In the first quarter of the fifth century BC, 190 ostraka inscribed with the name of Themistokles, who dominated the Athenian political scene for more than twenty years, were thrown into a well on the northern slope of the Acropolis. The ostraka, primarily made from the bottoms of recycled drinking cups for wine, seem to have been mass-produced by a small number of engravers and intended for distribution to illiterate or undecided Athenian citizens. Themistokles, leader of the Athenian democrats, was a candidate for ostracism on many occasions in the 480s, but was only finally ostracized in 471 BC, due to rumors of his excessive ambition and the choices he had made with regard to foreign policy.
A World of Emotions
Ostrakon against Themistokles Son of Neokles
Kylikes, Museum of the Ancient Agora, Athens, ΑΟ98 © Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports–Archaeological Receipts Fund
Terracotta, Black-glaze, Fragments
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