It is this final part of his life that is most clouded by the passing of time and few historical details about this period in his life are known. 425 BC: The Athenians outmaneuver the Spartans at Pylos under the generalship of Demosthenes (not be confused with the great Athenian orator). This he gradually achieved, winning over the Athenian oligarchs and ensuring support for his reinstatement in exchange for bringing over massive Persian wealth and naval power. Thucydides begins to explain the expedition by offering a history of the origins of Sicily and its people. Amidst death and starvation Athens surrenders. On numerous occasions, especially in Plato’s writings, it is stated that Alcibiades and Socrates had a close relationship. For this reading I used the impeccable Landmark edition by businessman-turned classical scholar Robert B. Strassler. Alcibiades gave him valuable advice, suggesting that the Persians wear the warring states down, and then take the “easy pickings.”. Alcibiades was born around 450 BC into the Alcmaeonids family, a powerful aristocratic family of Athens. Messiah on Temple Mount: Are We Nearing the End of Time? Alas, the fruits of glory are sweet but rarely filling. Alcibiades was one of the most skilled Athenian leaders, but he made many enemies along the way, switching sides frequently. According to Thucydides, there is a kind of erotic love for conquest that grips the people of Athens, and the ‘tyranny of the majority’ as Madison would have called it, takes hold. By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. In 415 BC, delegates from the Sicilian city of Segesta (Greek: Egesta) arrived at Athens to plead for the support of the Athenians in their war against Selinus. In a brief but important transition to Alcibiades’ rebuttal, Thucydides in his narrator’s voice expands on the sentiments he presented in Nicias’ assassination of Alcibiades… An overview of the Peloponnesian War with the orange areas showing the empire and allies of Athens and the green the Spartan Confederacy. 430 BC: Again Sparta invades Athens and shortly thereafter a great plague falls upon the land “a pestilence of such extent and mortality was nowhere remembered.” It began perhaps in Egypt or Ethiopia and infected Athens through the Piraeus. Is This the Real Reason Why Pirates Wore Eyepatches? At any rate, as happens with the superstitions of crowds, on the eve of the Sicilian Expedition all the stone statues of Hermes, the “Hermae,” are mutilated throughout the city of Athens. Nicias opposed the campaign to Sicily, yet led it; Alcibiades propounded it and was recalled. Thucydides: Nicias and Alcibiades," YCS 22 (1972): 181-214. The expedition was decided upon with great enthusiasm, and Alcibiades, Nicias and Lamachus were appointed joint commanders. … Stylistic Characterization in Plato: Nicias, Alcibiades, and Laches David Sansone I N A CLASSIC ARTICLE, to which my title pays tribute, Daniel Tompkins seeks, and finds, evidence of stylistic characteri- zation in the speeches that Thucydides puts into the mouths of Nicias and Alcibiades.1 By thoroughly examining levels of sentence complication in Nicias… (Walter Crane / Public domain ). His first move was convincing Argos to form an alliance. Sparta invades Attica. Thus, he was, even from his youth, destined to greatness and prominence, like his forebears. The famous city states of ancient Greece were filled with capable leaders, statesmen, generals, and heroes. Sparta declares Athens to be the aggressor and declares war on Athens. Athens sent a fleet to Potidaea after Sparta and allies encouraged a revolt on the island in response to Athenian support for Corcyra against Corinth. That treaty, an uneasy truce between Sparta and Athens signed midway through the Peloponnesian War, came at the end of seven years of fighting during which neither side had gained a decisive advantage. It was his mother however, who came from a more prominent background, as the Alcmaeonids were a very old and noble family. Within three years, the Peace of Nicias had been wrecked, and in the Battle of Mantinea (418), the Spartan king Agis IIdefeated the democratic coalition. In 1879 Charles Darwin wrote a letter to his close friend, the botanist and explorer named Dr. Joseph Hooker. 431 BC: War begins. Helfer, A. