Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. 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 writes that "it was a grandiose scheme for an Athenian general at the head of a mainly Peloponnesian army to march through the Peloponnese cocking a snook at Sparta when her reputation was at its lowest.” But, alas, no matter how shrewd the plan was, it failed. In the official meeting between the Spartan and Athenian ambassadors, the former changed their story, as agreed upon in their secret meeting with Alcibiades. However, it was Alcibiades that rose as a staunch advocate for Athens’ continuation of aggressive action. Nicias was agai… With characteristic ingenuity Alcibiades arrived at a compromise with Nicias… In his dealings with the Athenian people, Nicias had none of Pericles’ overconfidence, the demagogue Cleon’s colourful buffoonery, or Alcibiades’ bad-boy glamour. Instead, Nicias gained popularity through the use of his wealth. On numerous occasions, especially in Plato’s writings, it is stated that Alcibiades and Socrates had a close relationship. Alcibiades‟ speech follows the first of Nicias, opening his response with direct mention of his rival, and self- assurance of his worthiness (16.1). 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. Socrates and Alcibiades: Plato's Drama of Political Ambition and Philosophy. 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. A rising and powerful love of Athens or a fervent patriotism arises among the Athenians. 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. In 432 BC, it is written that he took part in the Battle of Potidaea, against the Corinthians. Messiah on Temple Mount: Are We Nearing the End of Time? Through this ploy he emerged a shrewd and protective statesman, while Nicias, the man behind the hasty original treaty was embarrassed. (Walter Crane / Public domain ). 407 BC: Alcibiades returns to Athens only to be exiled once again over questions of his loyalty. This war itself became an event that shook the Greek world of that era, shaping the future of this nation for centuries to come, and sealing the fate of Athens. When the ballots were counted, Hyperbolus was the one with the most votes against him, … The Sicilian Expedition represents the turning point in the war. In the following years, the dominant player in the Athenian democracy was Alcibiades, a relative of Pericles and in fact the successor of Cleon as a hawk. We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives. 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. In … Alcibiades rouses the passions of the Athenian public by claiming an either/or situation with regard to Sicily. 404 BC: Athens finally surrenders to Spartan general Lysander who defeated the Athenian navy and claimed the Dardanelles, a chief source of Athenian grain. University of Pennsylvania Press. This the people used to institute from time to time when they wished to remove … In the following year he was present at the Battle of Delium where apparently he returned the favor, saving Socrates from demise. 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. In 418 BC, at the First Battle of Mantinea, the Spartans crushed the allied city states headed by Athens. Meanwhile, the Sicilian Expedition ends in disaster as the Athenian invasion fails to claim ground, and all the retreating Athenians are slaughtered in Syracuse. Alcibiades’ triumphant return to Athens surrounded by his countless fans. 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. (English School / Public domain ). Nicias, the cautious commander, wrought peace with Sparta, which Alcibiades, the Spartan proxenos, undid. Plutarch's Nicias and Alcibiades: Newly Translated, … Also the Delian League was created under the leadership of Athens. During the time he spent with the Spartans, Alcibiades proved to be a great boon to them as well. The powerful orator Pericles rises in Athens who is vehemently opposed to any conciliation with Sparta, in contrast to Archidamus King of Sparta, who urges caution, tact, and discipline. Alcibiades revered and respected his teacher, perhaps even more so after he saved his life at Potidaea. It is argued that Alcibiades never wanted the attack to be so massive, but it was, nevertheless. While the Peace was being negotiated, Alcibiades became more influential in Athens. 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. But before his opponents could assassinate him, he fled and deflected to Tissaphernes, a Persian satrap state. the old and young, rich and poor are all united in support of the expedition as is necessary for an empire), while the skeptics are forced into silence for fear of being unpatriotic. The most enthusiastic supporter of the expedition was Alcibiades, the son of Cleinias; he was determined to oppose Nicias, who was … 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. Alcibiades first rose to prominence when he began advocating aggressive Athenian action after the signing of the Peace of Nicias. As a general, Alcibiades was present at some important battles of the Peloponnesian War. His father Cleinias was also a prominent man during that era, distinguishing himself in the Persian Wars even before his son’s birth. Consider the way Thucydides describes the general mood of the Athenians regarding the invasion of Sicily: “Everyone fell in love with the enterprise. Change ). However, he proceeded to escape with his associates, and soon after defected to the Spartan realm. Alcibiades was born around 450 BC into the Alcmaeonids family, a powerful aristocratic family of Athens. However, time proved to be against Alcibiades, and his good relations with Sparta soon declined. 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 … It is clear that Alcibiades possessed great diplomatic skills and even charisma. 432 BC: Athens fortifies its new ally Corcyra against Corinthian forces at Potidaea, as well. The choice is between conquering or being conquered, though the idea that Athens is facing imminent conquest is absurd. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. 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. Both leaders Nicias and Demosthenes are executed in the surrender at Syracuse. Strategically, Alcibiades instigated the creation of a fort at Decelea, which was located within view of Athens. A coin showing Tissaphernes the satrap whom Alcibiades also advised. His first move was convincing Argos to form an alliance. During the debates on the undertaking, Nicias was vehemently opposed to Athenian intervention, explaining that the campaign would be very costly and att… When he departed Athens to lead Athens’ armies, more ridiculous claims were made, slandering his reputation. 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