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Cornelius Nepos

III. Aristides

1. Aristides, Lysimachi filius, Atheniensis, aequalis fere fuit Themistocli itaque cum eo de principatu 2contendit; namque obtrectarunt inter se. In his autem cognitum est quanto antistaret eloquentia innocentiae. Quamquam enim adeo excellebat Aristides abstinentia, ut unus post hominum memoriam, quem quidem nos audierimus, cognomine Iustus sit appellatus, tamen a Themistocle conlabefactus, testula illa exsilio decem annorum multatus est. 3Qui quidem cum intellegeret reprimi concitatam multitudinem non posse, cedensque animadvertisset quendam scribentem ut patria pelleretur, quaesisse ab eo dicitur qua re id faceret aut quid Aristides 4commisisset cur tanta poena dignus duceretur. Cui ille respondit se ignorare Aristiden, sed sibi non placere quod tam cupide elaborasset ut praeter 5ceteros Iustus appellaretur. Hic decem annorum legitimam poenam non pertulit. Nam postquam Xerxes in Graeciam descendit, sexto fere anno quam erat expulsus, populi scito in patriam restitutus est.

2. Interfuit autem pugnae navali apud Salamina, quae facta est prius quam poena liberaretur. Idem praetor fuit Atheniensium apud Plataeas in proelio quo Mardonius fusus barbarorumque exercitus interfectus 2est. Neque aliud est ullum huius in re

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III. Aristides

III. Aristides

1. Aristides the Athenian, son of Lysimachus, was of about the same age as Themistocles, and consequently disputed with him the first rank in the state; for they were rivals. In fact, the history of these two men makes clear the extent to which eloquence has the advantage of integrity. For although Aristides so excelled in honesty that he is the only one within the memory of man—at least, so far as we have heard—who was given the title of “the Just,” yet his influence was undermined by Themistocles and he was exiled for ten years by that well-known process known as the shard-vote.1 Aristides himself, when he realized that the excited populace could not be quieted, and, as he was withdrawing, saw a man in the act of voting that he should be banished, is said to have asked him why he did so, and what Aristides had done to be thought deserving of such a punishment. To which the man replied that he did not know Aristides, but that he was displeased because he had worked so hard to be distinguished from other men by the surname of “the Just.”2 Aristides did not complete the legal penalty of ten years; for when Xerxes descended upon Greece, in about the sixth year of his exile, he was restored to his native land by decree of the people.

2. Aristides took part besides in the naval battle at Salamis, although it was fought before his recall. He was also general of the Athenians at Plataea479 b.c. in the battle in which Mardonius was defeated and the army of the barbarians was slaughtered. Although there is no other brilliant exploit in his

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.cornelius_nepos-book_great_generals_foreign_nations_aristides.1929