The New Student's Reference Work/Aristides

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Aristi′des (är′ is-tī′ dēz), called the Just, was one of the statesmen of Athens, and helped to build up the greatness of his city.  At the battle of Marathon, 490 B. C., he was one of the ten generals of the Athenians.  He persuaded the others to give up their day of command to Miltiades, who was the most skillful commander.  His rival at Athens was Themistocles and the contest between the two leaders grew so bitter, that it was deemed best to exile one of them by vote.  When the vote was being taken, a man who did not know Aristides asked him to write for him the name Aristides on the shell which was used as a ballot.  “Has he done you any injury?” asked Aristides.  “No,” was the reply, “but I am tired of hearing him called ‘Aristides the Just.’”  Aristides was banished for ten years; but in 480, when his country was in great danger from the Persians, he returned on the eve of the battle of Salamis, and helped his rival Themistocles.  He also commanded the Athenians at the battle of Platæa.  When many of the states decided to form an alliance against Persia, with Athens at its head, Aristides, because of his well-known honesty and fairness, was chosen to make the arrangements and to assess the expenses of the war on the different states.  He died so poor about the year 468 B. C. that he was buried at the public cost; but he had done so much for Athens that the government gave his daughters dowries and his son a landed estate.