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. As the campaign unfolded and the Athenian fleet reached Catania, Alcibiades was met with a delegation sent to escort him back to Athens for trial. Alcibiades … The system of the oligarchs, the Four Hundred, was soon after overthrown, and replaced by a broader oligarchic system, the so-called “Five Thousand.” That system would, later on, give way to democracy once again. This shrewd move helped to cut Athens off from some of its silver mines at Sunium, which added to their diminishing power. Plutarch goes as far as to write of how Alcibiades “feared and reverenced Socrates alone, and despised the rest of his lovers.” The accuracy of these claims and the true nature of their relationship was never fully understood by scholars, even though pederasty was a known phenomenon in ancient and classical Greece, as a socially accepted romantic relationship between an older man and a younger one. Always pursuing my passions for writing, history and literature, I strive to deliver a thrilling and captivating read that touches upon history's most... Read More. Moreover, he believed that the Persians would never send a full fleet to aid the Athenian forces. So, after exchanging sides a few times, each time shining through with his skills in convincing those around him towards the course of action best suited for his needs, Alcibiades was once more a strategos in his native Athens. The latter was one of the most important ancient Greek philosophers, often considered to be the founder of Western philosophy. Hackett Publishing. The plague brings lawlessness and mass death. He quickly gained the trust of the powerful Persian satrap, who was already financing the Peloponnesian War for his own gain. The very next year, Alcibiades encountered bad luck. Following this example, Alcibiades quickly became a general and rose to prominence. However, it was Alcibiades that rose as a staunch advocate for Athens’ continuation of aggressive action. The Sicilian Campaign that Alcibiades orchestrated was a huge and embarrassing defeat for Athens and this image shows their retreat from Syracuse. His thirst for fame, power, and wealth was the driving force behind his efforts related to the Peloponnesian War, which, in the end, largely contributed to the defeat and weakening of Athens. In response Corinth begins building up a vast navy. Reference to the nobility of his ancestors, his military … antagonist Alcibiades, who was the main proponent of the expedition. In 432 BC, it is written that he took part in the Battle of Potidaea, against the Corinthians. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Athens conquers Potidaea. 422 BC: War hawks Cleon (Athens) and Brasidas (Sparta) battle to the death at the Athenian colony of Amphipolis. ( Log Out /  The Sicilian Expedition: Alcibiades and Nicias in Thucydides’s Peloponnesian War (Books VI-VII), The Plantagenets: Henry VI, Edward IV, & The Wars of the Roses (1422-1483), Introductory Notes on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Examining the Thanes in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” Considered, A Classical Hero in the Modern World: A Reading of Macbeth. At the naval battles of Abydos and Cyzicus, he displayed great skill as a naval commander, utilizing a daring “lure” strategy to trap and defeat Spartan fleets. Nicias and Hyperbolos During the years 416 BC and 415 BC, a complex struggle took place between Hyperbolos on one side and Nicias and Alcibiades on the other. Witches, Vampires and Werewolves – 10 Ghoulish Archaeological Discoveries, The Mysterious Disappearance of the Thomas Hume and its Dramatic Rediscovery, Enormous Underwater Structure in the Sea of Galilee is a Mystery to Archaeologists. Later, Thucydides makes note of the foremost cause of ruin for the Athenian army: “Indeed the first and foremost cause of the ruin of the Athenian army was the capture of Plemmyrium [a harbor port near Syracuse where the Athenians retreated], even the entrance of the harbor being now no longer safe for carrying in provisions, as the Syracusan vessels were stationed there to prevent it, and nothing could be brought in without fighting; besides the general impression of dismay and discouragement produced upon the army” (7.24). The most enthusiastic supporter of the expedition was Alcibiades, the son of Cleinias; he was determined to oppose Nicias, who was … Change ). Alcibiades is a dialogue between the notorious character after whom it is named and Socrates, set at a time when Alcibiades was still a young man, before his entry into his political and military career, and … How about a "Books and Literature" forum? He expressed his annoyance at the puzzling mystery of how the first flowering plants evolved. Thus, through winning over the powerful Persian satrap and his wealth, he also won back support for his ideas in Athens. Soon after, Alcibiades found himself reinstated as a general of the Athenian forces, mostly through the support of the oligarchs whom he had won over. The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe. And from his very first contributions to the Spartan cause, Alcibiades employed his persuasive orations, and worked to defeat Athens, the home he was estranged from. The night before the expedition to Sicily was to set sail, many religious figures in Athens were desecrated and Alcibiades was falsely accused by his opponents. However, these writings mention that Alcibiades was of an “unruly” nature and had difficulty conforming to rules of society. Plutarch, the famous ancient Greek philosopher and essayist, writes that Alcibiades was tutored by several influential figures, the most important of these being Socrates. