Subverting Institutions to Avoid Banishment

Plutarch, Aristides 7.3:

When they had begun to punish lowly and base born people with this penalty, they finally stopped and ostracized Hyperbolus last. It is said that Hyperbolus was ostracized for this reason: Alcibiades and Nicias, then at the height of their power in the city, were at odds with each other. When the people were about to conduct the ostracism, and it was clear that it would vote to banish either Alcibiades or Nicias, they reached an understanding with each other and, mustering each of their factions to the same purpose, effected the ostracism of Hyperbolus. The people, upset by this outcome as an insult to the practice, abandoned it and got rid of it entirely.

By Giovanni Dall’Orto. – https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9672123

ἐπεὶ δ’ ἤρξαντό τινες ἀνθρώπους ἀγεννεῖς καὶ πονηροὺς ὑποβάλλειν τῷ πράγματι, τελευταῖον ἁπάντων Ὑπέρβολον ἐξοστρακίσαντες ἐπαύσαντο. λέγεται δὲ τὸν Ὑπέρβολον ἐξοστρακισθῆναι διὰ τοιαύτην αἰτίαν. Ἀλκιβιάδης καὶ Νικίας μέγιστον ἐν τῇ πόλει δυνάμενοι διεστασίαζον. ὡς οὖν ὁ δῆμος ἔμελλε φέρειν τὸ ὄστρακον καὶ δῆλος ἦν τὸν ἕτερον γράψων, διαλεχθέντες ἀλλήλοις καὶ τὰς στάσεις ἑκατέρας εἰς ταὐτὸ συναγαγόντες τὸν Ὑπέρβολον ἐξοστρακισθῆναι παρεσκεύασαν. ἐκ δὲ τούτου δυσχεράνας ὁ δῆμος ὡς καθυβρισμένον τὸ πρᾶγμα καὶ προπεπηλακισμένον ἀφῆκε παντελῶς καὶ κατέλυσεν.

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