Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. The city proper covers 48 square miles with an estimated population of 685,094 in 2017, making it the most populous city in New England. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County as well, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999; the city is the economic and cultural anchor of a larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area, this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth-largest in the United States. Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States, founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England, it was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Siege of Boston.
Upon gaining U. S. independence from Great Britain, it continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub as well as a center for education and culture. The city has expanded beyond the original peninsula through land reclamation and municipal annexation, its rich history attracts many tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone drawing more than 20 million visitors per year. Boston's many firsts include the United States' first public park, first public or state school and first subway system; the Boston area's many colleges and universities make it an international center of higher education, including law, medicine and business, the city is considered to be a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, with nearly 2,000 startups. Boston's economic base includes finance and business services, information technology, government activities. Households in the city claim the highest average rate of philanthropy in the United States; the city has one of the highest costs of living in the United States as it has undergone gentrification, though it remains high on world livability rankings.
Boston's early European settlers had first called the area Trimountaine but renamed it Boston after Boston, England, the origin of several prominent colonists. The renaming on September 7, 1630, was by Puritan colonists from England who had moved over from Charlestown earlier that year in quest for fresh water, their settlement was limited to the Shawmut Peninsula, at that time surrounded by the Massachusetts Bay and Charles River and connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The peninsula is thought to have been inhabited as early as 5000 BC. In 1629, the Massachusetts Bay Colony's first governor John Winthrop led the signing of the Cambridge Agreement, a key founding document of the city. Puritan ethics and their focus on education influenced its early history. Over the next 130 years, the city participated in four French and Indian Wars, until the British defeated the French and their Indian allies in North America. Boston was the largest town in British America until Philadelphia grew larger in the mid-18th century.
Boston's oceanfront location made it a lively port, the city engaged in shipping and fishing during its colonial days. However, Boston stagnated in the decades prior to the Revolution. By the mid-18th century, New York City and Philadelphia surpassed Boston in wealth. Boston encountered financial difficulties as other cities in New England grew rapidly. Many of the crucial events of the American Revolution occurred near Boston. Boston's penchant for mob action along with the colonists' growing distrust in Britain fostered a revolutionary spirit in the city; when the British government passed the Stamp Act in 1765, a Boston mob ravaged the homes of Andrew Oliver, the official tasked with enforcing the Act, Thomas Hutchinson the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. The British sent two regiments to Boston in 1768 in an attempt to quell the angry colonists; this did not sit well with the colonists. In 1770, during the Boston Massacre, the army killed several people in response to a mob in Boston.
The colonists compelled the British to withdraw their troops. The event was publicized and fueled a revolutionary movement in America. In 1773, Britain passed the Tea Act. Many of the colonists saw the act as an attempt to force them to accept the taxes established by the Townshend Acts; the act prompted the Boston Tea Party, where a group of rebels threw an entire shipment of tea sent by the British East India Company into Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party was a key event leading up to the revolution, as the British government responded furiously with the Intolerable Acts, demanding compensation for the lost tea from the rebels; this led to the American Revolutionary War. The war began in the area surrounding Boston with the Battles of Concord. Boston itself was besieged for a year during the Siege of Boston, which began on April 19, 1775; the New England militia impeded the movement of the British Army. William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe the commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, led the British army in the siege.
On June 17, the British captured the Charlestown peninsula in Boston, during the Battle of Bunker Hill. The British army outnumbered the militia stationed there, but it was a Py
Xenophon of Athens was an ancient Greek philosopher, soldier and student of Socrates. As a soldier, Xenophon became commander of the Ten Thousand at about 30, with noted military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge saying of him, “the centuries since have devised nothing to surpass the genius of this warrior.” He established the precedent for many logistical operations and was among the first to use flanking maneuvers and attacks in depth. He was among the greatest commanders of antiquity; as a historian, Xenophon is known for recording the history of his time, the late-5th and early-4th centuries BC, in such works as the Hellenica, which covered the final seven years and the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War, thus representing a thematic continuation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. As one of the Ten Thousand, Xenophon participated in Cyrus the Younger's failed campaign to claim the Persian throne from his brother Artaxerxes II of Persia and recounted the events in Anabasis, his most notable history.
