alcibiades sicilian expedition

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Historians Arnold W. Gomme and Raphael Sealey believe, and Thucydides reports,[26] that Alcibiades was offended that the Spartans had negotiated that treaty through Nicias and Laches, overlooking him on account of his youth. [g][96], The Spartan fleet suffered losses in the flight and reached the shore with the Athenians in close pursuit. [169] Hence, he declares in Apology: "I have never been anyone's teacher". The men are starving. According to Thucydides, the Athenian force was the largest ever launched by a Greek city. [47] Alcibiades told the heralds that he would follow them back to Athens in his ship, but in Thurii he escaped with his crew; in Athens he was convicted in absentia and condemned to death. [8] After the death of Cleinias at the Battle of Coronea (447 BC), Pericles and Ariphron became his guardians. Plutarch explains that Androcles, a political leader, used false witnesses who accused Alcibiades and his friends of mutilating the statues, and of profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries. To many readers of Thucydides the arguments adduced by Nicias against the Sicilian expedition must appear of irresistible cogency. The Sicilian Expedition was an Athenian military expedition to Sicily, which took place from 415–413 BC during the Peloponnesian War between the Athenian empire, or the Delian League, on one side and Sparta, Syracuse and Corinth on the other. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Alcibiades was born in 451/450 BCE, the son of the Athenian politician Cleinias, and his mother Deinomache was from the ancient aristocratic family the Alkmeonidai. Abstract. Alcibiades, Nicias, and Lamachus sailed to Sicily with 140 triremes. In his speech Alcibiades predicted (over-optimistically, in the opinion of most historians) that the Athenians would be able to recruit allies in the region and impose their rule on Syracuse, the most powerful city of Sicily. Martino Fine Books; 2 edition (February 18, 2015) (original ed. [74], Despite these events, Pisander and the other envoys of the conspirators arrived at Athens and made a speech before the people. Alcibiades (or Alkibiades) was a gifted and flamboyant Athenian statesman and general whose shifting of sides during the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BCE earned him a reputation for cunning and treachery. [53] 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. Most of the officers in the Athenian fleet accepted the plan and welcomed the prospect of a narrower constitution, which would allow them a greater share in determining policy. [31] This alliance, however, would ultimately be defeated at the Battle of Mantinea. [150] For his part, David Gribble argues that Alcibiades's actions against his city were misunderstood and believes that "the tension which led to Alcibiades's split with the city was between purely personal and civic values". [110] This was regarded as the unluckiest day of the year to undertake anything of importance. [59][60] An alternate account asserts that Alcibiades took advantage of King Agis' absence with the Spartan Army in Attica and seduced his wife, Timonassa. Alcibiades' Oration before the Sicilian expedition as recorded by Thucydides, (VI, 18) d[›]; Thucydides disclaims verbal accuracy. [4][5] Alcibiades' mother was Deinomache, the daughter of Megacles, head of the powerful Alcmaeonid family, and could trace her family back to Eurysaces and the Telamonian Ajax. Hermai (statues with a head of the god Hermes and a large erect phallus) were damaged across the city. [76] The group was convinced that Alcibiades could not deliver his side of the bargain without demanding exorbitantly high concessions of them and they accordingly abandoned their plans to restore him to Athens. [139] He also appears as a character in several Socratic dialogues (Symposium, Protagoras, Alcibiades I and II, as well as the eponymous dialogues by Aeschines Socraticus and Antisthenes). Written by Mark Cartwright, published on 08 February 2013 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Text on page 257, image on the following page. According to Thucydides, only one of the Athenian Generals at Samos, Phrynichus, opposed the plan and argued that Alcibiades cared no more for the proposed oligarchy than for the traditional democracy. He favored unconventional tactics, frequently winning cities over by treachery or negotiation rather than by siege. ^ Kagan, The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition, 143. After their victory, Alcibiades and Thrasybulus began the siege of Chalcedon in 409 BC with about 190 ships. [135] Sharon Press of Brown University points out that Xenophon emphasizes Alcibiades's service to the state, rather than the harm he was charged with causing it. According to Thucydides, taking the main city of the island when it … Alcibiades is not held responsible by Thucydides for the destruction of Athens, since "his habits gave offence to every one, and caused the Athenians to commit affairs to other hands, and thus before long to ruin the city". [6] Alcibiades thereby, through his mother, belonged to the powerful and controversial family of the Alcmaeonidae; the renowned Pericles and his brother Ariphron were Deinomache's cousins, as her father and their mother were siblings. Related Content [50] The Spartans granted this request and received him among them. [160], 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. Alcibiades tried to convince the satrap that it was in Persia's interest to wear both Athens and Sparta out at first, "and after docking the Athenian power as much as he could, forthwith to rid the country of the Peloponnesians". [133] Diodorus and Demosthenes regard him as a great general. [84] According to the historian, Alcibiades had long known that Tissaphernes never meant to bring the fleet at all.