The exile of Cimon, the strengthening of Athens by new alliances, and the vigorous prosecution of wars against Persia and Corinth combined to establish his supremacy, which was still further confirmed by the building of the long walls connecting Athens with the sea, and by the acquisition of neighboring territory.
The struggle between the contending parties was long and bitter, and the fall of Cimon was one of the necessary consequences of the political change. Charged, among other things, with too great friendship for Sparta, he was driven into exile. Pericles now persuaded the Athenians to renounce the alliance with Sparta, and he increased the power of Athens by alliances with Argos and other cities.
The victory of the Spartans at Tanagra gave strength to the Spartan party in Athens; it also inspired with fear many of the people; it was evidently desirable rather to effect a peace with Sparta than to hazard a war. Who so likely to effect that peace as the banished Cimon? Now was the time to press for his recall.
Two months after her victory, Sparta was defeated by Myronides; and the Athenians became masters of Phocis, Locris, and Boeotia. Cimon brought about a truce between Athens and Sparta. He left his country on a high pinnacle of power and dominion.
The sovereign power in Athens belongs to us, its nobles; but Cimon by laying his chaplet at the feet of Pisistratus has acknowledged the tyrants, and branded himself as their servant. He shall hear that Phanes cares little for the tyrant's clemency. I choose to remain an exile till my country is free, till her nobles and people govern themselves, and dictate their own laws.
So far he had proceeded garrulously, but the high-strung multitude could endure no more. “Kataba! Kataba!” “Go down! go down!” pealed the yell, emphasized by a shower of pebbles. The elder tore the wreath from his head and fled the Bema. Then out of the confusion came a general cry. “Cimon, son of Miltiades, speak to us!”
In a tent at the lower end of the long stadium stood Glaucon awaiting the final summons to his ordeal. His friends had just cried farewell for the last time: Cimon had kissed him; Themistocles had gripped his hand; Democrates had called “Zeus prosper you!” Simonides had vowed that he was already hunting for the metres of a triumphal ode.
A document, professing to be a copy of this treaty, was long extant; but it was undoubtedly the offspring of a weak credulity or an ingenious invention. But while negotiations, if ever actually commenced, were yet pending, Cimon was occupied in the siege of Citium, where famine conspired with the obstinacy of the besieged to protract the success of his arms.
And further, perceiving that Pausanias was carrying on secret communications with the barbarians, and writing letters to the king of Persia to betray Greece, and, puffed up with authority and success, was treating the allies haughtily, and committing many wanton injustices, Cimon, taking this advantage, by acts of kindness to those who were suffering wrong, and by his general humane bearing, robbed him of the command of the Greeks, before he was aware, not by arms, but by his mere language and character.
Cimon, intent on great designs, which he was now to enter upon, keeping his navy about the isle of Cyprus, sent messengers to consult the oracle of Jupiter Ammon upon some secret matter. For it is not known about what they were sent, and the god would give them no answer, but commanded them to return again, for Cimon was already with him.