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Nicias(nī`sēəs, nĭsh`ēəs), d. 413 B.C., Athenian political leader and general. After PericlesPericles
, c.495–429 B.C., Athenian statesman. He was a member of the Alcmaeonidae family through his mother, a niece of Cleisthenes. He first came to prominence as an opponent of the Areopagus (462) and as one of the prosecutors of Cimon, whom he replaced in influence.
..... Click the link for more information. ' death he emerged as the primary rival of 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.
..... Click the link for more information. and his war party. He was a moderate democrat, not an oligarch, and he wanted peace with Sparta. In 421 he arranged the Peace of Nicias. When the expedition to SyracuseSyracuse
, Ital. Siracusa, city (1991 pop. 125,941), capital of Syracuse prov., SE Sicily, Italy, on the Ionian Sea. It has a port and is a market and tourist center. Its manufactures include machinery and processed food.
..... Click the link for more information. was urged by AlcibiadesAlcibiades
, c.450–404 B.C., Athenian statesman and general. Of the family of Alcmaeonidae, he was a ward of Pericles and was for many years a devoted attendant of Socrates. He turned to politics after the Peace of Nicias (421 B.C.
..... Click the link for more information. , Nicias tried to discourage it, but Athens nevertheless made him commander, along with Alcibiades and Lamachus. Alcibiades was soon recalled, and Lamachus died, leaving the expedition in Nicias's care. Nicias vacillated in his policies in the siege. When the Spartan GylippusGylippus
, fl. 415–404 B.C., Spartan commander in the Peloponnesian War. He was sent to help Syracuse in its defense against Athenian attack, and it was his resourcefulness and skill combined with Athenian ineptitude that brought about one of the greatest defeats Athens
..... Click the link for more information. arrived, and only retreat from Syracuse was feasible, Nicias refused to allow a retreat until it was too late. The Athenian fleet and expedition were shortly overwhelmed by the Syracusans, and Nicias was captured in a hasty retreat on land and subsequently executed.
Born circa 469 B.C. in Attica; died 413 B.C. in Syracuse. Athenian statesman; rich slaveholder.
After the death of Pericles, Nicias headed the moderate-democratic movement that favored an end to the Peloponnesian War (431–404 B.C.). The peace concluded between the Delian and Peloponnesian leagues in 421 is named after Nicias. As strategus, Nicias directed successful military operations from 427 to 421 against Megara, Melos, Boeotia, Corinth, and Cythera and in Chalcidice. In 415, after the resumption of the war, Nicias was chosen by the popular assembly to head an Athenian military expedition to Syracuse, which in the autumn of 413 ended in the rout of Athens’ army and navy. Nicias was captured and executed by the Syracusans.