Persia 15: Cimon Compared with Simon Peter

When reading the Life of “Cimon” by Plutarch, one cannot help but to make a comparison with 1st Century Simon Peter. His partnership with Aristides and rivalry with Pausanias/Themistocles also parallels the relationships of Peter with James and Paul.

Excerpts below from: Plutarch’s Lives The Dryden Translation (public domain)

>> Cimon’s Mis-Spent Youth

Cimon was the son of Miltiades and Hegesipyle, who was by birth a Thracian, and daughter to the King Olorus [of Thrace].

Simon’s youth was ill reputed and intemperate.

And at first he had but an indifferent reputation, being looked upon as disorderly in his habits, fond of drinking, and resembling his grandfather, also called Cimon, in character, whose simplicity got him the surname of Coalemus.

He had little acquaintance either with music, or any of the other liberal studies and accomplishments, then common among the Greeks; that he had nothing whatever of the quickness and the ready speech of his countrymen in Attica; that he had great nobleness and candour in his disposition, and in his character in general resembled rather a native of Peloponnesus [Sparta] than of Athens; as Euripides describes Hercules- “Rude and unrefined, for great things well endued:"

... accused him, in his younger years, of cohabiting with his own sister Elpinice

... fond of drinking and of ease; and would at nights to Sparta often roam, leaving his sister desolate

Cimon betrothed her [Elpnice] to Callias

[Note: Callias was a role model for Simon Magus]

… his [Cimon’s] lawful wife Isodice, the daughter of Euryptolemus, the son of Megacles

>> Cimon brought by Aristides [James/Andrew] to “the Master”, Xerxes/Artaxerxes (“Joshua/Jesus”)

All the other points of Cimon's character were noble and good. He was as daring as Miltiades, and not inferior to Themistocles in judgment, and was incomparably more just and honest than either of them. Fully their equal in all military virtues, in the ordinary duties of a citizen at home he was immeasurably their superior.

The people welcomed him gladly, being now weary of Themistocles; in opposition to whom, and because of the frankness and easiness of his temper, which was agreeable to every one, they advanced Cimon to the highest employments in the government. The man that contributed most to his promotion was Aristides, who early discerned in his character his natural capacity, and purposely raised him, that he might be a counterpoise to the craft and boldness of Themistocles.

>> Cimon the Happy Fisher of Men

Cimon ... with a cheerful countenance

... intimating that there was no more need of horsemen now, but of mariners.

He was also of a fairly handsome person, according to the poet Ion, tall and large, and let his thick and curly hair grow long.

... regarded with affection, as well as admiration.

Cimon was sent out as an admiral, when the Athenians had not yet attained their dominion by sea

Fellow-citizens under his command were highly distinguished, both for the excellence of their discipline, and for their extraordinary zeal and readiness.

He forced no man to go that was not willing, ... Cimon, continually embarking large numbers of Athenians on board his galleys, thoroughly disciplined them in his expeditions, and ere long made them the lords of their own paymasters ... sailing about everywhere, and incessantly bearing arms and acquiring skill.

>> Cimon and Aristides Bring Down Pausanias (who like Paul is warned of his imminent arrest)

Cimon, taking this advantage, by acts of kindness to those who were suffering wrong, and by his general humane bearing, robbed him [Pausanias] of the command of the Greeks, before he was aware, not by arms, but by his mere language and character.

Cimon and Aristides ... wrote to the Ephors of Sparta, desiring them to recall a man [Pausanias] who was causing dishonour to Sparta and trouble to Greece.

[Pausanias consulted] the oracle of the dead at Heraclea ... obscurely foretelling, it would seem, his [Pausanias’] imminent death

[Note: Pausanias, like the later Paul, was under a sentence of death but appealed to the Great King and was pardoned.]

>> “Upon this Rock”, Cimon and the (Tri-Part) Stone (upon which he is likened to the god Menes/Thoth/Mercury)

The people permitted him [Cimon] to erect the stone Mercuries upon the first of which was this inscription:-

... bold and patient spirit ... with famine and the sword, to utmost need, reduced at last the children of the Mede.

Upon the second stood this:-

... For great and useful service ... in their country's cause.

And upon the third the following:-

... Divine Menestheus … the ablest man an army to array.

>> Cimon “Denies” His Persian Lord Three Times (Before the Break of Day)

Nor did any man ever do more than Cimon did to humble the pride of the Persian king ... that they should never dare to show themselves … Phaselis … denied his galleys entrance into their port. Upon this he wasted the country ... At length he concluded peace with them ... the fight was a hard one ... At length, though with much ado, they routed the barbarians .. full of rich spoil. Cimon, like a skilled athlete at the games, having in one day carried off two victories. wherein he surpassed that of Salamis by sea and that of Plataea by land, was encouraged to try for yet another success. News being brought that the Phoenician succours, in number eighty sail, had come in sight at Hydrum, he set off with all speed to find them … so that, thus surprised, they lost all their vessels and most of their men with them.

>> Cimon is Bold and Offensive, Drives out the “Barbarians”

What then induced them so particularly to honour Cimon? Was it that under other commanders they stood upon the defensive? but by his conduct, they not only attacked their enemies, but invaded them in their own country.

He defeated these Persians in battle.

... having driven out the Persians, and subdued the Thracians, he made the whole Chersonese the property of Athens.

[Note: Plutarch may be forging a symbolic link between Chaeronea of Boeotia, the homeland of the assassin Damon and protectorate of the later Lucullus, and the Chersonese of Thrace. Irrespective, Cimon was considered a "Damon" that turned into a "Lucullus".]

Cimon ... found the power of the king broken, and the spirits of the Persians humbled by their great defeats.

The Persian fleet ... Cimon ... resolved, if they would not fight a battle willingly, to force them.

