Brasidas


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Brasidas

(bră`sĭdəs), d. 422 B.C., Spartan general in the Peloponnesian WarPeloponnesian War
, 431–404 B.C., decisive struggle in ancient Greece between Athens and Sparta. It ruined Athens, at least for a time. The rivalry between Athens' maritime domain and Sparta's land empire was of long standing. Athens under Pericles (from 445 B.C.
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. In 424 B.C. he saved MégaraMégara
, town (1991 pop. 25,061), E central Greece, on the Saronic Gulf. Wine, olive oil, and flour are produced. It is the site of the ancient town of Mégara, the capital of Mégaris, a small district between the Gulf of Corinth and the Saronic Gulf.
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 from Athenian attack, and then conducted an able campaign in Thrace, capturing AmphipolisAmphipolis
, ancient city of Macedonia, on the Strymon (Struma) River near the sea and NE of later Thessaloníki. The place was known as Ennea Hodoi [nine ways] before it was settled and was of interest because of the gold and silver and timber of Mt.
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 and other cities and greatly weakening the Athenian cause through his military successes and his eloquence and charm. In 422 he routed an Athenian army under CleonCleon
, d. 422 B.C., Athenian political leader. The son of a tanner, he had little education; nevertheless, he was a gifted speaker. He began his political career with a series of relentless attacks on Pericles. He was antagonistic to Sparta and successfully opposed (425 B.C.
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 that was attacking Amphipolis, but both he and Cleon were killed. Brasidas was one of the greatest Spartan commanders.
References in classic literature ?
To him we owe the Brasidas, the Dion, the Epaminondas, the Scipio of old, and I must think we are more deeply indebted to him than to all the ancient writers.
Although the play was firstly staged in 421 BC, at the great Dionysia -- a few months after the death of Cleon and the Spartan general Brasidas -- its themes and reflections on how all human beings desire peace and a life free of war and bloodshed are still very relevant today.
23) It was that ability that marks the extraordinary career of the Spartan general Brasidas, who led a Helot army--which by itself is an extraordinary comment on his leadership abilities, given the treatment the Spartans inflicted on their Helot serfs--from the Peloponnesus in a campaign against the Mhenians.
12) None of the early sources on the cult of Neoptolemos describe him as unjustly killed, nor is he portrayed as a virtuous hero like Battos of Cyrene, nor as a military hero such as Brasidas in Thucydides.
Students of military leadership find the examples of Pericles, Brasidas, Demosthenes, and even Alcibiades timeless illustrations of leadership, character, and strategy.
The carnage that Darius and Xerxes once could only hope for at Marathon and Salamis, Pericles, Cleon, Alcibiades, Brasidas, Gylippus, and Lysander a half century later brought about, killing more of their own people in a year than had the Persians in a decade.
Cleon and Brasidas, Nicias and Lysander are not silly squabbling ancient peoples in need of modern enlightenment, but men of universal appetites to be taken on their own terms, just like us whose occasional crackpot ideas, fears, jealousies, and sins can sometimes--if the thin veneer of civilization is suddenly stripped away--lead into something absolutely godawful.
By examining Thucydides' extensive, but too often ignored, accounts of the Spartan regime, the statesmen Pericles, Brasidas, Hermocrates, Nicias, and Alcibiades, the Corcyrean civil war, and the debate between Cleon and Diodotus, this volume reminds us not only that there is much more to Thucydides' thought than the frequently excerpted arguments presented in the Melian Dialogue, but that one cannot even adequately understand those justly famous arguments without a comprehensive study of the rest of the book.
Had they succeeded, they would have reversed much of the result of the First Peloponnesian War (and prevented Brasidas from leading his daring Spartan expedition to Chalcidice).
Leading a ragtag force of elite Spartan soldiers and Helots who had been promised freedom for their service, Brasidas, the most daring and innovative Spartan general of the war, managed to make his way from the Peloponnesus through barbarian-controlled Thessaly and Macedonia to Chalcidice, where Athens had many important tribute-paying allies, silver mines, and lumber yards to supply wood for ships.
With reference to the death in battle of the Athenian general Cleon and his Spartan counterpart Brasidas at Amphipolis in 422 BC, Heller remarks:
Both Brasidas and Cleon embraced war: the former because it would enhance his reputation; the latter because it would cover his defects.