Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXV.: Overthrow of the Areopagus by Ephialtes and Themistokles. - Constitution of Athens
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CHAP. XXV.: Overthrow of the Areopagus by Ephialtes and Themistokles. - Aristotle, Constitution of Athens [320 BC]
Aristotle’s Constitution of Athens, trans. Thomas J. Dymes (London: Seeley and Co., 1891).
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Overthrow of the Areopagus by Ephialtes and Themistokles.
The people therefore got its means of support in this way. And for about seventeen years after the Persian war the constitution was maintained under the presidency of the Areopagitæ, although it was gradually losing ground. But as the masses were increasing in power, Ephialtes, the son of Sophonides, with the reputation of being incorruptible and of entertaining just intentions towards the constitution, became leader of the people, and made an attack on the council. First he made away with many of the Areopagitæ, bringing actions against them for their administration. Afterwards, in the archonship of Konon, he stripped the council of all the privileges, in right of which it was the guardian of the constitution, and made them over partly to the five hundred and partly to the courts of justice. And he carried out these measures in conjunction with Themistokles, who was one of the Areopagitæ, and about to be put on his trial on the charge of Medism. And desiring the overthrow of the council, Themistokles told Ephialtes that the council intended to seize him as well as himself, while at the same time he told the Areopagitæ that he would point out to them those who were banding together for the overthrow of the government. And taking the persons who were despatched by the council to the house of Ephialtes, to point out to them those who were meeting together there, he joined in earnest conversation with the representatives of the council. And Ephialtes, seeing this, in alarm took refuge at the altar with only his tunic on. All wondered at what had happened, and when the Council of the five hundred assembled afterwards, Ephialtes and Themistokles brought accusations against the Areopagitæ, and again before the people in the same way, until they stripped them of their power. And Ephialtes also was got rid of, being treacherously murdered not long afterwards by Aristodicus of Tanagra. So the council of the Areopagitæ was in this way deprived of its supervision of the state.