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Elpinike was a daughter of Miltiades (the younger), the winner of Marathon , and the Thracian king's daughter Hegesipyle. She is one of the most remarkable women of her era in Greece. Kimon (* around 510 BC; † 449 BC), the later Athenian statesman and general, was her half-brother. Elpinike's exact life dates are not known.

Like her brother, Elpinike came from the ancient Athenian noble family of the Philaids. The information that she was a half-sister of Kimons is based on evidence that both of them lived together as husband and wife for a longer period of time, which was permitted under the Athenian laws of the time for half-siblings who did not have the same mother.

However, her brother Kimon was forced to separate from her later: When her father Miltiades in 489 BC After he died in prison without being able to pay the heavy fine of 50 talents for a military defeat for which he was held responsible, the atimie (loss of civil rights) passed on to her brother Kimon, who also was unable to pay the debt.

Kimon was saved from this fatal situation by the beauty of his sister: The rich Athenian Kallias fell in love with Elpinike and - as Cornelius Nepos reports - negotiated with Kimon that he would give her as his wife: if his wish was fulfilled, he would pay the money for him. However, since the latter refused such an offer, Elpinike declared that she would not tolerate Miltiades' son perishing in prison, since she could now prevent it, and she would marry Kallias if he had fulfilled his promise. Kallias paid the fine for her brother, so that Kimon could again enter into all civil rights and start to make a career in politics, but had to leave it to Elpinike Kallias.

The marriage of Callias and Elpinike (probably) gave birth to the son Hipponikos, who was later considered the richest Athenian of his time. The grandchildren of Elpinikes were Hipponikos' son Kallias and the daughter Hipparete (the later wife of Alcibiades ).

From a campaign to Thrace in 463 BC, Kimon brought The painter Polygnotos of Thasos to Athens, who quickly became famous there. Among other things, he painted the Stoa Poikile in Athens and is said to have placed the portrait of Elpinike among the Trojan women depicted there. Evil tongues then said they had a love affair. The painter's well-known friendship with his patron Kimon, Elpinike's brother, is sufficient to explain and justify this honor.

When Kimon was accused of taking bribes from Alexander I , King of Macedonia , Elpinike went to Pericles , who as the leader of the Democratic Party was her brother's sharpest political opponent, and asked for Kimon. Pericles rejected her rather harshly (even pointing out her age, which no longer allowed her such interventions), but he only weakly and formally supported the indictment against Kimon at the trial.

Kimon, who lived in 462/1 BC. Was banished from Athens by a shard court , is said to have negotiated with Perikles later about the conditions under which he could return from exile. 451 BC BC Kimon was allowed to re-enter his hometown and brought about a provisional armistice with Sparta.

Elpinike's date of death is unknown. Plutarch reports that the famous historian Thucydides , who was related to her, was buried in Athens near the tomb of Elpinike among the tombs of the Kimonian family.


  • Cornelius Nepos: Kimon . (Section l)
  • Herodotus: Nine Books on History . (Book VI., Chapters 132-136)
  • Plutarch: Biographies . Books Kimon (Chapters 4 and 14) and Pericles (Chapters 10 and 28).


  • Rollin H. Tanner: Callias o lakkoploutos, the Husband of Elpinice . In: Classical Philology. Volume 18, No. 2 (April 1923), pp. 144-151.
  • Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Möllendorff : The Thukydides legend . In: Hermes . Volume 12, 1877, p. 339.