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date: 29 September 2023


, Athenian politician and general, c. 470–413 bce


, Athenian politician and general, c. 470–413 bce
  • Henry Dickinson Westlake
  •  and Simon Hornblower


During the period after the death of *Pericles(1) he became the principal rival of *Cleon in the struggle for political leadership. He was a moderate and opposed the aggressive *imperialism of the extreme democrats, his aim being the conclusion of peace with Sparta as soon as it could be attained on terms favourable to Athens. Elected frequently to serve as stratēgos, he led several expeditions in which, thanks to his cautious competence, he suffered no serious defeat and won no important victory. He was largely responsible for the armistice concluded in 423, and the Peace of 421 appropriately bears his name.He now favoured a policy of retrenchment and objected to the ambitious schemes of *Alcibiades, who advocated Athenian intervention in the Peloponnese and later an expedition to Sicily. Despite his disapproval Nicias was appointed with Alcibiades and *Lamachus to conduct this enterprise. Alcibiades was soon recalled, and little was accomplished in 415, but in 414 Syracuse was besieged and almost reduced to capitulation.


  • Greek History and Historiography

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