~ 510 BC
|THE MARKET-PLACE OF ATHENS|
Cleisthenes was an important Athenian leader who helped institute democratic reforms. He was the son
of a very noble Athenian family, known as the Alcmaenidae, who were first allies of, then exiled by, Pisistratus.
Cleisthenes, along with his clan, were instrumental in driving the tyrant Hippias out of the city. They did this by
bribing the Delphian priests to persuade the Spartans to assist in the overthrow of Hippias. Once Hippias was driven
from power, and the Alcmaeonidae clan was restored, Cleisthenes became the new leader and immediately instituted
democratic reforms. The aristocrats who had supported Cleisthenes were not pleased at this development, and tried to
have him exiled. They failed however, and Cleisthenes was free to continue his democratic reforms.
The most dramatic reform introduced by Cleisthenes was to divide the city into ten regions and have
government elected locally instead of along strict tribal lines. This prevented tribal chiefs from
dominating political affairs and fostered loyalties directed at the common affairs of the polis rather
than clans. From the time of Cleisthenes, the Alcmaenidae family produced many important leaders of the
'democratic' party in Athens. Pericles was a grand-nephew of Cleisthenes.
Key events during the life of cleisthenes:
||Alcmaeonidae family recalled to Athens from exile.
||Hippias, tyrant of Athens driven out of city.
||Cleisthenes assumed power and immediately instituted Democratic reforms.
||Cleisthenes is driven into exile by his enemy Isagoras, but is later recalled.
||Cleisthenes continues democratic reforms; reorganizes demes; institutes ostracism.
||Exiled son of Pisistratus; helped lead Persian forces against Athens at Marathon.
||Daughter of Cleisthenes of Sicyon; husband of Megacles; mother of Cleisthenes of Athens.
||King of Sparta before Persian Wars, removed tyrants from Athens, defeated Argos.
||Power Athenian Archon who opposed the reforms of Cleisthenes.
|Harmodius and Aristogiton
||Rebels who tried to murder Hippias and his brother to save Athens from Tyranny.