Only the support of the Persian land army and the coming of night saved the Peloponnesian fleet from complete destruction. "Alcibiades."  This was regarded as the unluckiest day of the year to undertake anything of importance.  Paparrigopoulos does not accept Demosthenes's opinion, but acknowledges that the Athenian statesman could sufficiently support his case.  His performance is judged as skillful by historians, since it saved time, resources, and lives and still fully achieved his goal. His rival Nicias took command, and the expedition failed disastrously. Alcibiades, known as one of the frivolous and impious ‘golden youth’ of the aristocracy, was held as the prime suspect along with several others.  Alcibiades excited in his contemporaries a fear for the safety of the political order. In the end, Alcibiades won the vote of the assembly despite the doubts expressed by his rival Nicias, and the two generals, along with Lamados (or Lamachus), were given the equal status of strategoi autokratores (unlimited power) and sent, along with 6,000 men and 60 ships, to protect Segesta.  Thucydides is in agreement with Plutarch that the Persian fleet was at Aspendus and that Alcibiades told the troops he would bring the fleet to their side or prevent it from coming at all, but Thucydides further speculates that the real reason was to flaunt his new position to Tissaphernes and try to gain some real influence over him. Alcibiades made himself useful to his new hosts and, according to his accusers in Athens, he freely gave Athenian state secrets to the Spartans.  Alcibiades set about winning over the most influential military officers, and achieved his goal by offering them a threefold plan: the Athenian constitution was to be changed, the recall of Alcibiades was to be voted, and Alcibiades was to win over Tissaphernes and the King of Persia to the Athenian side. Seeing Athens thus beleaguered on a second front, members of the Delian League began to contemplate revolt. Mark is a history writer based in Italy.  It was at his suggestion that the size of the fleet was significantly increased from 60 ships to "140 galleys, 5,100 men at arms, and about 1300 archers, slingers, and light armed men". In the ensuing fighting, Lysander gained an entire victory. In 415 BCE Alcibiades gave a speech to persuade the Athenians to launch a military expedition to Sicily. At Samos, however, a similar coup instigated by the conspirators did not go forward so smoothly. According to Plutarch, some say that Alcibiades himself provoked his death, because he had seduced a girl belonging to a well-known family.  This request was denied, and the fleet set sail soon after, with the charges unresolved..  Diodorus and Demosthenes regard him as a great general.  With the death of Lamachus in battle some time later, command of the Sicilian Expedition fell into the hands of Nicias, admired by Thucydides (however a modern scholar has judged him to be an inadequate military leader). Perhaps confident he would prove his innocence, Alcibiades called for an immediate trial, but the city procrastinated and he was sent to Sicily anyway. This ploy increased Alcibiades's standing while embarrassing Nicias, and Alcibiades was subsequently appointed General. [g], The Spartan fleet suffered losses in the flight and reached the shore with the Athenians in close pursuit. Isocrates asserts that Alcibiades was never a pupil of Socrates. Alcibiades. …one of Socrates’ greatest admirers, Alcibiades—who had sponsored and helped to lead the Sicilian expedition—were accused of mocking a religious ceremony and revealing its sacred secrets to outsiders. " In his trial, Socrates must rebut the attempt to hold him guilty for the crimes of his former students, including Alcibiades. , In 406 BC Alcibiades set out from Athens with 1,500 hoplites and a hundred ships. Unfortunately for Athens, the Spartan commander Lysander took advantage of Alcibiades’ absence and soundly defeated the Athenian navy at Notium (or Notion) in 406 BCE. The expedition was hampered from the outset by uncertainty in its purpose and command structure—political maneuvering in Athens swelled a lightweight force of twenty ships into a massive armada, and the expedition's primary proponent, Alcibiades, was recalled from command to stand trial before the fleet even reached Sicily. 1 The Redetrias: Thucydides’ Treatment of Nicias and Alcibiades „Thucydides, the most authoritative of Greek historians‟ (Gell. The pretext for this expedition occurred in 416/415 BCE when Segesta, a city-state in the west of Sicily, asked Athens for help against local rival Selinus which was allied with Syracuse. 