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CLEOPATRA—CLEPSYDRA

Peloponnesus, and when the city was devastated by the plague, Cleon headed the opposition to the Periclean régime. Pericles was accused by Cleon of maladministration of public money, with the result that he was actually found guilty (see Grote’s Hist. of Greece, abridged ed., 1907, p. 406, note 1). A revulsion of feeling, however, soon took place. Pericles was reinstated, and Cleon now for a time fell into the background. The death of Pericles (429) left the field clear for him. Hitherto he had only been a vigorous opposition speaker, a trenchant critic and accuser of state officials. He now came forward as the professed champion and leader of the democracy, and, owing to the moderate abilities of his rivals and opponents, he was for some years undoubtedly the foremost man in Athens. Although rough and unpolished, he was gifted with natural eloquence and a powerful voice, and knew exactly how to work upon the feelings of the people. He strengthened his hold on the poorer classes by his measure for trebling the pay of the jurymen, which provided the poorer Athenians with an easy means of livelihood. The notorious fondness of the Athenians for litigation increased his power; and the practice of “sycophancy” (raking up material for false charges; see Sycophant), enabled him to remove those who were likely to endanger his ascendancy. Having no further use for his former aristocratic associates, he broke off all connexion with them, and thus felt at liberty to attack the secret combinations for political purposes, the oligarchical clubs to which they mostly belonged. Whether he also introduced a property-tax for military purposes, and even held a high position in connexion with the treasury, is uncertain. His ruling principles were an inveterate hatred of the nobility, and an equal hatred of Sparta. It was mainly through him that the opportunity of concluding an honourable peace (in 425) was lost, and in his determination to see Sparta humbled he misled the people as to the extent of the resources of the state, and dazzled them by promises of future benefits.

In 427 Cleon gained an evil notoriety by his proposal to put to death indiscriminately all the inhabitants of Mytilene, which had put itself at the head of a revolt. His proposal, though accepted, was, fortunately for the credit of Athens, rescinded, although, as it was, the chief leaders and prominent men, numbering about 1000, fell victims. In 425, he reached the summit of his fame by capturing and transporting to Athens the Spartans who had been blockaded in Sphacteria (see Pylos). Much of the credit was probably due to the military skill of his colleague Demosthenes; but it must be admitted that it was due to Cleon’s determination that the Ecclesia sent out the additional force which was needed. It was almost certainly due to Cleon that the tribute of the “allies” was doubled in 425 (see Delian League). In 422 he was sent to recapture Amphipolis, but was outgeneralled by Brasidas and killed. His death removed the chief obstacle to an arrangement with Sparta, and in 421 the peace of Nicias was concluded (see Peloponnesian War).

The character of Cleon is represented by Aristophanes and Thucydides in an extremely unfavourable light. But neither can be considered an unprejudiced witness. The poet had a grudge against Cleon, who had accused him before the senate of having ridiculed (in his Babylonians) the policy and institutions of his country in the presence of foreigners and at the time of a great national war. Thucydides, a man of strong oligarchical prejudices, had also been prosecuted for military incapacity and exiled by a decree proposed by Cleon. It is therefore likely that Cleon has had less than justice done to him in the portraits handed down by these two writers.

Authorities.—For the literature on Cleon see C. F. Hermann, Lehrbuch der griechischen Antiquitäten, i. pt. 2 (6th ed. by V. Thumser, 1892), p. 709, and G. Busolt, Griechische Geschichte, iii. pt. 2 (1904), p. 988, note 3. The following are the chief authorities:—(a) Favourable to Cleon.—C. F. Ranke, Commentatio de Vita Aristophanis (Leipzig, 1845); J. G. Droysen, Aristophanes, ii., introd. to the Knights (Berlin, 1837); G. Grote, Hist. of Greece, chs. 50, 54; W. Oncken, Athen und Hellas, ii. p. 204 (Leipzig, 1866); H. Müller-Strübing, Aristophanes und die historische Kritik (Leipzig, 1873); J. B. Bury, Hist. of Greece, i. (1902). (b) Unfavourable.—J. F. Kortüm, Geschichtliche Forschungen (Leipzig, 1863), and Zur Geschichte hellenischen Staatsverfassungen (Heidelberg, 1821); F. Passow, Vermischte Schriften (Leipzig, 1843); C. Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece, ch. 21; E. Curtius, Hist. of Greece (Eng. tr.) iii. p. 112; J. Schvarcz, Die Demokratie (Leipzig, 1882); H. Delbrück, Die Strategie des Perikles (Berlin, 1890); E. Meyer, Forschungen zur alten Geschichte, ii. p. 333 (Halle, 1899). The balance between the two extreme views is fairly held by J. Beloch, Die attische Politik seit Perikles (Leipzig, 1884), and Griechische Geschichte, i. p. 537; and by A. Holm, Hist. of Greece, ii. (Eng. tr.), ch. 23, with the notes.


