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(died 422 BC, Amphipolis, Macedonia) 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.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Cleon, visit Britannica.com.
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