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date: 30 November 2022



  • Simon Hornblower


Alcidas, Spartan commander in the early part of the *Peloponnesian War, failed to help *Mytilene in its revolt from Athens 428–7 and treated prisoners brutally (Thuc. 3. 17, 29–33) so creating doubts about Sparta's role as ‘liberator’ (the role: Thuc. 2. 8). He reappears as commander at *Corcyra, though with *Brasidas as ‘adviser’ (3. 69–80); and finally as a *founder of *Heraclea (4) in Trachis, perhaps chosen because of his religiously appropriate name (Alcides = *Heracles), though *Thucydides (2) characteristically does not say so. But the colony failed, not least because of Spartan harshness—another hit at Alcidas (Thuc. 3. 92–3, echoing 3. 32. 2, cf. 5. 52; Thucydides' repeated language makes the point that behaviour like Alcidas' damaged Sparta's image).


  • Greek History and Historiography

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