[86]. During this period, Alcibiades succeeded in raising money from Caria and the neighboring area, with which he was able to pay the rowers and gain their favor. Additionally the Spartans had replaced Mindarus with Lysander, a very capable admiral. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. [28], 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. Books During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his political allegiance several times. Magna Graeciaby Future Perfect At Sunrise (CC BY-SA). Kagan asserts that Alcibiades had not yet acquired his "legendary" reputation, and the Spartans saw him as "a defeated and hunted man" whose policies "produced strategic failures" and brought "no decisive result". The Spartans and Persians, overwhelmed by the arrival of multiple forces from several directions, were defeated and driven off, and the Athenians captured all the Spartan ships which were not destroyed. Sicilian expedition was decided on but Nicias, the man of peace was appointed as one of the three commanders to work as a brake in the wheel of Alci­biades. At the first assembly that authorized the expedition, the Athenians named Nicias, Alcibiades, and Lamachus as its commanders; that decision remained unchanged at the second assembly. The situation at Notium, however, was radically different from that at Cyzicus; the Athenians possessed no element of surprise, and Lysander had been well informed about their fleet by deserters. As Alcibiades had suspected, his absence emboldened his enemies, and they began to accuse him of other sacrilegious actions and comments and even alleged that these actions were connected with a plot against the democracy. [84] It was primarily Alcibiades, along with Thrasybulus, who calmed the people and showed them the folly of this proposal, which would have sparked civil war and led to the immediate defeat of Athens. Thus Alcibiades, instead of going straight home, first went to Samos to pick up 20 ships and proceeded with them to the Ceramic Gulf where he collected 100 talents. Because of this defection, the Athenians condemned him to death in absentia and confiscated his property. In 415 BCE Alcibiades gave a speech to persuade the Athenians to launch a military expedition to Sicily. Thucydides, "The History of the Peloponnesian Wars", 5.43. He failed to take Andros and then he went on to Samos. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. Plutarch mentions Alcibiades's advice, writing that "he rode up on horseback and read the generals a lesson. Alcibiades, known as one of the frivolous and impious ‘golden youth’ of the aristocracy, was held as the prime suspect along with several others. Mindarus is dead. [72], Phrynichus, fearing that Alcibiades if restored would avenge himself upon him for his opposition, sent a secret letter to the Spartan Admiral, Astyochus, to tell him that Alcibiades was ruining their cause by making Tissaphernes the friend of the Athenians, and containing an express revelation of the rest of the intrigue. [97] A short time later Sparta petitioned for peace, but their appeals were ultimately rejected by the Athenians.[100]. Other victories included the defeat of the Persian Satrap Pharnabazos at Abydos and the taking of Byzantium. In 407 BCE Alcibiades returned to Athens in triumph, the old charges against him were dropped, and as a reward for his efforts he was made strategos autokrater once again, but this time above all other generals, the only such instance in the history of Athens. In the ensuing fighting, Lysander gained an entire victory. Retrieved from …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. At his urging, the satrap reduced the payments he was making to the Peloponnesian fleet and began delivering them irregularly. Kagan argues that at Notium, Alcibiades committed a serious error in leaving the fleet in the hands of an inexperienced officer, and that most of the credit for the brilliant victory at Cyzicus must be assigned to Thrasybulus. [38] For his part, Angelos Vlachos, a Greek Academician, underlines the constant interest of Athens for Sicily from the beginning of the war. [79] Further, the Athenian troops at Samos formed themselves into a political assembly, deposed their generals, and elected new ones, including Thrasybulus and Thrasyllus. With one exception, Alcibiades's role in the war ended with his command. In the aftermath of the Second Persian Invasion (480-479 BCE), Athens emerged as a great power in Greece. 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. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. [159] He intended to conquer Carthage and Libya, then to attack Italy and, after winning these, to seize Italy and Peloponnesus. 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. 13 Jan 2021. [114] These were likely the most capable commanders Athens had at the time, and their removal would help lead to the Athenian surrender only two years later, after their complete defeat at Aegospotami.