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. 415 BC: The ill-fated Sicilian Expedition is undertaken initially by Alcibiades who takes up the expansionist agenda from Pericles and Cleon, but the expedition ends in 413 BC in spectacular failure. Thucydides offers two contrasting views on the Sicilian proposition: Nicias, the sober-minded Athenian general (or strategos) who is fervently opposed to interventionism. And then, after suffering a crushing defeat at the Battle of Notium at the hands of the Spartans, Alcibiades knew that his glory was at an end. Unfazed, Alcibiades somehow managed to make Athens … Sparta peddles a rumor that Athens is cursed by the goddess (thus subtly implicating Pericles as accursed). 421 BC: After the deaths of Cleon and Brasidas, the moderate Athenian leader Nicias is able to negotiate a peace – the Peace of Nicias which lasted six years. Arnold Wycombe Gomme, an influential British historian, perfectly summed up the magnitude of this ploy of Alcibiades, and just how shrewdly it was orchestrated to secure Athenian domination. Above all, Alcibiades was a great opportunist. As they appeared to contradict themselves and the aims of Sparta, Alcibiades quickly acted by denouncing their credibility, and raising suspicions about their aims. In an odd turn of fate, one of Athens’ leading statesmen was now on the side of its enemy, Sparta. He knew that it was extremely wealthy and that plundering it could further the influence of Athens as well as its wealth, not to mention his own. The older men thought that they would either subdue the places against which they were to sail, or at all events, with so large a force, meet with no disaster; those in the prime of life felt a longing for foreign sights and spectacles, and had no doubt that they should come safe home again; while the idea of the common people and the soldiery was to earn wages at the moment, and make conquests that would supply a never-ending fund to pay for the future. Seeing all was lost, Alcibiades went into exile, fleeing to Hellespontine Phrygia, another Persian satrap, where he sought refuge. Instead, Nicias gained popularity through the use of his wealth. The origins of human beings according to ancient Sumerian texts, Khnum – Ancient Egypt’s Lord of the Land of Life, Petroglyphic Features of Portable Rock Art, The Northern Mysteries Current: Futhark and Mystery Schools of the Viking Age, Floki and the Viking Discovery of Iceland. Nicias brought up the very reasonable point that to win, Athens would need a way bigger navy. However, all of this took place in the midst of intense political conflict in Athens and Alcibiades had many opponents. Historians Arnold W. Gomme and Raphael Sealey believe, and Thucydides reports, that Alcibiades was offended that the Spartans had negotiated that treaty through Nicias and La… After a couple years of fierce combat up and down the Greek peninsula, the War with Sparta ended in a stalemate. Plutarch's Nicias and Alcibiades 432 BC: Athens fortifies its new ally Corcyra against Corinthian forces at Potidaea, as well. I am a published author of over ten historical fiction novels, and I specialize in Slavic linguistics. Alcibiades rouses the passions of the Athenian public by claiming an either/or situation with regard to Sicily. Nicias was the voice for moderation in Athens. Nicias lacked the eloquence or charm to win popularity among Athenians, according to the later historian Plutarch. The assassination of Alcibiades at Phrygia by the Persians in 404 BC. Thebes attacks and defeats Plataea, with Athenian help for Plataea arriving too late. Top image: Alcibiades receiving the early part of his classical education from Socrates. Consider the way Thucydides describes the general mood of the Athenians regarding the invasion of Sicily: “Everyone fell in love with the enterprise. Alcibiades was one such man, a famous orator, a general and a strategist who became one of the most important figures of the Peloponnesian War. While the Peace was being negotiated, Alcibiades became more influential in Athens. And after the first phase was over, Alcibiades began his steady rise and established a solid political career. However, he arranged with them a secret meeting, urging the Spartan ambassadors to “renounce their diplomatic authority and allow him to assist them through his influence in the politics of Athens.” It seems that he managed to impress the Spartans and take them under his sway, thereby working against the Peace of Nicias treaty terms. Would Athenian history be different if he had led Athens’ armies? Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. In response, Athens votes to send a massive force of reinforcements led by the general Demosthenes, not be confused with the great Athenian orator and speechwriter, but the Athenian armies become separated, decimated, enslaved, starved, and both Demosthenes and Nicias are executed. Alcibiades revered and respected his teacher, perhaps even more so after he saved his life at Potidaea. At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. When the ballots were counted, Hyperbolus was the one with the most votes against him, … I tried a podcast episode on Thucydides a couple days ago, and as much as I loved the book, I felt overwhelmed trying to squeeze it into 45 mins. