Cimon

From Academic Kids

Cimon or Kimon (Greek Κίμων, 510-450 BC), was a Athenian statesman and general, and a major figure of the 470s BC and 460s BC in Athens

His mother was Hegesipyle, the daughter of Olorus the King of Thrace. His father, Miltiades, died in jail because he was unable to pay the fine that was levied against him. The fine passed to Cimon and it was his sister's fiancé Callias, a very wealthy Athenian, who paid it so that he could marry Cimon's sister Elpinice.

Cimon was said to have been "as brave as Miltiades, as intelligent as Themistocles and more just than either man". Cimon was very wealthy and lived lavishly, he was also very generous to the people, opening his house to all and feeding the hungry. In addition he took away the fences from his fields for anyone to eat of the fruits of the land. Part of the long wall that once surrounded Athens was financed by Cimon. He was imposing, and was said to be able to fill a room with his presence. He was most definitely a brilliant soldier, and was honest and merciful. Cimon became renowned for his excellent generalship and innovative stratagems. He was both intelligent and brave. Once after a victory he let the Allied take all adornment from the war prisoners and kept the naked and ill-trained prisoners for the Athenians (presumably as slaves). The Allies made fun of him until the prisoners’ friends and relatives ransomed every one of them at a great price. This left him with enough money to feed his fleet for four months and yet give some of the money to the city.

At this time the two Greek cities Athens and Sparta were rivals. Athens was a democracy and Sparta a military state. They were allied against the Persian empire and the war between the Greek states and the Persians went on between 500 and 449 BC. Cimon was very pro-Spartan, and believed in dual hegemony. He was an oligarch and supported the constitution of Cleisthenes which distributed power between the upper class and middle (hoplite) class.

Cimon served in the Persian Wars and according to Plutarch: "In all the qualities that war demands he was fully the equal of Themistocles and his own father Miltiades". Cimon served with great distinction at the Battle of Salamis.

Cimon entered into politics on the staff of Aristides in Byzantium. It was under Aristides that Cimon grew. He entered into politics in Athens when the people began to grow tired of Themistocles, and because of this they promoted Cimon to the highest honours and offices in the state. When Xerxes's forces approached and Themistocles passed the decree for evacuating Athens in the year 480 and to rely primarily on naval power, it was Cimon who led a procession of youths up to the temple of Athena to burn their knightly horse-bridles as offerings, and to subsequently enlist as marines.

In the years between the ostracism of Themistocles in 472 and his own loss of prestige in 461, he was the most influential Athenian. In 475 BC, Cimon won the Athenians’ hearts by avenging Theseus’ death. Cimon found a tomb with bones alleged to be those of Theseus and he carried these in triumph to Athens.

Between 478 and 461 he led the Delian League forces. During the time he freed the Aegean Sea from Persians, Cimon was said to be an essential factor in the Athenians ability to leverage control away from the Spartans. The allies were growing tired of the treatment they were receiving from the Spartans, particularly the regent king Pausinas, and turned to the compassionate and kind Cimon. Cimon, however, was quite a proponent of policies that enabled the transformation from the Delian League to Athenian Empire.

In the year 464 Sparta suffered a huge earthquake and the helots revolted. Cimon led 4,000 Athenian hoplites to assist the Spartans, but was turned away by them because of fear about their revolutionary democracy. The Athenians were outraged at this and ostracised Cimon in 461. He was ostracised for ten years, but was returned to Athens early because he was needed to serve in battle facing a Peloponnesian invasion. Cimon's ostracism was revoked by Pericles, one of his main opponents.

Cimon died around 450 while laying siege to Citium during the Salamis, Cyprus campaign (see the Battle of Salamis).

Even on his deathbed, he plotted against his enemies by urging those about to conceal his death from both allied and Persians. His crew was brought back in safety “under the command of Cimon”, whom by then had been dead for thirty days.

After his death he was revered and honored as a superior being.de:Kimon el:Κίμων fr:Cimon nl:Cimon pl:Kimon

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