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On this page: Cleomyttades – Cleon


'Oresteide, pi. xxv. p. 130.) The inscriptions of four statues in the collection of Wilton House are of a very doubtful description. (Visconti, Oeuvres di- wrsvS) vol. iii. p. 11 ; Thiersch, Epochen, p. 288, £c.) [L. U.]

CLEOMYTTADES (KXeo/ivrrtf&Tjs). 1. The sixth of the family of the Asclepiadae, the son of 'Crisamis I. and the father of Theodorus I., who lived probably in the tenth century b. c. (Jo, Tzetzos, CJtiL vii. Hist. 155, in Fabric. Bill. Grace. vol. xii. p. G80, cd. vet.)

2. The tenth in descent from Aesculapius, the son of king Crisamis II., and the father of Theo­ dorus II., who probably lived in the eighth cen- turv B. c. (Paeti Epist. ad Artax., in Hippocr. •Opera, vol. iii. p. 770.) [W. A. G.]

CLEON (KAecov), the son of Cleaenetus, shortly after the death of Pericles, succeeding, it is said (Aristoph. Equit. 130, and Schol.), E^crates the flax-seller, and "Ly sides the sheep-dealer, became the most trusted and popular of the people's favourites, and for about six years of the Peloponnesian war (b. c. 428—422) may be regarded as the head of the party opposed to peace.

He belonged by birth to the middling classes, and was brought up to the trade of a tanner ; how long however he followed it may be doubtful; he seems early to have betaken himself to a more lucrative profession in politics. He became known at the very beginning of the war. The latter days of Pericles were annoyed by Ms impertinence. Ilermippus, in a fragment of a comedy probably represented in the winter after the first invasion of Attica, speaks of the home-keeping general as tor­tured by the sting of the fierce Cleon (STJxfleJs alQwvt KA<W<, ap. Plut. Per. 33). And according to Idomeneus (ibid* 35) Cleon^s name was attach­ed to the accusation, to which in the miseries of the second year Pericles was obliged to give way. Cleon at this time was, we must suppose, a violent opponent of the policy which declined risking a battle ; nay, it is possible he may also have indulged freely in invectives against the war in general.

In 427 the submission of the Mytileneans brings him more prominently before us. He was now established fairly as demagogue. (t$ stjucu irapd TroAu sv t£j T(5re TriOavceraTos, Thuc. iii. 36.) The deliberations on the use to be made of the uncon­ditional surrender of these revolted allies ended in the adoption of his motion,— that the adult males should be put to death, the women and children sold for slaves. The morrow, however, brought a cooler mind; and in the assembly held for recon­sideration it was, after a long debate, rescinded. The speeches which on this second occasion Thu-cydides ascribes to Cleon and his opponent give us doubtless no grounds for any opinion on either as a speaker, but at the same time considerable ac­quaintance with his own view of deon's position and character. We see plainly the effort to keep up a reputation as the straightforward energetic counsellor; the attempt by rude bullying to hide from the people his slavery to them; the unscru­pulous use of calumny to excite prejudice against all rival advisers. " The people were only shewing (what he himself had long seen) their incapacity for governing, by giving way to a sentimental unbusinesslike compassion : as for the orators who excited it, they were, likelv enough, paid for their trouble." (Thuc. iii. 36—49.)

CLEON. 707

The following winter unmasked his boldest ene-my. At the city Dionysia, b.c. 426, in the pre­sence of the numerous visitors from the subject states, Aristophanes represented his "Babylonians." It attacked the plan of election by lot, and contain­ed no doubt the first sketch of his subsequent por­trait of the Athenian democracy. Cleon, it would appear, if not actually named, at any rate felt him­self reflected upon; and he rejoined by a legal suit against the author or his representative. The Scho­liasts speak of it as directed against his title to the franchise (fains ypatyJi'), but it certainly also as­sailed him for insulting the government in the p-e-sence of its subjects. (Aristoph. Acliarn. 377, 502.) About the same time, however, before the next winter's Lenaea, Cleon himself, by means of a com­bination among the nobler and wealthier (the 'iTTTreis), was brought to trial and condemned to disgorge five talents, which he had extracted on false pretences from some of the islanders. (Aristoph. Acliarn. 6, comp. Schol., who refers to Theopompus.) Thirlwall, surely by an oversight, places this trial after the representation of the Knights. (Hist, of Greece, iii. p. 300.)

In 425 Cleon reappears in general history, still as before the potent favourite. The occasion is the em­bassy sent by Sparta with proposals for peace, after the commencement of the blockade of her citizens in the island of Sphacteria. There was considerable elevation at their success prevalent among the Athe­nians ; yet numbers were truly anxious for peace. Cleon, however, well aware that peace would greatly curtail, if not annihilate, his power and his emolu­ments, contrived to work on his countrymen's presumption, and insisted to the ambassadors on the surrender, first of all, of the blockaded party with their arms, and then the restoration in ex­change for them of the losses of b. c. 445, Nisaea, Pegae, Troezen, and Achaia. Such concessions it was beyond Sparta's power to make good ; it was even dangerous for her to be known to have so much as admitted a thought of them ; and when the ambassadors begged in any case to have commissioners appointed them for private discus­sion, he availed himself of this to break off 'the negotiation by loud outcries against what he pro­fessed to regard as evidence of double-dealing and oligarchical caballing. (Thuc. iv. 21, 22.)

A short time however shewed the unsoundness of his policy. Winter was approaching, the blockade daily growing more difficult, and escape daily easier; and there seemed no prospect of securing the prize. Popular feeling now began to run strongly against him, who had induced the rejec­tion of those safe offers. Cleon, with the true demagogue's tact of catching the feeling of the people, talked of the false reports with which a democracy let people deceive it, and when ap­pointed himself to a board of commissioners for inquiry on the spot, shifted his ground and began to urge the expediency rather of sending a force to decide it at once, adding, that if he had been ge­neral, he would have done it before. Nicias, at whom the scoff was directed, took advantage of a rising feeling in that direction among the people, and replied by begging him to be under no res­traint, but to take any forces he pleased and make the attempt. What follows is highly character­istic. Cleon, not having a thought that the timid Nicias was really venturing so unprecedented a step, professed his acquiescence, but on finding the

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