Historical Figure
Nationality: Athens
Date of Birth: 530 BCE
Date of Death: 468 BCE
Cause of Death:
Occupation: General, politician
Turtledove Appearances:
"Counting Potsherds"
POD: 483 BCE;
Relevant POD: 480 BCE
Type of Appearance: Posthumous reference
Date of Death: C. 480 BCE
Cause of Death: Probably killed in the Persian War, precise circumstance unknown
Aristides the Just (or Aristeides, Greek: Ἀριστείδης, 530 BC – 468 BC) was an ancient Athenian statesman who flourished in the early quarter of Athens' Classical period and is remembered for his generalship in the Persian War. The ancient historian Herodotus cited him as "the best and most honorable man in Athens", and he received similarly reverent treatment in the writing of the philosopher Plato.

Aristides first came to notice as strategos in command of his native tribe Antiochis at the Battle of Marathon, and it was no doubt in consequence of the distinction which he then achieved that he was elected archon for the ensuing year (489—488). In pursuance of a conservative policy which aimed at maintaining Athens as a land power, he was one of the chief opponents of the naval policy proposed by Themistocles. The conflict between the two leaders ended in the ostracism of Aristides at a date variously given between 485 and 482.

Aristides in "Counting Potsherds" Edit

While Mithredath and Polydoros carried out a circuit of the walls of the Akropolis, they came to a section with a long inscription carved into it. It stated in part that Aristides proposed these things concerning the words of the prophetess of Delphi and the Persians: let the Athenians fortify the citadel with beams of wood as well as stone to meet the Persians, as was bade by the prophetess." This led Mithredath to ask if Aristides was the king at the time but Polydoros replied that the inscription did not call him basileus, the usual Yauna term for king.[1]


  1. See, e.g. Departures, pgs. 15-16, pb.