chapter  13
8 Pages

THE DEMOCRATIC REFORMS OF EPHIALTES AND PERICLES, 462/1–451/0

Themistocles’ condemnation c. 469/8 had deprived his faction, the Athenian ‘hawks’ (see Chapter 11), of a leader to pursue their twofold policy of opposition to Sparta and the advancement of democratic reform. The success of Cimon and the Athenian ‘doves’ in the first half of the 460s was decisive, which meant that his opponents had to bide their time until an opportunity should arise when they could offer an effective challenge to him and his policies. The destruction of the Nine Ways colony in 465 and the long, unglamorous siege of Thasos from 465-463 (Thucydides 1.100.2-1.101.3; AE1 p. 8) made Cimon less popular in the eyes of his fellow Athenians, and thus it is from this time that we can date the revival of the Athenian hawks and their plans for a full democracy. The leadership of this faction had fallen to Ephialtes, son of Sophonides, who was renowned for his incorruptibility and his upright character, and to his chief assistant, Pericles. Very little is known about Ephialtes, but the fact that he was a general (Plutarch, Cimon 13) at some time between 465-463 confirms that he was an upper-class Athenian and not a poor man, as reported in later sources.