II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > D. Classical Greece and the Hellenistic World > 4. The Classical Age, 510–323 B.C.E. > b. The Rise of Athenian Democracy and the Persian Wars
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
b. The Rise of Athenian Democracy and the Persian Wars
Enlisting Spartan aid, the Alcmaeonidae returned to Athens. They overthrew Hippias, who fled to Persia and was made the tyrant of Sigeum. A struggle ensued between the aristocrats, led by Isagoras, and the common people, headed by the Alcmaeonid Cleisthenes. The latter won and a democratic reform of the constitution was instituted.  1
THE REFORMS OF CLEISTHENES. To end regional divisions, Cleisthenes created over 140 townships (demes), which replaced the phratries as the basis of citizenship. Ten tribes (phylai) were created, and Attica divided into three regions: the city of Athens, the coast, and the interior. Several demes comprised a “third” (trittys) and ten trittys formed a region. Each tribe was made up of one trittys from each region, so had members in all parts of Attica. A Council of 500, with 50 men chosen by lot from each of the tribes, replaced the Solonian Council of 400. The army was organized into ten tribal regiments. Some scholars believe that an early form of ostracism, a milder form of banishment, was introduced under Cleisthenes.  2
Isagoras invited the Spartans to invade Attica. King Cleomenes expelled Cleisthenes and restored the aristocracy. The Athenian people rose up, however, drove out the Spartans, and restored Cleisthenes.  3
A second Spartan expedition failed. The Athenians crushed the Boeotians and Euboeans and annexed part of the territory of Chalcis. When the Persian king Darius I demanded the restoration of Hippias as tyrant, the Athenians disregarded his ultimatum.  4
The general (strategos) of each of the ten tribal regiments was now elected annually.  5
The Ionian cities of Asia Minor revolted against the Persians (See c. 522–486), led by Aristagoras of Miletus. In 498, Aristagoras traveled to mainland Greece, soliciting aid. Athens responded with 20 ships and Eretria with five. The rebels captured and burned Sardis, the satrapy's capital, but were defeated in the naval Battle of Lade in 494. Persian control of the sea enabled them to take and sack Miletus, which ended the revolt. One of the rebel leaders, Miltiades (c. 550–489), the tyrant of Chersonese, fled to Athens and, despite the opposition of the Alcmaeonidae, rose to political prominence.  6
c. 494
The Spartans under King Cleomenes defeated Argos in the Battle of Sepeia and forced it into the Peloponnesian League. Cleomenes tried to punish Aegina for supporting Persia but was blocked by the other king, Demaratus.  7
In Athens, Themistocles, leader of the anti-Persian party, was selected as archon. He began fortifying the Piraeus.  8
First Persian Expedition. Darius I sent Mardonius to punish Athens and Eretria for aiding the Ionian cities in their revolt. The Persian fleet was destroyed in a storm while rounding the Chalcidice. Mardonius did not advance further, but Thrace and Macedonia remained under Persian domination.  9
Cleomenes deposed Demaratus as Eurypontid king on a charge of illegitimacy, despite the opposition of the ephors, and replaced him with the more compliant Leotychides II (491–469).  10
c. 490
Traditionally, Cleomenes went mad, was imprisoned, and committed suicide. He may in fact have been arrested and executed by the ephors. Cleomenes' half-brother Leonidas (c. 490–480) succeeded him as Agiad king.  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.