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UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

thing was open and free, even to people of the poorest class. He was,

however, a soldier rather than a statesman, and possessed but little

taste for literature and art.

During his leadership occurred the revolt of Naxos against the

Confederacy of Delos. In B. C. 466, this island renounced the compact and

took up arms, but the insurrection was quickly suppressed by Cimon, and

the Naxians were obliged to resume their tributary relations to Athens.

Soon afterwards the allied squadron sailed to the coast of Asia Minor,

and gained at the mouth of the river Eurymedon a great victory over the

fleet and army of the Persians. Thus by means of their naval superiority

did the Athenians establish on a still firmer foundation their supremacy

over the members of the confederacy.

In the next year after the reduction of Naxos, the government of Athens,

then pursuing a policy of colonization, was opposed in making a

settlement by the people of Thasos, and this island was subjected to a

blockade and siege. Before the same was concluded, the Thasians sent to

Sparta and requested that state to make a diversion in their favor by an

invasion of Attica. This proposition, base as it was, was about to be

accepted by the Lacedaemonians when they were prevented by a series of

calamities which brought the state to the lowest ebb of fortune. First

came a violent earthquake, which laid the city in ruins and killed twenty

thousand of the inhabitants. Hard after this followed a revolt of the

Helots, who, believing that Poseidon had shaken down the stronghold of

their oppressors, rose with what weapons they could gather and began to

kill and burn. They were joined by the Messenians, who, through

generations of hatred, awaited an opportunity to be revenged. When the

motley crew of insurrectionists were beaten back from Laconia, they shut

themselves up in the old fortress of Ithome and were besieged.

The Spartans, having little skill in taking fortified towns, sent for the

Athenians to help them, although at this very time they were engaged with

the Thasians in a perfidious scheme to invade Attica. Athens responded to

the call, and sent down a large force to aid in the reduction of Ithome;

but the Spartans, unable to conceal their spleen, soon dismissed them

with contempt and carried on the siege alone. The troops had been sent

into Messenia through the influence of Cimon, an avowed friend of the

Spartans, and their dismissal was so flagrant an insult as to break down

Cimon's party and put the conduct of affairs into the hands of the

democrats. The latter were now under the leadership of a young man, who,

as a politician and statesman, was destined soon to surpass all his

predecessors-Pericles, the orator and scholar.

In the Athenian government, as it was now constituted, the venerable

court of Areopagus was the last hold of the old oligarchic party. Its

right to exercise a general supervision over the citizens as it respected

their manners and vocations was so exceedingly undemocratic as to be

borne with extreme impatience by the progressive element in Athenian

politics. Even Aristides, strongly conservative as he was, had consented,

in obedience to the popular demand, that the membership of the court

should no longer be limited to the Eupatridae, or First Estate; but this

concession was not enough, and Pericles succeeded in striking at the

foundations of privilege by making the members of the court to be chosen

by lot. Other innovations followed, until not only this august body of

ancient Greece, but also the Senate of Five Hundred, was reduced to a

mere specter of its former self. Finally, the tables of the laws of Solon

were brought down from the Acropolis and deposited in the market- place,

as if to say that henceforth the powers of the Athenian commonwealth were

to be exercised directly by the people.

These measures-amounting to a revolution-were not accomplished but with

an excess of party strife. Ephialtes, the friend of Pericles, by whose

efforts the Solonian tablets had been brought down to the market square,

was assassinated. Cimon was ostracized for ten years. The oligarchic

party went down in ruins, and the leadership of Pericles was firmly

established.

The new statesman belonged to the school of Themistocles. His policy

looked to the