[120]. In 417 BC, an ostracism was held at Athens, but the Alcibiades and Nicias combined their forces to ensure the exile of the minor politician Hyperbolus , since neither of them could be sure exiling the other. [43], One night during preparations for the expedition, the hermai, heads of the god Hermes on a plinth with a phallus, were mutilated throughout Athens. [34] An oration urging Alcibiades' ostracism, "Against Alcibiades" (historically attributed to the orator Andocides but not in fact by him), alleges that Alcibiades had a child by one of these enslaved women. Hatzfeld’s study includes chapters on Alcibiades’ family, his first successes and disappointments, the heights of his prestige, his imperialistic vision of the Sicilian Expedition, his condemnation for sacrilege, his machinations among the Spartans, Persians, and the Athenians in Ionia, his military victories, his triumphant return to Athens, his final fall from power, and his violent death. [87] Plutarch tells us that, although his recall had already been passed on motion of Critias, a political ally of his, Alcibiades was resolved to come back with glory. [78] This fiasco at the court of Tissaphernes, however, put an end to the negotiations between the conspirators and Alcibiades. But Alcibiades’ enemies chose the moment of the departure of the expedition as most suited to blame him for profanation of Mysteries as also for the mutiliation of the busts of Hermes. His bride brought with her a large dowry, which significantly increased Alcibiades' already substantial family fortune. Thucydides reprehends the Athenian statesman for his political conduct and motives. [138] Paparrigopoulos does not accept Demosthenes's opinion, but acknowledges that the Athenian statesman could sufficiently support his case. [32], Somewhere in the years 416–415 BC, a complex struggle took place between Hyperbolos on one side and Nicias and Alcibiades on the other. [h] In any case, the Generals of the Athenians, "considering that in case of defeat the blame would attach to them and that in case of success all men would attribute it to Alcibiades", asked him to leave and not come near the camp ever again. [107], Therefore, he finally sailed into Piraeus where the crowd had gathered, desiring to see the famous Alcibiades. [172], Timeline of Alcibiades' life (c. 450–404 BC), Defection to Achaemenid Empire in Asia Minor. 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 was made one of the three commanders of the Sicilian Expedition (the others were Nicias and Lamachus). [154], Despite his critical comments, Thucydides admits in a short digression that "publicly his conduct of the war was as good as could be desired". Alcibiades held the position of general for 15 consecutive years. Alcibiades was born in Athens. Political Career In ancient Greece, Alcibiades was a polarizing figure. Given that punishment was the death sentence, it is perhaps not surprising that Alcibiades at this point fled to Sparta rather than face the music at home. Thucydides records several speeches which he attributes to Pericles; but Thucydides acknowledges that: "it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in one's memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said.". "[168] In his trial, Socrates must rebut the attempt to hold him guilty for the crimes of his former students, including Alcibiades. [76] As Kagan points out, Tissaphernes was a prudent leader and had recognized the advantages of wearing each side out without direct Persian involvement. He played a major role in the second half of that conflict as a strategic advisor, military commander, and politician. According to Plutarch, the supposed purpose of this mission was to stop the Persian fleet from coming to the aid of the Peloponnesians. Alcibiades argued that the mixed-race population and political instability in Sicily would make a strong and unified military response unlikely. However, Alcibiades soon fell out of favour at Sparta, in particular with King Agis, and so he joined the Persian Satrap Tissaphernes (Persia had been giving aid to Sparta so that they might build a fleet to rival Athens). [62], On his arrival in the local Persian court, Alcibiades won the trust of the powerful satrap and made several policy suggestions which were well received. Besides, why did Athens go to Sicily? [30] The representatives agreed and, impressed with Alcibiades, they alienated themselves from Nicias, who genuinely wanted to reach an agreement with the Spartans. ", "Our party was that of the whole people, our creed being to do our part in preserving the form of government under which the city enjoyed the utmost greatness and freedom, and which we had found existing. He was the last famous member of his mother's aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, which fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War. [115] In the meanwhile Tissaphernes had been replaced by Cyrus the Younger (son of Darius II of Persia) who decided to financially support the Peloponnesians. The Athenians eventually turned the League of Delos into an Empire which was possible because Athens possessed the largest n… The cities of Corinth and Thebes, as well as others, refused to be bound by it. This was in direct contradiction to what they had said the day before, and Alcibiades seized on this opportunity to denounce their character, cast suspicion on their aims, and destroy their credibility. [88][90] The Persian satrap Pharnabazus, who had replaced Tissaphernes as the sponsor of the Peloponnesian fleet, moved his land army to the shore to defend the ships and sailors who had beached their ships. People from the “Salamis”, after unsuccessful searches, returned to Athens. [62] Alcibiades next advised Tissaphernes to bribe the Generals of the cities to gain valuable intelligence on their activities. Evidently Alcibiades had gravely misjudged his standing with the satrap, and he was arrested on arrival. Nor can you look at inaction from the same point of view as others, unless you are prepared to change your habits and make them like theirs. 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",, 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. 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