Like Plato, Xenophon is an authority on Socrates, about whom he wrote several books of dialogues and an Apology of Socrates to the Jury, which recounts the philosopher's trial in 399 BC. Despite being born an Athenian citizen, Xenophon was associated with Sparta, the traditional enemy of Athens, his pro-oligarchic politics, military service under Spartan generals, in the Persian campaign and elsewhere, his friendship with King Agesilaus II endeared Xenophon to the Spartans. Some of his works have a pro–Spartan bias the royal biography Agesilaus and the Constitution of the Spartans. Xenophon's works span several genres and are written in plain-language Attic Greek, for which reason they serve as translation exercises for contemporary students of the Ancient Greek language. In the Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, Diogenes Laërtius observed that, as a writer, Xenophon of Athens was known as the “Attic Muse”, for the sweetness of his diction. Xenophon was born around 431 BC, near the city of Athens, of the deme Erchia of Athens.
His father's family were a wealthy equestrian family. The history of his youth is little attested before 401 BC, when he was convinced by his Boeotian friend Proxenus to participate in the military expedition led by Cyrus the Younger against his elder brother, King Artaxerxes II of Persia. Written years after these events, Xenophon's book Anabasis is his record of the entire expedition of Cyrus against the Persians and the Greek mercenaries’ journey home. Xenophon writes that he had asked the veteran Socrates for advice on whether to go with Cyrus, that Socrates referred him to the divinely inspired Pythia. Xenophon's query to the oracle, was not whether or not to accept Cyrus' invitation, but "to which of the gods he must pray and do sacrifice, so that he might best accomplish his intended journey and return in safety, with good fortune"; the oracle told him to which gods to pray and sacrifice. When Xenophon returned to Athens and told Socrates of the oracle's advice, Socrates chastised him for asking so disingenuous a question.
Under the pretext of fighting Tissaphernes, the Persian satrap of Ionia, Cyrus assembled a massive army composed of native Persian soldiers, but a large number of Greeks. Prior to waging war against Artaxerxes, Cyrus proposed that the enemy was the Pisidians, so the Greeks were unaware that they were to battle against the larger army of King Artaxerxes II. At Tarsus the soldiers became aware of Cyrus's plans to depose the king, as a result, refused to continue. However, Clearchus, a Spartan general, convinced the Greeks to continue with the expedition; the army of Cyrus met the army of Artaxerxes II in the Battle of Cunaxa. Despite effective fighting by the Greeks, Cyrus was killed in the battle. Shortly thereafter, Clearchus was invited to a peace conference, alongside four other generals and many captains, he was betrayed and executed; the mercenaries, known as the Ten Thousand, found themselves without leadership far from the sea, deep in hostile territory near the heart of Mesopotamia, with a hostile population and armies to deal with.
They elected new leaders, including Xenophon himself. Dodge says of Xenophon's generalship, "Xenophon is the father of the system of retreat, the originator of all that appertains to the science of rear-guard fighting, he reduced its management to a perfect method. More originality in tactics has come from the Anabasis than from any dozen other books; every system of war looks to this as to the fountain-head when it comes to rearward movements, as it looks to Alexander for a pattern of resistless and intelligent advance. Necessity to Xenophon was the mother of invention, but the centuries since have devised nothing to surpass the genius of this warrior. No general possessed a grander moral ascendant over his men. None worked for the safety of his soldiers with greater ardor or to better effect." Xenophon and his men had to deal with volleys by a minor force of harassing Persian missile cavalry. Every day, these cavalry, finding no opposition from the Ten Thousand, moved cautiously closer and closer.
One night, Xenophon formed a body of archers and light cavalry. When the Persian cavalry arrived the next day, now firing within several yards, Xenophon unleashed his new cavalry in a shock charge, smashing into the stunned and confused enemy, killing many and routing the rest. Tissaphernes pursued Xenophon with a vast force
Theramenes was an Athenian statesman, prominent in the final decade of the Peloponnesian War. He was active during the two periods of oligarchic government at Athens, as well as in the trial of the generals who had commanded at Arginusae in 406 BC. A moderate oligarch, he found himself caught between the democrats on the one hand and the extremist oligarchs on the other. Successful in replacing a narrow oligarchy with a broader one in 411 BC, he failed to achieve the same end in 404 BC, was executed by the extremists whose policies he had opposed. Theramenes was a central figure in four major episodes of Athenian history, he appeared on the scene in 411 BC as one of the leaders of an oligarchic coup, but, as his views and those of the coup's other leaders diverged, he began to oppose their dictates and took the lead in replacing the narrow oligarchy they had imposed with a more broadly based one. He served as a general for several years after this, but was not reelected to that office in 407 BC.
