A History of Greece: From the Time of Solon to 403 B.C

By George Grote; J. M. Mitchell et al. | Go to book overview

4 [XXXI]

GRECIAN AFFAIRS AFTER THE EXPULSION OF THE PEISISTRATIDS - REVOLUTION OF KLEISTHENÊS AND ESTABLISHMENT OF DEMOCRACY AT ATHENS

WITH Hippias disappeared the mercenary Thracian garrison, upon which he and his father before him had leaned for defence as well as for enforcement of authority. Kleomenês with his Lacedæmonian forces retired also, after staying only long enough to establish a personal friendship, productive subsequently of important consequences, between the Spartan king and the Athenian Isagoras. The Athenians were thus left to themselves, without any foreign interference to constrain them in their political arrangements.

It has been mentioned in the preceding chapter that the Peisistratids had for the most part respected the forms of the Solonian Constitution. The nine archons, and the pro-bouleutic or pre-considering [Council] of Four Hundred (both annually changed), still continued to subsist, together with occasional meetings of the people - or rather of such portion of the people as was comprised in the gentes, phratries, and four Ionic tribes. The timocratic classification of Solon (or quadruple scale of income and admeasurement of political franchises according to it) also continued to subsist - but all within the tether and subservient to the purposes of the ruling family, who always kept one of their number as real master, among the chief administrators, and always retained possession of the acropolis as well as of the mercenary force.

That overawing pressure being now removed by the expulsion of Hippias, the enslaved forms became at once endued with freedom and reality. There appeared again, what Attica had not known for thirty years, declared political parties, and pronounced opposition between two men as leaders - on one side, Isagoras son of Tisander, a person of illustrious descent - on the other, Kleisthenês the Alkmæônid, not less illustrious, and possessing at this moment a claim on the gratitude of his countrymen as the most persevering as well as the most effective foe of the dethroned despots. In what manner such opposition was carried on we are not told. It would seem to have been not altogether pacific; but at any rate, Kleisthenês had the worst of it, and in

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