There were salt-works in Sardinia too as early as about 150 B.C., as is attested by an inscription assigned to this date in Latin, Greek and Punic, being a dedication by one Cleon salari(us) soc(iorum) s(ervus) (Corp. Inscr.
Of these the best known were: the Kolakes, in which he pilloried the spendthrift Callias, who wasted his substance on sophists and parasites; Maricas, an attack on Hyperbolus, the successor of Cleon, under a fictitious name; the Baptae, against Alcibiades and his clubs, at which profligate foreign rites were practised.
In 422 B.C. Cleon led an unsuccessful expedition to recover it, in which both he and Brasidas were slain.
An assembly was held and under the invective of Cleon it was decided to kill.
The final success of Brasidas at Amphipolis, where both he and Cleon were killed, paved the way for a more permanent agreement, the peace parties at Athens and Sparta being in the ascendant.
(a) Though Cleon was probably wise in opposing peace negotiations before the capture of the Spartans in Sphacteria, it seems in the light of subsequent events that he was wrong to refuse the terms which were offered after the hoplites had been captured.
Possibly, too, Cleon foresaw that peace would have meant a triumph for the philo-Laconian party.
A truce was concluded, but peace negotiations were defeated by Cleon, who was himself appointed to conduct operations with Demosthenes.
Athens must never again seek "empire" in the sense which became odious under the influence of Cleon and Hyperbolus, - when, to use the image of Aristophanes, the allies were as Babylonian slaves grinding in the Athenian mill.
In April 422 the truce with Sparta expired, and in the same summer Cleon was despatched to Thrace, where he stormed Torone and Galepsus and prepared for an attack on Amphipolis.
The Athenian army was routed with a loss of 600 men and Cleon was slain.
During the dark days of 430, after the unsuccessful expedition of Pericles to Peloponnesus, and when the city was devastated by the plague, Cleon headed the opposition to the Periclean regime.
Pericles was reinstated, and Cleon now for a time fell into the background.
In 427 Cleon gained an evil notoriety by his proposal to put to death indiscriminately all the inhabitants of Mytilene, which had put itself at the head of a revolt.
The character of Cleon is represented by Aristophanes and Thucydides in an extremely unfavourable light.
The poet had a grudge against Cleon, who had accused him before the senate of having ridiculed (in his Babylonians) the policy and institutions of his country in the presence of foreigners and at the time of a great national war.
It is therefore likely that Cleon has had less than justice done to him in the portraits handed down by these two writers.
- For the literature on Cleon see C. F.