Idomeneus' charge (FGH 338 F 8) that Perikles was responsible for the assassination of Ephialtes who, according to Ath. Pol. 25.4, was murdered 'not long after' the reforms, by Aristodikos of Tanagra,6 Plutarch gives as a reason for rejecting the story that Ephialtes was Perikles' 'friend and colleague in political policy' (Per. 10.7). In addition, there was a persistent tradition, which Plutarch reflects, that Ephialtes was nothing more than a foil or 'front man' for Perikles, who used him, as he purportedly used others on various occasions, as an agent or cover, because Perikles himself wished to remain behind the scenes.7 Testimony of this kind rightly raises suspicions - as we saw above in Chapter 3, it reflects the view of Kritolaos and others that Perikles purposely remained aloof from the rough-andtumble of everyday politics and reserved himself for 'great occasions's - but it seems to indicate some kind of collaboration between the two men. (It is only fair to point out, however, that Ath. Pol., in the context of the oligarchic revolution of 404 BeE, refers in passing to 'the laws of Ephialtes and Archestratos about the Areopagites' (35.2).)
What made Ephialtes attractive to the reformers? First, he seems to have had a reputation among the ordinary people for scrupulous honesty, as is indicated by the reference in Ath. Pol. already cited to his 'reputation for incorruptibility and justice in public matters' (25.1). Plurarch links his name with Aristeides, as politicians - in the minority - who did not enrich themselves at the public expense (Kim. 10.8) and his name occurs several times in Aelian in lists of 'poor because honest' politicians.9 On the other hand the largesse attributed to him by Herakleides Lembos, that he 'opened his estates to any who wished to pick fruit, and as a result provided meals to many', may simply be a misquotation, since it has too many verbal echoes of benefactions attribured to Kimon to be entirely above suspicion. lO It also seems very unlikely that the garbled story of his collaboration with Themistokles at Ath. Pol. 25.2--4 (cf. also the Hypothesis to Isocrates 7, Areopagitikos) has any basis in fact, although some scholars have been prepared to credit it and infer an early phase of anti-Areopagos activity undertaken in co-operation with Ephialtes by Themistokles before his ostracism. 11
We may pause here to note and try to account for a fleeting, odd testimony which only Plutarch preserves (Kim. 13.4) as deriving from Kallisthenes (FGH 124 F 16): 'Perikles with 50 ships and Ephialtes with only 30 sailed to the east of the Chelidonian Islands, and no Persian fleet came out to oppose them.' Plutarch makes this remark in the context of his discussion of the controversial 'Peace of Kallias', and his reason for bringing in Kallisthenes' name at all is that the fourth-century historian, who was Aristotle's relative as well as pupil, and fell victim to Alexander's anger, seems to have questioned the historicity of the Peace, maintaining that there was no formal treaty, but that the Persian King was so cowed by the Athenian and allied victory at the Eurymedon 12 that he behaved as if the
boundaries allegedly set by the Peace were actually in effect. This Peace is a very contentious topic and full discussion of it must be deferred,13 but we must stop to consider Kallisthenes' statement about the shared (or synchronous) generalship. What evidence had he for the assertion? If he is correct, when did it occur? Some have argued that Kallisthenes was referring to separate generalships of Ephialtes and Perikles, and that the generalship of Perikles took place much later, perhaps at the time of the war against Samos, c. 440. 14 This seems unlikely. The natural sense of Kallisthenes' words, if Plutarch has reported them correctly, is that the two men were generals together, but undertook separate missions. This must have been before 462/1, when Ephialtes was (allegedly) murdered.1 5 Moreover, it cannot have been very much before, since the impression given by our sources is that Perikles' prosecution of Kimon in 463 was his political debut (Ath. Pol. in fact says, 'he first got a reputation ... being yet a young man'). Thirty was the minimum age for holding important offices, like the generalship, at Athens and, depending on what year we posit as Perikles' date of birth,16 he must have been elected general with Ephialtes either just when he reached the requisite age or not very long after. Since so much is unknown, or problematic, about this shadowy event, I am tempted to believe that Kallisthenes has been misreported, or was mistaken.