Aristides was an Athenian politician in the early 5th century B.C. and a friend of Cleisthenes. He is believed to have been archon in 489 B.C. and may have been one of the generals at the battle of Marathon in 490 B.C.. Nicknamed, Aristides the Just he was believed to be the upright and aristocratic opponent to deceitful and democratic Themistocles.

He was ostracised in 483 B.C when he was accused of Medism. Apparantly during the ostracism he was sitting next to a farmer who was looking bewildered at his ostracon. When he asked what was wrong, the farmer complained that he could not write. Aristides offered to write the name for him, the farmer then told him to write down Aristides. Aristides did so, and then enquired why. The farmer replied, "I'm sick of people calling him Aristides the Just".

He was recalled from ostracism with many other exiled Athenians, before the invasion of Xerxes. He commanded a hoplite engagement on the island of Psyttaleia during the battle of Salamis in 480 B.C., then in 479 B.C. he was one of the commanders at Plateaea.

Later, he assisted Themistocles in fooling the Spartans over the construction of Athenian city walls. He is credited with the majority of the early work that went into the foundation of the Delian league, which eventually became the Athenian Empire. He is believed to have opposed a plan by the Samians to shift the treasury from Delos to Athens. He died around 468 B.C..