After the Battle of Arginusae, in which he served as a trierarch, he was assigned to rescue Athenian sailors from sinking ships, but was prevented from doing so by a storm. That incident prompted a massive furore at Athens, in which Theramenes had to exonerate himself from responsibility for the failed rescue. After the Athenian defeat at Aegospotami in 405 BC, Theramenes arranged the terms by which Athens surrendered to Sparta, he became a member of the narrow oligarchic government, known as the Thirty Tyrants, that Sparta imposed on its defeated rival. As he had in 411 BC, Theramenes soon came into conflict with the more extreme members of that government. Theramenes remained a controversial figure after his death. Modern historical assessments have shifted over time; some historians have found in others a principled moderate. The details of his actions, his motivations, his character continue to be debated down to the present day. No ancient biographies of Theramenes are known, but his life and actions are well documented, due to the extensive treatment given him in several surviving works.
The Attic orator Lysias deals with him at length in several of his speeches, albeit in a hostile manner. Theramenes appears in several ancient narrative histories: Thucydides' account includes the beginnings of Theramenes' career, Xenophon, picking up where Thucydides left off, gives a detailed account of several episodes from Theramenes career. Theramenes appears in several other sources, although they do not provide as many narrative details, have been used to illuminate the political disputes which surrounded Theramenes' life and memory. Only the barest outlines of Theramenes' life outside the public sphere have been preserved in the historical record, his father, Hagnon had played a significant role in Athenian public life in the decades before Theramenes' appearance on the scene. He had commanded the group of Greek colonists who founded Amphipolis in 437–6 BC, had served as a general on several occasions before and during the Peloponnesian War, was one of the signers of the Peace of Nicias.
Hagnon's career overlapped with his son's when he served as one of the ten commissioners appointed by the government of the 400 to draft a new constitution in 411 BC. Theramenes' first appearance in the historical record comes with his involvement in the oligarchic coup of 411 BC. In the wake of the Athenian defeat in Sicily, revolts began to break out among Athens' subject states in the Aegean Sea and the Peace of Nicias fell apart. In this context, a number of Athenian aristocrats, led by Peisander and with Theramenes prominent among their ranks, began to conspire to overthrow the city's democratic government; this intrigue was initiated by the exiled nobleman Alcibiades, at that time acting as an assistant to the Persian satrap Tissaphernes. Claiming that he had great influence with Tissaphernes, Alcibiades promised to return to Athens, bringing Persian support with him, if the democracy that had exiled him were replaced with an oligarchy. Accordingly, a number of trierarchs and other leaders of the Athenian army at Samos began planning the overthrow of the democracy.
They dispatched Peisander to Athens, where, by promising that the return of Alcibiades and an alliance with Persia would follow if the Athenians would replace their democracy with an oligarchy, he persuaded the Athenian ecclesia to send him as an emissary to Alcibiades, authorized to make whatever arrangements were necessary. Alcibiades, did not succeed in persuading the satrap to ally with the Athenians, and, to hide this fact, demanded greater and greater concessions of them until they refused to comply. Disenchanted with Alcibiades but still determined to overthrow the democracy and his companions returned to Samos, where t
Peisistratos, Latinized Pisistratus, the son of Hippocrates, was a ruler of ancient Athens during most of the period between 561 and 527 BC. His legacy lies in his instituting the Panathenaic Games assigned the date of 566 B. C. and the consequent first attempt at producing a definitive version of the Homeric epics. Peisistratos' championing of the lower class of Athens, the Hyperakrioi, is an early example of populism. While in power, Peisistratos did not hesitate to confront the aristocracy, he reduced their privileges, confiscated their lands and gave them to the poor, funded many religious and artistic programs. Peisistratus was a one-time brother-in-law of Cleisthenes. Peisistratids is the common term for the three tyrants who ruled in Athens from 546 to 510 BC, namely Peisistratos and his two sons and Hippias. Peisistratos was a distant relative of Solon from northern Attica, he had made a name for himself by capturing the port of Nisaea in nearby Megara by creating a successful coup in 565 BC.