[Note: Simon Peter (Simon son of Gioras) took the war to the Romans, he also invaded and conquered the trans-Jordan in a bloody war.]

>> The Culturing of Cimon

Cimon and his brother commanders with him came into the theatre … he made them sit down to give sentence ... And the victory was at last adjudged to Sophocles, which Aeschylus is said to have taken so ill.

At Laomedon's house ... Cimon was desired by the company to give them a song, which he did with sufficient success.

He valued himself most for address and good contrivance.

[Note: Cimon despite his supposed lack of tact was in fact recognized as a great poet in Sparta called Simonides and patronized by Pausanias. Simon Peter likewise had a wise alter ego, the scholar/teacher Gamaliel.]

Cimon Races to be First at the Tomb of a Hero/Savior

Cimon endeavoured to find out where he [Theseus] was buried. (6) For an oracle had commanded the Athenians to bring home his ashes, and pay him all due honours as a hero ... with some difficulty he found out the tomb and carried the relics into his own galley, and with great pomp and show brought them to Athens, four hundred years, or thereabouts, after his expulsion. This act got Cimon great favour with the people.

>> Cimon the Fool for Love

Cimon ... was much laughed at [that is, for being more concerned about the welfare of his friends rather than pride or quick profit]

>> Cimon Grows Rich (and Philanthropic like Peter/Nicodemus/Naktdemon)

Cimon now grew rich, and what he gained from the barbarians with honour, he spent yet more honourably upon the citizens. For he pulled down all the enclosures of his gardens and grounds, that strangers, and the needy of his fellow-citizens, might gather of his fruits freely. At home he kept a table, plain, but sufficient for a considerable number; to which any poor townsman had free access.

[Cimon] would change clothes with the decayed citizen

Cimon, the generous-hearted, the divine..

Cimon ... embellished the upper city ... He set the market-place with plane-trees; and the Academy ... he converted into a well-watered grove and open courses for races.

He still kept his hands clean and untainted, and to his last day never acted or spoke for his own private gain or emolument.

He neglected the opportunity [of conquering Macedon], he was suspected of corruption, and of having been bribed off by King Alexander [the 1st] ... Cimon was acquitted.

>> The Exile of Cimon

In the fourth year of the reign of Archidamus ... in the country of Lacedaemon the greatest earthquake that was known in the memory of man

The Spartans, who therefore despatched Periclidas to Athens to solicit succours, of whom Aristophanes says in mockery that he came and- "In a red jacket, at the altars seated,
With a white face, for men and arms entreated."

Cimon ... soon marched out with a large army to their relief.

He was, indeed, a favourer of the Lacedaemonians, even from his youth, and he gave the names of Lacedaemonius and Eleus to two sons, twins, whom he had, as Stesimbrotus says, by a woman of Clitorium, whence Pericles often upbraided them with their mother's blood. But Diodorus the geographer asserts that both these, and another son of Cimon's, whose name was Thessalus, were born of Isodice.

Some time after this, the Lacedaemonians sent a second time to desire succours of the Athenians ... But when they came, fearing their boldness and gallantry, of all that came to their assistance, they sent them only back, alleging they were designing innovations. The Athenians returned home, enraged at this usage, and vented their anger upon all those who were favourers of the Lacedaemonians, and seizing some slight occasion, they banished Cimon for ten years.

They [Athenians] did not long retain their severity toward Cimon, partly upon remembrance of his former services, and partly ... being defeated at Tanagra in a great battle, and fearing the Peloponnesians would come upon them at the opening of the spring, they recalled Cimon by a decree, of which Pericles himself was author.

[Note: The Spartans defeated Athens and were led by Nicodemes/Tissamenes.]

[Note: The banishment of Simon Peter/Gamaliel/Gemellus from Rome by his grandfather Tiberius was in his youth. Likewise, the banishment of Cimon appears to have occurred relatively early in his career (Year 4 of Archidamus, circa 465 BC. Cimon died circa 449 BC)]

>> Cimon Dreams of an Unclean Thing [as when “Simon Peter Dined with Simon Peter”]

[Cimon] with design to make an attempt upon Egypt and Cyprus ... the natural enemies of Greece.

But when all things were prepared, and the army ready to embark, Cimon had this dream ... a furious bitch barking at him, and mixed with the barking a kind of human voice uttered these words:- "Come on, for thou shalt shortly be, a pleasure to my whelps and me."
This dream was hard to interpret, yet Astyphilus ... told him that his death was presaged by this vision.

>> Cimon’s Hands are Tied, He is Led Where is Does Not Wish to Go

After this dream, as he was sacrificing to Bacchus ... particles of the blood ... about Cimon's great toe ... But he could not then recede from the enterprise … designing no less than the entire ruin of the Persian empire.

Themistocles, it is said ... out of the despair of overcoming the valour and good fortune of Cimon, died a voluntary death.

[Note: The later Paul “died daily”, or so it seemed, if political advantage could be gained from it.]

Cimon, intent on great designs ... sent messengers to consult the oracle of Jupiter Ammon ... and the god would not answer ... for that Cimon was already with him ... they understood that Cimon was dead ... being then already with the gods.

He died, some say, of sickness ... according to others, of a wound he received in a skirmish with the barbarians.

Cimon ... died when general, in the height of success.

>> Peace Brought about by Cimon’s Death

This success of Cimon so daunted the King of Persia that he presently made that celebrated peace ... at Athens they erected the altar of Peace upon this occasion, and decreed particular honours to Callias, who was employed as ambassador to procure the treaty.
After his [Cimon’s] death there was not one commander among the Greeks that did anything considerable against the barbarians
... the oracle, which commanded them not to forget Cimon, but give him the honours of a superior being.

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