Kimon was an Athenian
but he was a firm believer in Sparta
and Athens working together. He once said that Greece
was a chariot being pulled by two horses Athens
. Indeed he was such a fan of Sparta
that he named his son Lacedaemonius
, which translates as Spartan
Kimon was the son of Miltiades and a member of the aristocracy, so it is likely that his sympathies were slightly oligarchic rather than democratic, however he was the key figure in Athenian democratic politics for twenty years. He first appeared on the political stage in 479B.C. when he was part of an embassy sent to Sparta. from that point on he was frequently elected as a general. He became the enforcer of the Delian League preventing members from leaving, and commanding all the major operations against the Persians with his finest hour being the victory at the battle of Eurymedon in 466B.C. where he defeated the Persian forces on both land and sea, effectively removing them as a threat to Greece for many years to come.
In 465B.C. Thasos seceded from the Delian League. The Athenians responded by invading the island to force them back into the league, Thasos responded by trying to convince Sparta to invade Attica. Sparta agreed. However in 464B.C. as the Spartans prepared to invade, Sparta was struck by an earthquake, the helots seized the opportunity and revolted. Sparta was only saved on that occasion by the quick thinking of King Archidamus, who organised the army to repel the initial assault. The helots retreated to Mount. Ithome, which they fortified and prepared for a siege. The Spartans were never good at siege warfare, and so sent for all their allies to aid in putting down the revolt. They also, unbelievably, asked Athens for help. The Athenians were reluctant to send aid, however Kimon persuaded them to do so.
Kimon led an army into Sparta, however when the siege failed to resolve itself swiftly the Spartans became nervous. The reasons for their nerves were that the helots unlike all other slaves in Greece were Greeks themselves, also in Athens the cat was away so the mice were playing. Ephialtes and Pericles were taking advantage of Kimon's absence to turn Athens into a radical democracy. These two factors made the Spartans wary of having Athenian troops within their borders when they already had their hands full. The Spartans sent the Athenians home but retained the other allies. Athens was humiliated and in true democratic fashion looked for a scapegoat, they found Kimon. Ephialtes and Pericles both anti-Spartans, rose in power as Kimon fell. In 461B.C. Kimon was ostracised, although there were allegations of incest it was really the result of him losing power, ostracisms were Athens' way of clearing the political air, when two sides were in conflict each one would vote for the other's candidate and the man with the most supporters, got rid of his opponent for ten years. Themistocles had ostracised Xanthippus and Aristides, Kimon had ostracised Themistocles, Ephialtes and Pericles now ostracised Kimon.
Kimon returned from his ostracism in the late 450's and found Athens at war with both Sparta and Persia, he made a five year truce with Sparta and engaged the Persians on Cyprus where he died of an infection.
Kimon was a man who dominated the Athenian political and military scene for twenty years, he was an excellent general and under him the Athenians enjoyed their longest period of peace with Sparta, indeed his ostracism took place in the same year that the First Peloponnesian War started.