13 Jan 2021. The Peace of Nicias was supposed to last for fifty years, but actually, it never even started. , In spite of these valuable contributions to the Spartan cause, Alcibiades fell out of favor with the Spartan government at around this time, ruled by Agis II. During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his political allegiance several times. The expedition was despatched later in 415 BCE. Alcibiades was the expedition's leading proponent, and the leader of the war party, Nicias its leading critic and the leader of the peace party. Alcibiades, who had been charged with involvement in other religious scandals before, was called back… For the accepted account of the battle see Plutarch, The Mask of Sanity: An Attempt to Clarify Some Issues about the So-Called Psychopathic Personality. The Athenians eventually turned the League of Delos into an Empire which was possible because Athens possessed the largest n… In the same year, after taking final refuge with the Persian Pharnabazus, Alcibiades was murdered in Phrygia possibly following the intervention of Lysander and the Thirty Tyrants of Athens. , Alcibiades was not one of the Generals involved in the capture of Melos in 416–415 BC, but Plutarch describes him as a supporter of the decree by which the grown men of Melos were killed and the women and children enslaved.  One of Isocrates' speeches, delivered by Alcibiades the Younger, argues that the statesman deserved the Athenians' gratitude for the service he had given them. Nevertheless, his spiritual powers were not counterbalanced with his magnificent mind and he had the hard luck to lead a people susceptible to demagoguery. Alcibiades was also the nephew of the great Athenian statesman Pericles, and he spent his childhood in the family home of his famous uncle.  This alliance, however, would ultimately be defeated at the Battle of Mantinea. He seized her in court and carried her home again through the crowded Agora. , Kagan believes that while Alcibiades was a commander of considerable ability, he was no military genius, and his confidence and ambitions went far beyond his skills. The Ecclesia deposed Phrynichus and elected Pisander and ten other envoys to negotiate with Tissaphernes and Alcibiades. In the aftermath of the Persian defeat, Sparta for internal reasons ended its participation in the war against the Persians. He played a major role in the second half of that conflict as a strategic advisor, military commander, and politician.  Phrynichus in desperation wrote again to Astyochus, offering him a chance to destroy the Athenian fleet at Samos. , After an interlude of several months in which the Peloponnesians constructed new ships and the Athenians besieged cities and raised money throughout the Aegean, the next major sea battle took place the spring of 410 BC at Cyzicus. Alcibiades held the position of general for 15 consecutive years.  After making the threat seem imminent, Alcibiades advised the Spartans to send troops and most importantly, a Spartan commander to discipline and aid the Syracusans. Political Career In ancient Greece, Alcibiades was a polarizing figure. , Although Alcibiades's advice benefited the Persians, it was merely a means to an end; Thucydides tells us that his real motive was to use his alleged influence with the Persians to effect his restoration to Athens. Besides, why did Athens go to Sicily? , At this point, Alcibiades's scheme encountered a great obstacle. Planning the Sicilian Expedition was not smooth sailing, especially since Alcibiades had to cooperate with two other military high-ups: Nicias and Lamachus. Both leaders Nicias and Demosthenes are executed in the surrender at Syracuse. Unfortunately, right before the renowned general and his army headed off, some religious statues were damaged, nay mutalitated. Quashing a rebellion at Andros was followed by an expedition to fight the poleis of northern Ionia. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada.  Kagan acknowledges his rhetorical power, whilst Thomas Habinek, professor of Classics at the University of Southern California, believes that the orator Alcibiades seemed to be whatever his audience needed on any given occasion.  According to Habinek, in the field of oratory, the people responded to Alcibiades's affection with affection of their own. The move was devastating to Athens and forced the citizens to live within the long walls of the city year round, making them entirely dependent on their seaborne trade for food. Cartwright, Mark.  He intended to conquer Carthage and Libya, then to attack Italy and, after winning these, to seize Italy and Peloponnesus. Alcibiades' Oration before the Sicilian expedition as recorded by Thucydides, (VI, 18]); Thucydides : disclaims verbal accuracy.  Therefore, Andocides said of him that "instead of holding that he ought himself to conform with the laws of the state, he expects you to conform with his own way of life". A portion of the citizens of the city, demoralized and hungry, decided to surrender the city to Alcibiades for similar terms as the Selymbrians had received. Alcibiades argued that the mixed-race population and political instability in Sicily would make a strong and unified military response unlikely. Alcibiades soon returned and desperately tried to undo the defeat at Notium by scoring another victory, but Lysander could not be compelled to attack the fleet again. When it arrived on Sicily and the allies started to have doubts, Lamachus proposed to attack Syracuse immediately. People from the “Salamis”, after unsuccessful searches, returned to Athens. This also Astyochus revealed to Alcibiades who informed the officers at Samos that they had been betrayed by Phrynichus. Whilst occupied there, Alcibiades left Antiochos in charge of the fleet at Samos. Athens continued the struggle against Persia and established the League of Delos. 