Alcibiades next advised Tissaphernes to bribe the Generals of the cities to gain valuable intelligence on their activities.  Kagan criticizes Alcibiades for failing to recognize that the large size of the Athenian expedition undermined the diplomatic scheme on which his strategy rested. His rival Nicias took command, and the expedition failed disastrously. 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.  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. The Athenians sent 100 triremes, which were supported by 50 ships from Lesbos and Chios, as well as other ships from smaller allied cities (The Peloponnesian War, 6.31). 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. The Ecclesia deposed Phrynichus and elected Pisander and ten other envoys to negotiate with Tissaphernes and Alcibiades.  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".  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. Alcibiades was made one of the three commanders of the Sicilian Expedition (the others were Nicias and Lamachus). Kagan has suggested that Thrasybulus was one of the founding members of the scheme and was willing to support moderate oligarchy, but was alienated by the extreme actions taken by the plotters. In the aftermath of the Second Persian Invasion (480-479 BCE), Athens emerged as a great power in Greece. He also advised the Spartans to take by force the Athenian fortress of Dekeleia (which they did in 413 BCE). The Sicilian Expedition to Magna Graecia was Alcibiades' idea but his enemies prevented him from commanding. 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". Ancient History Encyclopedia. , Despite his critical comments, Thucydides admits in a short digression that "publicly his conduct of the war was as good as could be desired". If accurate, this assessment underscores one of Alcibiades's greatest talents, his highly persuasive oratory.  Antiochus's ship was sunk, and he was killed by a sudden Spartan attack; the remaining ships of the decoy force were then chased headlong back toward Notium, where the main Athenian force was caught unprepared by the sudden arrival of the whole Spartan fleet. Alcibiades was blamed for negligence in leaving only a helmsman in charge of the main fleet and was not re-elected strategos. [i], In 404 BC, as he was about to set out for the Persian court, his residence was surrounded and set on fire. , 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. In fact, he roused them so much that they proposed to sail at once for Piraeus and attack the oligarchs in Athens.  In general, those were generously welcomed by the Achaemenid kings, and received land grants to support them, and ruled in various cities of Asia Minor.  When the fleet arrived in Catania, it found the state trireme Salaminia waiting to bring Alcibiades and the others indicted for mutilating the hermai or profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries back to Athens to stand trial. 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. 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. In 415, the expedition started. Alcibiades knew that this would only be possible if an oligarchy gained political control in Athens. 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.  Demosthenes defends Alcibiades's achievements, saying that he had taken arms in the cause of democracy, displaying his patriotism, not by gifts of money or by speeches, but by personal service.  Meanwhile, the Athenian force in Sicily, after a few early victories, moved against Messina, where the Generals expected their secret allies within the city to betray it to them. [d] Alcibiades had a particularly close relationship with Socrates, whom he admired and respected.  In the Constitution of the Athenians, Aristotle does not include Alcibiades in the list of the best Athenian politicians, but in Posterior Analytics he argues that traits of a proud man like Alcibiades are "equanimity amid the vicissitudes of life and impatience of dishonor". People from the “Salamis”, after unsuccessful searches, returned to Athens. Athens continued the struggle against Persia and established the League of Delos. 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.  While this was certainly his goal, it was again a means to an end, that end being to avoid prosecution upon his return to Athens. The Peloponnesians fought to prevent their ships from being towed away, and Pharnabazus's troops came up to support them.  Within a month he would escape and resume command. 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. While Alcibiades was still en route, the two fleets clashed at Abydos, where the Peloponnesians had set up their main naval base. Alcibiades' speech on the Sicilian Expedition, according to Thucydides. This ploy increased Alcibiades's standing while embarrassing Nicias, and Alcibiades was subsequently appointed General. Although the envoys were angered at the audacity of the Persian demands, they nevertheless departed with the impression that Alcibiades could have brought about an agreement among the powers if he had chosen to do so. Plutarch mentions Alcibiades's advice, writing that "he rode up on horseback and read the generals a lesson. Cartwright, Mark. [j] According to Vlachos, the expedition had nothing of the extravagant or adventurous and constituted a rational strategic decision based on traditional Athenian aspirations.  The initial decision of the ecclesia provided however for a reasonable military force, which later became unreasonably large and costly because of Nicias's demands. On the designated night the defenders left their posts, and the Athenians attacked the Peloponnesian garrison in the city and their boats in the harbor. To many readers of Thucydides the arguments adduced by Nicias against the Sicilian expedition must appear of irresistible cogency. C. 420 BCE Alcibiades was made a general or strategos (at the minimum age of 30) and therefore became a member of the strategoi, the influential military council in Athens which could propose items for the agenda of the assembly. NA., 1.11.1) composed his account of the launching of the Sicilian expedition predominantly through the content of the Redetrias1 and subsequent characterisation of the speakers: Nicias and Alcibiades. , In ancient Greece, Alcibiades was a polarizing figure. For Malcolm F. McGregor, former head of the Department of Classics in the University of British Columbia, Alcibiades was rather a shrewd gambler than a mere opportunist. ^ Kagan, The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition , 146–47. Web. At his urging, the satrap reduced the payments he was making to the Peloponnesian fleet and began delivering them irregularly. Cartwright, M. (2013, February 08). " In his trial, Socrates must rebut the attempt to hold him guilty for the crimes of his former students, including Alcibiades. