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Cleisthenes (6th century B.C.), statesman of ancient Athens who instituted democratic reforms. The noble clan, Alcmaeonid, which Cleisthenes led, had a prophet persuade Cleomenes, king of Sparta, to overthrow Hippias, who had held complete power until 510 B.C. As a result, Cleisthenes was able to set up a democratic form of government, ending the political control of the noble clans.

See also: Athens; Greece, Ancient.

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