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see CleisthenesCleisthenes,
fl. 510 B.C., Athenian statesman. He was the head of his family, the Alcmaeonidae, after the exile of Hippias, and with Spartan help had made himself undisputed ruler of Athens by 506 B.C.
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Although Clisthenes had been eponymous archon in 525-431 (perhaps having presumed that with the death of Pisistratus the 'troubles' were over and it was safe to return), the family had played a leading part in securing the downfall of Hippias and could safely affirm that they had remained in exile for the entire duration of the tyranny (Hdt.
There was by then a people for whose support Clisthenes could appeal, and with whose support he became far superior to his rivals ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED] - Hdt.
When Clisthenes made his appeal for support, the People asserted itself.
No doubt some change of policy is symbolised, just as it was in Sicyon where Clisthenes, to express hostility to Argos, sought to discredit the cult of the Argive hero Adrastus; when he was forbidden by the Delphic oracle to 'expel Adrastus' (whatever that was thought to involve), he 'imported' from Thebes Adrastus' bitter foe, Melanippus, and transferred to him cult previously paid to Adrastus (Hdt.
The history of most cities in the Archaic period was probably never written down,(38) and the sort of disorders occasioned by Clisthenes at Athens which Sparta moved promptly to prevent, may well have gone totally unheeded by history in smaller states.(39) Herodotus and Thucydides knew about Spartan actions, but since it was not their business to record them, they were forgotten.
5.79.1), the actions of Clisthenes would have been deemed a threat to Athenian aristocracy.