Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
479
CLEISTHENES

in many cases. The best time for operating on a hare-lip depends upon various circumstances. Thus, if it is associated with cleft palate, the palatine cleft has first to be closed, in which case the child will probably be several months old before the lip is operated on. If the infant is in so poor a state of nutrition that it appears unsuitable for surgical treatment, the operation must be postponed until his condition is sufficiently improved. But, assuming that the infant is in fair health, that he is taking his food well and thriving on it, that he is not troubled by vomiting or diarrhoea, and that the hare-lip is not associated with a defective palate, the sooner it is operated on the better. It may be successfully done even within a few hours of birth. When a hare-lip is unassociated with cleft palate, the infant may possibly be enabled to take the breast within a short time of the gap being closed. In such a case the operation may be advisably undertaken within the first few days of birth. The case being suitable, the operation may be conveniently undertaken at any time after the tenth day.  (E. O.*) 


CLEISTHENES, the name of two Greek statesmen, (1) of Athens, (2) of Sicyon, of whom the first is far the more important.

1. Cleisthenes, the Athenian statesman, was the son of Megacles and Agariste, daughter of Cleisthenes of Sicyon. He thus belonged, through his father, to the noble family of the Alcmaeonidae (q.v.), who bore upon them the curse of the Cylonian massacre, and had been in exile during the rule of the Peisistratids. In the hope of washing out the stigma, which damaged their prestige, they spent the latter part of their exile in carrying out with great splendour the contract given out by the Amphictyons for the rebuilding of the temple at Delphi (destroyed by fire in 548 B.C.). By building the pronaos of Parian marble instead of limestone as specified in the contract, they acquired a high reputation for piety; the curse was consigned to oblivion, and their reinstatement was imposed by the oracle itself upon the Spartan king, Cleomenes (q.v.). Cleisthenes, to whom this far-seeing atonement must probably be attributed, had also on his side (1) the malcontents in Athens who were disgusted with the growing severity of Hippias, and (2) the oligarchs of Sparta, partly on religious grounds, and partly owing to their hatred of tyranny. Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, however, treats the alliance of the Peisistratids with Argos, the rival of Sparta in the Peloponnese, as the chief ground for the action of Sparta (c. 19). In c. 513 B.C. Cleisthenes invaded Attica, but was defeated by the tyrant’s mercenaries at Leipsydrium (S. of Mt. Parnes). Sparta then, in tardy obedience to the oracle, threw off her alliance with the Peisistratids, and, after one failure, expelled Hippias in 511–510 B.C., leaving Athens once again at the mercy of the powerful families.

Cleisthenes, on his return, was in a difficulty; he realized that Athens would not tolerate a new tyranny, nor were the other nobles willing to accept him as leader of a constitutional oligarchy. It was left for him to “take Home and foreign policy. the people into partnership” as Peisistratus had in a different way done before him. Solon’s reforms had failed, primarily because they left unimpaired the power of the great landed nobles, who, in their several districts, doubled the rôles of landlord, priest and patriarch. This evil of local influence Peisistratus had concealed by satisfying the nominally sovereign people that in him they had a sufficient representative. It was left to Cleisthenes to adopt the remaining remedy of giving substance to the form of the Solonian constitution. His first attempts roused the aristocrats to a last effort; Isagoras appealed to the Spartans (who, though they disliked tyranny, had no love for democracy) to come to his aid. Cleisthenes retired on the arrival of a herald from Cleomenes, reviving the old question of the curse; Isagoras thus became all-powerful[1] and expelled seven hundred families. The democrats, however, rose, and after besieging Cleomenes and Isagoras in the Acropolis, let them go under a safe-conduct, and brought back the exiles.

Apart from the reforms which Cleisthenes was now able to establish, the period of his ascendancy is a blank, nor are we told when and how it came to an end. It is clear, however—and it is impossible in connexion with the Pan-hellenic patriotism to which Athens laid claim, to overrate the importance of the fact—that Cleisthenes, hard pressed in the war with Boeotia, Euboea and Sparta (Herod, v. 73 and foll.), sent ambassadors to ask the help of Persia. The story, as told by Herodotus, that the ambassadors of their own accord agreed to give “earth and water” (i.e. submission) in return for Persian assistance, and that the Ecclesia subsequently disavowed their action as unauthorized, is scarcely credible. Cleisthenes (1) was in full control and must have instructed the ambassadors; (2) he knew that any help from Persia meant submission. It is practically certain, therefore, that he (cf. the Alcmaeonids and the story of the shield at Marathon) was the first to “medize” (see Curtius, History of Greece). Probably he had hoped to persuade the Ecclesia that the agreement was a mere form. Aelian says that he himself was a victim to his own device of ostracism (q.v.); this, though apparently inconsistent with the Constitution of Athens (c. 22), may perhaps indicate that his political career ended in disgrace, a hypothesis which is explicable on the ground of this act of treachery in respect of the attempted Persian alliance. Whether to Cleisthenes are due the final success over Boeotia and Euboea, the planting of the 4000 cleruchs on the Lelantine Plain, and the policy of the Aeginetan War (see Aegina), in which Athens borrowed ships from Corinth, it is impossible to determine. The eclipse of Cleisthenes in all records is one of the most curious facts in Greek history. It is also curious that we do not know in what official capacity Cleisthenes carried his reforms. Perhaps he was given extraordinary ad hoc powers for a specified time; conceivably he used the ordinary mechanism. It seems clear that he had fully considered his scheme in advance, that he broached it before the last attack of Isagoras, and that it was only after the final expulsion of Isagoras and his Spartan allies that it became possible for him to put it into execution.

Cleisthenes aimed at being the leader of a self-governing people; in other words he aimed at making the democracy actual. He realized that the dead-weight which held the democracy down was the influence on politics Analysis of his reforms. of the local religious unit. Therefore his prime object was to dissociate the clans and the phratries from politics, and to give the democracy a totally new electoral basis in which old associations and vested interests would be split up and become ineffective. It was necessary that no man should govern a pocket-constituency merely by virtue of his religious, financial or ancestral prestige, and that there should be created a new local unit with administrative powers of a democratic character which would galvanize the lethargic voters into a new sense of responsibility and independence. His first step was to abolish the four Solonian tribes and create ten new ones.[2] Each of the new tribes was subdivided into “demes’” (roughly “townships”); this organization did not, except politically, supersede the system of clans and phratries whose old religious signification remained untouched. The new tribes, however, though geographicallyThe ten tribes. arranged, did not represent local interests. Further, the tribe names were taken from legendary heroes (Cecropis, Pandionis, Aegeis recalled the storied kings of Attica), and, therefore, contributed to the idea of a national unity; even Ajax, the eponym of the tribe Aeantis, though not Attic, was famous as an ally (Herod, v. 66) and ranked as a national hero. Each tribe had its shrine and its particular hero-cult, which, however, was free from local association and the dominance of particular

  1. The archonship of Isagoras in 508 is important as showing that Cleisthenes, three years after his return, had so far failed to secure the support of a majority in Athens. There is no sufficient reason for supposing that the election of Isagoras was procured by Cleomenes; all the evidence points to its having been brought about in the ordinary way. Probably, therefore, Cleisthenes did not take the people thoroughly into partnership till after the spring of 508.
  2. The explanation given for this step by Herodotus (v. 67) is an amusing example of his incapacity as a critical historian. To compare Cleisthenes of Sicyon (see below), bent on humiliating the Dorians of Sicyon by giving opprobrious names to the Dorian tribes, with his grandson, whose endeavour was to elevate the very persons whose tribal organization he replaced, is clearly absurd.