| Famous Men of Greece|
|by John H. Haaren|
|Attractive biographical sketches of thirty-five of the most prominent characters in the history of ancient Greece, from legendary times to its fall in 146 B.C. Each story is told in a clear, simple manner, and is well calculated to awaken and stimulate the youthful imagination. Ages 9-12 |
 YOU remember that when Xerxes was preparing to invade Greece,
Themistocles tried to get the Athenians to build ships and
quit their city, and trust to the "wooden wall" of a fleet.
One day, while the people were still in doubt about what
they should do, a tall and handsome young man, with a bridle
in his hand, was seen hurrying through the streets of Athens
toward the Acropolis. He entered the temple of Minerva,
hung up his bridle as an offering to the goddess, and took
down from the walls a shield. He prayed to the goddess and
then carried the shield through the streets of Athens to the
 The young man was named Cimon. He was the son of the
famous Miltiades and belonged to a class of Athenians called
knights, who fought on horseback. For him to hang up his
bridle in the temple was as much as to say that Athens now
had no need of horsemen, but of seamen, as Themistocles was
People were fond of young Cimon because of his pleasant
ways, and when they saw that he thought well of
Themistocles' advice a great many who had not liked it
changed their minds.
Cimon himself sailed in the Athenian fleet and fought
bravely in the battle of Salamis. He distinguished himself
so much that not long after the Persians had been driven
from Greece he was elected admiral of the fleet.
At that time there were a number of pirates living on the
island of Scyros, in the Ægean Sea. They captured the
merchant vessels that carried on the trade of the
Mediterranean. Cimon took possession of their island and
made the Ægean Sea safe for traders.
The island was the one on which Thetis had tried to hide
Achilles when the Trojan War began, and somewhere upon it
Theseus, the great hero of Athens, had been buried. Cimon
made a search for the burial place and found it. He
 took the bones out of the tomb and carried them to Athens.
When he arrived at Athens and told that he had brought the
bones of Theseus the whole city was filled with rejoicing.
Games were held and theatrical exhibitions given. The great
poets Æschylus and Sophocles wrote plays for the
A GARDEN OF ANCIENT GREECE
Cimon took so much booty from pirates that after a while he
became very wealthy. He was also very generous. His fine
gardens were open to the public and people were allowed to
gather fruit in his orchard. The Athenians said, "He got
riches so that he could use them and then used them so that
he got honor." His fellow-citizens almost worshiped him.
AFTER some years of fighting the allies of Athens grew tired of
warfare. So Cimon agreed to let them furnish ships and
money, and he hired seamen and marines from among the
Athenians, so that though the fleet was in name the fleet of
Greece, it was really Athenian. He drilled his men well in
naval warfare and took them on one expedition after another.
Thus they became the finest sea-soldiers in Greece.
At one time Cimon learned that there was a
Per-  sian fleet off the coast of Asia Minor. Immediately two hundred
ships were made ready and he sailed to attack the Persians.
They had about twice as many ships as he had, but the Greeks
destroyed a great number of the Persian vessels and captured
THE GENEROSITY OF CIMON
Cimon then disembarked his men and fought a Persian army on
land. He completely defeated it and so gained two victories
in one day. Immediately after this he was told that another
Persian fleet was not far off, and at once he sailed to the
 spot and destroyed or captured all the ships and the men
The Persian king was now glad to make peace. He agreed that
no army of his should ever go nearer to the Ægean Sea
than a day's journey on horseback—about fifty miles—and that
none of his war-ships should ever sail near Greece.
The spoil taken on Cimon's great expedition was immense. It
sold for so much that the Athenians took part of the money
to pay for building the foundations of the great walls
called the "Long Walls." These were to connect Athens with
her ports and serve also as fortifications. Cimon paid for
part of this work out of his own share of the spoils.
It seems strange that the Athenians should ever have turned
against Cimon after all his victories. Yet they did. The
reason was this:
A terrible earthquake happened in Sparta. The whole city was
ruined and only five houses stood unharmed after the shock.
One large building fell upon some of the young men and boys
who were drilling and killed them.
While everything was in confusion and everybody was filled
with alarm, the Helots flocked together from the fields,
intending to massacre their masters. Fortunately, one of the
kings heard in time that the Helots were arming themselves.
He at once
 ordered an alarm to be given by sounding trumpets, and the
Spartans seized their shields and spears and gathered
together. When the Helots reached the city and saw the
citizens ready to resist them they went back into the
But they had a large and powerful army and they persuaded
some neighbors of the Spartans to join them. Then they
seized a strong fortress near Sparta.
The Spartans were now in a dreadful plight. Their homes
were in ruins, their slaves in revolt, and their neighbors
aiding the slaves.
In their distress they sent to the Athenians for aid. The
great comic poet Aristophanes says, "There was a
wonderful difference between the scarlet robe and the white
cheeks of the Spartan who came to ask us for troops."
Some of the Athenians advised that none should be sent.
They thought it would be a good thing for Athens if Sparta
lost her power, for the two cities were rivals. But Cimon
persuaded his countrymen to send a large force. He said,
"Athens and Sparta are the two legs of Greece. Do not
suffer Greece to be maimed and Athens to lose her
So Athenian soldiers went in command of Cimon and fought
for the Spartans. But the Helots and their allies were too
strong. The fortress was not taken.
 Then the Spartans
suspected that the Athenians had not done their best and
they said that they wished no more Athenian help.
This made the people of Athens very angry. They were
enraged not only with the Spartans but with Cimon. They
declared that any friend of Sparta was an enemy of Athens,
and so they banished Cimon.
AFTER the Spartans had conquered their slaves they sent an army to
attack Athens. A battle was fought not far from the city
and the Spartans gained the victory.
Then some one was needed in Athens who could either beat the
Spartans or make friends of them. Cimon was therefore
recalled from banishment. Not long after his return he made
a truce with the Spartans which lasted for several years.
Cimon thought that the best way to keep peace in Greece was
to fight the Persians. So he fitted out a fleet and set
sail from Athens to attack parts of the "Great King's"
He really hoped to overthrow the whole Persian empire.
making any attack he sent friends to the oracle of Jupiter.
The god refused to answer the question that they put and
gave as a reason, "Because Cimon is already with me."
 The messengers wondered what this could mean, but when they
reached the Greek fleet they found that Cimon was dead.
Some say he died of sickness, others of a wound which he had
received while besieging a city.
Before he died he ordered his officers to conceal his death
from the soldiers and to carry his body to Athens. This
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