- /klee"on/, n.died 422 B.C., Athenian general and political opponent of Pericles.
* * *Athenian politician.The first prominent representative of the merchant class in Athenian politics, he became leader of Athens in 429 BC after the death of his enemy Pericles. Advocating an offensive strategy in the Peloponnesian War, he proposed that all citizens of the rebellious Mytilene be put to death and its women and children enslaved; the measure passed but was reversed the next day. He reached the summit of his fame when he captured the Spartan island of Sphacteria, but he was killed by the Spartans while trying to retake Thrace.
* * *▪ Athenian politiciandied 422 BC, Amphipolis, Macedoniathe first prominent representative of the commercial class in Athenian politics, he became leader of the Athenian democracy in 429 after the death of his political enemy, Pericles. In the Peloponnesian War he strongly advocated an offensive strategy. When Mytilene, which had revolted against Athens, fell in 427, Cleon proposed that all its citizens be put to death and the women and children enslaved. His decree was passed but rescinded the next day, in time to save Mytilene. He reached the summit of his fame by capturing the Spartans on the besieged island of Sphacteria in 425 after refusing their peace terms, but was defeated and killed at Amphipolis by the Spartan general Brasidas when trying to recover the cities of Thrace for the Athenian Empire. Cleon is represented by Aristophanes and Thucydides in an extremely unfavourable light, but neither can be considered an unprejudiced witness.
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