Peisistratos was backed by the Men of the poorer and majority of the population. This victory opened up the unofficial trade blockage, contributing to food shortage in Athens during the past several decades. In the period after the Megaran defeat, several political factions competed for control in the government of Athens; these groups were both economically and geographically partitioned. Pedieis: the population that resided on the plains, led by Lycurgus; these landowners produced grain. Paralioi: the population living along the coast, led by Megacles, an Alcmaeonid, the Paralioi party was not as strong as the Pedieis because they could not produce grain, as did the plainsmen. With the Megareans patrolling the sea, much of Athens' import/export power was limited. Hyperakrioi: not represented by formal party, dwelled in the hills and were by far the poorest of the Athenian population, their only production was barter in items like wool. Peisistratos organised them into the Hyperakrioi, or hill dwellers.
This party grossly outnumbered the other two parties combined. His role in the Megarian conflict gained Peisistratos popularity in Athens, but he did not have the political clout to seize power. Herodotus tells us how he intentionally wounded himself and his mules in order to demand from the Athenian people bodyguards for protection, which he received. By obtaining support from the vast number of the poorer population as well as bodyguards, he was able to seize the Acropolis and the reins of government; the Athenians were open to a tyranny similar to that under Solon – and possible stability and internal peace – and Peisistratos' ruse won him further prominence. With this in his possession, the collusion of Megacles and his party, he declared himself tyrant. Peisistratos was exiled twice during his reign; the first occurrence was circa 555 BC after the two original parties at odds with each other, joined forces and removed Peisistratos from power. Actual dates after this point become unclear. Peisistratos was exiled for 3 to 6 years during which the agreement between the Pedieis and the Paralioi fell apart.
Peisistratos returned to Athens and rode into the city in a golden chariot accompanied by a tall woman appearing to be Athena. Many returned to his side. Differing sources state. During his second exile, he gathered support from local cities and resources from the Laurion silver mines near Athens. After 10 years he returned in force, regained his tyranny, held power until his death in 527 BC; as opposed to the modern definition of a tyrant, a single ruler violent and oppressive, Peisistratos' career was a model example of tyranny, a non-heritable position taken by purely personal ability in violation of tradition or constitutional norms. We see this in remarks by both Aristotle. Herodotus, in his Histories, wrote that Peisistratos, "not having disturbed the existing magistrates nor changed the ancient laws… administered the State under that constitution of things, established, ordering it and well", while Aristotle wrote that "his administration was temperate…and more like constitutional government than a tyranny".
Peisistratos tried to distribute power and benefits rather than hoard them, with the intent of easing stress between the economic classes. The elites who had held power in the Areopagus Council were allowed to retain their archonships. For the lower classes, he cut taxes and created a band of travelling judges to provide justice for the citizens. Peisistratos enacted a popular program to promote the arts, he minted coins with Athena's symbol, although this was only one type on the so-called Wappenmünzen and not a regular device as on the standard silver currency. Under his rule were introduced two new forms of poetry, the dithyramb and tragic drama, the era saw growth in theatre and sculpture, he commissioned the permanent copying and archiving of Homer's two epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the canon of Homeric works is said to derive from this particular archiving. With Peisistratos' successful invasion and capture of Nisaea, he attained great political standing in the assembly, he met with resistance from nobles like Megacles, the son of Alcmaeon, Lycurgus, the son of Aristolaïdes, who had shared power between them.
Megacles came over to Peisistratos' side and, with his help, Peisistratos was accepted as tyra
Aristides was an ancient Athenian statesman. Nicknamed "the Just", he flourished in the early quarter of Athens' Classical period and is remembered for his generalship in the Persian War; the ancient historian Herodotus cited him as "the best and most honourable man in Athens", he received reverent treatment in Plato's Socratic dialogues. Aristides was the son of Lysimachus, a member of a family of moderate fortune. Of his early life, it is only told that he became a follower of the statesman Cleisthenes and sided with the aristocratic party in Athenian politics, he first came to notice as strategos in command of his native tribe Antiochis at the Battle of Marathon, it was no doubt in consequence of the distinction which he achieved that he was elected archon eponymos for the ensuing year. Pursuing a conservative policy to maintain Athens as a land power, he was one of the chief opponents of the naval policy proposed by Themistocles. According to Plutarch, the rivalry between Aristides and Themistocles began in their youth, when they competed for the love of a beautiful boy called Stesilaüs from Ceos.
