accused of being in
collusion with the court of Susa. This charge, however, could not be
sustained, but the manners and conduct of their leader had become so
distasteful to the Athenians that in a short time an appeal was made to
the ostracism and Themistocles was banished.
He went first to Argos, where he remained five years. Before the
expiration of that time, however, proofs were discovered of his being
implicated with Pausanias in a treasonable correspondence with Persia.
The Spartan leader after his downfall had returned to the service as a
private, had then lived in Asia Minor, had time and again been suspected
of disloyalty, had been recalled to Sparta, but not brought to trial on
account of the trepidation of the Ephors in the presence of the criminal.
By and by Pausanias dispatched a slave to bear a letter to Asia; but the
slave remembering that his fellows who had previously gone on such
missions had never returned, broke the seal and read how he himself was
to be killed as soon as the letter was delivered. He went in terror and
gave the missive to the Ephors. The latter thus obtained convincing
proofs of the guilt of Pausanias, and were about to arrest him when he
fled to the temple of Poseidon. Not daring to drag him from the altar
they ordered masons to build up the doors, and in this work the mother
came and laid the first stone. When the wall was built solid the roof was
removed and Pausanias was left to starve to death.
When in the agonies of death, however, his body was carried out lest it
should pollute the altar. His correspondence was rifled and letters were
found showing that Themistocles was also in the conspiracy to deliver
Greece to Persia. Sparta thereupon renewed her demand that the great
Athenian should be brought to trial. When about to be arrested, however,
Themistocles fled, first to the court of Admetus, king of the Molossians,
thence to Asia Minor, and thence to Artaxerxes at Susa. Here he became a
resident, in close confidence of the Persian king. By him, after a year,
the Greek was sent to Magnesia and given the revenues of that city for
sup- port-this with the understanding that the plans now matured for
delivering his country to Artaxerxes should be carried out. But in a
short time Themistocles died, nor was the suspicion wanting that he
killed himself in a fit of despair. Thus in utter disgrace perished the
heroes of Plataea and Salamis.
Aristides held out faithful to the end. He died four years after the
banishment of Themistocles, and such was his poverty that he was buried
at the public expense. Nevertheless he kept until the hour of his death
his hold upon the public confidence, and he was at that time Archon
eponymous of the city. His sterling virtues had served a better purpose
in the great issue of life than the brilliant talents of Themistocles or
the military genius of Miltiades. His reputation remained untarnished to
the last, and the historians of his country have transmitted his spotless
fame to an admiring posterity.
By the death of the great leader, Cimon was left in the lead of Athenian
politics. Although his antecedents placed him in the ranks of the old
oligarchic party, his manners, talents, and address rendered him popular
with the masses. He was a citizen of undoubted patriotism, and expended a
good part of his revenue in adorning the city. His own house was a public
resort, in which every