CLEOPATRA, the regular name of the queens of Egypt in the Ptolemaic dynasty after Cleopatra, daughter of the Seleucid Antiochus the Great, wife of Ptolemy V., Epiphanes. The best known was the daughter of Ptolemy XIII. Auletes, born 69 (or 68) B.C. At the age of seventeen she became queen of Egypt jointly with her younger brother Ptolemy Dionysus, whose wife, in accordance with Egyptian custom, she was to become. A few years afterwards, deprived of all royal authority, she withdrew into Syria, and made preparation to recover her rights by force of arms. At this juncture Julius Caesar followed Pompey into Egypt. The personal fascinations of Cleopatra induced him to undertake a war on her behalf, in which Ptolemy lost his life, and she was replaced on the throne in conjunction with a younger brother, of whom, however, she soon rid herself by poison. In Rome she lived openly with Caesar as his mistress until his assassination, when, aware of her unpopularity, she returned at once to Egypt. Subsequently she became the ally and mistress of Mark Antony (see Antonius). Their connexion was highly unpopular at Rome, and Octavian (see Augustus) declared war upon them and defeated them at Actium (31 B.C.). Cleopatra took to flight, and escaped to Alexandria, where Antony joined her. Having no prospect of ultimate success, she accepted the proposal of Octavian that she should assassinate Antony, and enticed him to join her in a mausoleum which she had built in order that “they might die together.” Antony committed suicide, in the mistaken belief that she had already done so, but Octavian refused to yield to the charms of Cleopatra who put an end to her life, by applying an asp to her bosom, according to the common tradition, in the thirty-ninth year of her age (29th of August, 30 B.C.). With her ended the dynasty of the Ptolemies, and Egypt was made a Roman province. Cleopatra had three children by Antony, and by Julius Caesar, as some say, a son, called Caesarion, who was put to death by Octavian. In her the type of queen characteristic of the Macedonian dynasties stands in the most brilliant light. Imperious will, masculine boldness, relentless ambition like hers had been exhibited by queens of her race since the old Macedonian days before Philip and Alexander. But the last Cleopatra had perhaps some special intellectual endowment. She surprised her generation by being able to speak the many tongues of her subjects. There may have been an individual quality in her luxurious profligacy, but then her predecessors had not had the Roman lords of the world for wooers.

For the history of Cleopatra see Antonius, Marcus; Caesar, Gaius Julius; Ptolemies. The life of Antony by Plutarch is our main authority; it is upon this that Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is based. Her life is the subject of monographs by Stahr (1879, an apologia), and Houssaye, Aspasie, Cléopâtre, &c. (1879).


CLEPSYDRA (from Gr. κλἐπτειν, to steal, and ὕδωρ, water), the chronometer of the Greeks and Romans, which measured time by the flow of water. In its simplest form it was a short-necked earthenware globe of known capacity, pierced at the bottom with several small holes, through which the water escaped or “stole away.” The instrument was employed to set a limit to the speeches in courts of justice, hence the phrases aquam dare, to give the advocate speaking time, and aquam perdere, to waste time. Smaller clepsydrae of glass were very early used in place of the sun-dial, to mark the hours. But as the length of the hour varied according to the season of the year, various arrangements, of which we have no clear account, were necessary to obviate this and other defects. For instance, the flow of water varied with the temperature and pressure of the air, and secondly, the rate of flow became less as the vessel emptied itself. The latter defect was remedied by keeping the level of the water in the clepsydra uniform, the volume of that discharged being noted. Plato is said to have invented a complicated clepsydra to indicate the