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. (English School / Public domain ). His influence over Persian military and financial support against the Spartans was the main reason for this. This the people used to institute from time to time when they wished to remove … Nicias and Alcibiades While the Peace was being negotiated, Alcibiades became more influential in Athens. Alcibiades' next scheme was the conquest of Sicily. Alcibiades‟ speech follows the first of Nicias, opening his response with direct mention of his rival, and self- assurance of his worthiness (16.1). With the political situation shifting, and his supporters in Sparta gone, Alcibiades’ life was soon threatened. A few Athenian prisoners escape to deliver the dismal news back home in Athens. 11. However, the Alcmeonids were already largely impoverished by that point. 435 BC: The city of Epidamnus, a colony of Corcyra located right at the entrance to the Ionic Gulf, undergoes an internal revolt and requests help from Corcyra which is denied so they request help from soft rival to Corcyra, Corinth. 407 BC: Alcibiades returns to Athens only to be exiled once again over questions of his loyalty. 3 Problems to Remember When Trying to Find Atlantis, The Peloponnesian War: Intrigues and Conquests in Ancient Greece, Sparta: An Ancient City of Fierce and Courageous Citizen Soldiers, Socrates: The Father of Western Philosophy. Pericles “The First Citizen” of Athens delivers a more tempered speech in Summer defending himself and wishing the Athenians had heeded all of his advice and not capitulated in any way to Sparta. Thucydides claims the Peloponnesian War is the greatest event or movement in human history, and the most important part of this great war takes place in Books VI-VII: The ill-fated Sicilian Expedition. The Peloponnesian War was a very important event for Greece in this era. By far the warmest advocate of the expedition was, however, Alcibiades, son of Clinias, who wished to thwart Nicias both as his political opponent and also because of the attack he had made upon him in … To do this, he created an alliance between the smaller Peloponnese city states—Elis, Mantinea, Argos and others—which thus challenged Spartan domination. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Most historical accounts argue that Sparta was behind his murder. ( Log Out /  However, it was Alcibiades that rose as a staunch advocate for Athens’ continuation of aggressive action. One of the major events of Alcibiades’ life is certainly the disastrous Sicilian Expedition . It was Alcibiades, at any rate, whom when the Aegestean and Leontine ambassadors arrived and urged the Athenians to make an expedition against Sicily, Nicias opposed, and by whose persuasions and … He was in charge of the Athenian forces engaged in the … However, this eroticism takes different forms depending upon age and station: the older men thought their army was so powerful it could not possibly be defeated, those in the prime of their lives were longing for adventure (new things, ‘foreign sights and spectacles’), and the common people and soldiery were hungry for riches and security. From here, Athens was beset by revolts, both internal and external by allies, as well as a troubling alliance between Persia and Sparta. But, on the day before the expedition sailed, there occurred the mysterious multilation of the Hermae, and Alcibiades … Sparta accepted him and, in turn, the Athenians tried him in absentia , sentenced him to death, and confiscated all of his possessions and great wealth. Without a doubt, he fled to Phrygia to secure the support of the Persians, but it was not to be. The Peloponnesian War, Thucydides. For though Alcibiades was the proper appointed person 4 to receive all Lacedæmonians when they came to Athens, and had taken particular care of those that were made prisoners at Pylos, yet, after they had obtained the peace and restitution of the captives, by the procurement chiefly of Nicias… Men from the Land of Amber: The Shocking History of the Fierce Curonians, Homer’s Iliad Casts Doubt on the Aegean Location of Troy, The Colossal Head of Decebalus, King of the Dacians, New Study Solves Flower Mystery that Baffled Charles Darwin, The Life of Khaemweset: Ancient Archaeologist And The First Egyptologist, Ground-Penetrating Radar Locates Massive Viking Burial Mounds in Norway, Ruins of the Tribal Nanzhao Culture Speak of Buddha, Ghosts of Presidents Past In The Oval Office, Ancient Anomalous Human Skeletons: Humanity Could be Much Older Than We Think. Of intense political conflict in Athens, his shrewd knowledge of his wealth, he that. 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