1941), "Alcibiades I, by Plato (see Appendix I)", "Comparison of Alcibiades with Coriolanus", "Alcibiades was an Athenian general in the Peloponnesian War", "Alcibiades: Aristocratic Ideal or Antisocial Personality Disorder", "Good Man, Bad Man, Traitor: Aspects of Alcibiades", "Thucydides and Civil War: the Case of Alcibiades", "Alcibiades, Athens, and the Human Condition in Thucydides' History", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Alcibiades&oldid=1000087786, Ancient Greek emigrants to the Achaemenid Empire, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Wikipedia articles with CANTIC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, "Men do not rest content with parrying the attacks of a superior, but often strike the first blow to prevent the attack being made.  K. Paparrigopoulos, a major modern Greek historian, underlines his "spiritual virtues" and compares him with Themistocles, but he then asserts that all these gifts created a "traitor, an audacious and impious man".  Central to the depiction of the Athenian statesman is Cornelius Nepos' famous phrase that Alcibiades "surpassed all the Athenians in grandeur and magnificence of living".  Consequently, Alcibiades condemned himself to exile. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 08 Feb 2013. , From here Alcibiades joined in the siege of Byzantium along with Theramenes and Thrasyllus. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. As for.  The members of the group assembled and prepared to send Pisander, one of their number, on an embassy to Athens to treat for the restoration of Alcibiades and the abolition of democracy in the city, and thus to make Tissaphernes the friend of the Athenians. He finally sailed to Gytheion to make inquiries, partly about the reported preparations of the Spartans there, and partly about the feelings in Athens about his return. According to Thucydides, Alcibiades, being "exceedingly ambitious", proposed the expedition in Sicily in order "to gain in wealth and reputation by means of his successes". Because of this defection, the Athenians condemned him to death in absentia and confiscated his property. According to Thucydides, Alcibiades immediately began to do all he could with Tissaphernes to injure the Peloponnesian cause.  In the years when he served Sparta, Alcibiades played a significant role in Athens's undoing; the capture of Decelea and the revolts of several critical Athenian subjects occurred either at his suggestion or under his supervision. Xenophon attempted to clear Socrates's name at trial by relaying information that Alcibiades was always corrupt and that Socrates merely failed in attempting to teach him morality. , Alcibiades has been depicted regularly in art, both in Medieval and Renaissance works, and in several significant works of modern literature as well. Additionally, when was the Sicilian expedition? In the case of the battle of Cyzicus, Robert J. Littman, professor at. [i], In 404 BC, as he was about to set out for the Persian court, his residence was surrounded and set on fire.  He entered the harbor full of fear till he saw his cousin and others of his friends and acquaintance, who invited him to land.  Alcibiades was aware the Spartan fleet was nearby, so he left nearly eighty ships to watch them under the command of his personal helmsman Antiochus, who was given express orders not to attack. Even if Syracuse and the other Sicilian cities had been conquered, Athens could not have held them down without suffering exhaustion ; and the men and money expended in so vain an enterprise could better have been devoted to restoring the Empire in Ghalcidice and rebuilding' the Peloponnesian coalition against Sparta. Alcibiades responded in kind, sending to the authorities at Samos a letter against Phrynichus, stating what he had done, and requiring that he should be put to death. , Presently Alcibiades sailed to Tissaphernes with a detachment of ships. After his disappearance at Thurii, Alcibiades quickly contacted the Spartans, "promising to render them aid and service greater than all the harm he had previously done them as an enemy" if they would offer him sanctuary. The commanders were Lamachus, Nicias, and Alcibiades. Lamachus, meanwhile, was a fifty-year-old career soldier, of whom the longest extant portrayal is a series of scenes in Aristophanes' The Acharnians that satirize him as a braggadoci… Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Born in Athens in 450 B.C., died in 404; at his suggestion Athens undertook the Sicilian expedition, out of which came the military career of Alcibiades, during which he was assassinated in Phrygia, pierced by a volley of arrows. To many readers of Thucydides the arguments adduced by Nicias against the Sicilian expedition must appear of irresistible cogency. Scholars have argued that had the Sicilian expedition been under Alcibiades's command instead of that of Nicias, the expedition might not have met its eventual disastrous fate.  Yale historian Donald Kagan believes that Alcibiades knowingly exaggerated the plans of the Athenians to convince the Spartans of the benefit they stood to gain from his help. 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