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization.  Evangelos P. Fotiadis, a prominent Greek philologist, asserts that Alcibiades was "a first class diplomat" and had "huge skills". , Alcibiades seemed to assume that the "radical democracy" would never agree to his recall to Athens. Tissaphernes would not make an agreement on any terms, wanting to follow his policy of neutrality. This also Astyochus revealed to Alcibiades who informed the officers at Samos that they had been betrayed by Phrynichus.  Nevertheless, some saw an evil omen in the fact that he had returned to Athens on the very day when the ceremony of the Plynteria (the feast where the old statue of Athena would get cleansed) was being celebrated.  On the other hand, Alcibiades argued that a campaign in this new theatre would bring riches to the city and expand the empire, just as the Persian Wars had. His enemies took note of this and kept it in mind for a future occasion. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. 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. He was the last famous member of his mother's aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, which fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War. According to Thucydides, Alcibiades immediately began to do all he could with Tissaphernes to injure the Peloponnesian cause. He seized her in court and carried her home again through the crowded Agora. The portion of the citizenry that remained loyal to the Peloponnesians fought so savagely that Alcibiades issued a statement in the midst of the fighting which guaranteed their safety and this persuaded the remaining citizens to turn against the Peloponnesian garrison, which was nearly totally destroyed. 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.  According to Aristotle, the site of Alcibiades's death was Elaphus, a mountain in Phrygia. Perhaps confident he would prove his innocence, Alcibiades called for an immediate trial, but the city procrastinated and he was sent to Sicily anyway. Alcibiades was suspicious of their intentions, and asked to be allowed to stand trial immediately, under penalty of death, in order to clear his name. 13 Jan 2021. Evidently Alcibiades had gravely misjudged his standing with the satrap, and he was arrested on arrival.  This request was denied, and the fleet set sail soon after, with the charges unresolved.. , 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. In addition, according to popular opinion, the attacks on the hermai were somehow connected to an attack on the democratic system of Athens. Alcibiades, known as one of the frivolous and impious ‘golden youth’ of the aristocracy, was held as the prime suspect along with several others. 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… These factors caused the rapid growth of the Peloponnesian fleet at the expense of the Athenian. [g], The Spartan fleet suffered losses in the flight and reached the shore with the Athenians in close pursuit.  This was part of Alcibiades's plan to renew the war with Athens in Attica. Therefore, the orator was "the institution of the city talking to—and loving—itself". Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Nicias wanted to settle the quarrel between Segesta and Silenus, then walk around and rally people in Sicily. Translated in English by Arthur H. Clough (New York: Collier Press, 1909). Books This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. The army, stating that they had not revolted from the city but that the city had revolted from them, resolved to stand by the democracy while continuing to prosecute the war against Sparta. In effect then, Alcibiades was now commander-in-chief of the Athenian armed forces. , Responsibility for the defeat ultimately fell on Alcibiades, and his enemies used the opportunity to attack him and have him removed from command, although some modern scholars believe that Alcibiades was unfairly blamed for Antiochus's mistake. Later he moved to Notium, closer to the enemy at Ephesus. , Disputes over the interpretation of the treaty led the Spartans to dispatch ambassadors to Athens with full powers to arrange all unsettled matters. The aim of this policy was to win away Persian support from the Spartans, as it was still believed that Alcibiades had great influence with Tissaphernes. Then they crossed to Sicily and took Katana. Alcibiades encouraged Persia to keep on friendly terms with both Athens and Sparta, and yet at the same time Alcibiades attempted to convince the Athenian fleet based on Samos that he was the man to negotiate an Athenian-Persian alliance. 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. , Alcibiades has not been spared by ancient comedy and stories attest to an epic confrontation between Alcibiades and Eupolis resembling that between Aristophanes and Cleon.  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 Aristophanes, Athens "yearns for him, and hates him too, but wants him back".  Consequently, Alcibiades condemned himself to exile. 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.  Walter Ellis believes that his actions were outrageous, but they were performed with panache. …to send a major military expedition to Sicily against the city of Syracuse. Alcibiades was the Athenian in charge of the expedition and a crucial character from here on out in the Peloponnesian War.  After the Athenian victory at Cynossema, both fleets summoned all their ships from around the Aegean to join them for what might be a decisive next engagement.  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.. 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