The conflict between the two leaders ended in the ostracism of Aristides at a date variously given between 485 and 482. It is said that, on this occasion, an illiterate voter who did not recognise Aristides approached the statesman and requested that he write the name of Aristides on his voting shard to ostracize him; the latter asked. "No," was the reply, "and I do not know him, but it irritates me to hear him everywhere called'the Just'." Aristides wrote his own name on the ballot. Early in 480, Aristides profited by the decree recalling exiles to help in the defence of Athens against Persian invaders, was elected strategos for the year 480–479. In the Battle of Salamis, he gave loyal support to Themistocles, crowned the victory by landing Athenian infantry on the island of Psyttaleia and annihilating the Persian garrison stationed there. In 479, he was re-elected strategos, given special powers as commander of the Athenian forces at the Battle of Plataea, he so won the confidence of the Ionian allies that, after revolting from the Spartan admiral Pausanias, they gave him the chief command and left him with absolute discretion in fixing the contributions of the newly formed confederacy, the Delian League.
His assessment was universally accepted as equitable, continued as the basis of taxation for the greater part of the league's duration. He continued to hold a predominant position in Athens. At first he seems to have remained on good terms with Themistocles, whom he is said to have helped in outwitting the Spartans over the rebuilding of the walls of Athens, he is said by some authorities to have died at Athens, by others on a journey to the Black Sea. The date of his death is given by Nepos as 468, he lived to witness the ostracism of Themistocles, towards whom he always displayed generosity, but he died before the rise of Pericles. His estate seems to have suffered from the Persian invasions, for he did not leave enough money to defray the expenses of his burial, it is known that his descendants in the 4th century received state pensions. Herodotus is not the only trustworthy authority on Aristides' life, he is the subject of one of Plutarch's Parallel Lives, though writing during the Roman Empire, had at his disposal a range of historical sources that no longer survive, he was a conscientious scholar who weighed his evidence carefully.
Aristides is praised by Socrates in Plato's dialogues Gorgias and Meno as an exceptional instance of good leadership. In Plato's dialogue Theaetetus, Socrates refers to Aristides, the grandson of the famous Aristides, less positively, bringing him as an example of a student who leaves his care too soon and realizes that he is a fool
Thrace is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split between Bulgaria and Turkey, bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises northeastern Greece and the European part of Turkey; the word Thrace was established by the Greeks for referring to the Thracian tribes, from ancient Greek Thrake, descending from Thrāix. It referred to the Thracians, an ancient Indo-European people inhabiting Southeast Europe; the name Europe first referred to Thrace proper, prior to the term vastly extending to refer to its modern concept. The region could have been named after the principal river there, Hebros from the Indo-European arg "white river", According to an alternative theory, Hebros means "goat" in Thracian. In Turkey, it is referred to as Rumeli, Land of the Romans, owing to this region being the last part of the Eastern Roman Empire, conquered by the Ottoman Empire. In terms of ancient Greek mythology the name appears to derive from the heroine and sorceress Thrace, the daughter of Oceanus and Parthenope, sister of Europa.
The historical boundaries of Thrace have varied. The ancient Greeks employed the term "Thrace" to refer to all of the territory which lay north of Thessaly inhabited by the Thracians, a region which "had no definite boundaries" and to which other regions were added. In one ancient Greek source, the Earth is divided into "Asia, Libya and Thracia"; as the Greeks gained knowledge of world geography, "Thrace" came to designate the area bordered by the Danube on the north, by the Euxine Sea on the east, by northern Macedonia in the south and by Illyria to the west. This coincided with the Thracian Odrysian kingdom, whose borders varied over time. After the Macedonian conquest, this region's former border with Macedonia was shifted from the Struma River to the Mesta River; this usage lasted until the Roman conquest. Henceforth, Thrace referred only to the tract of land covering the same extent of space as the modern geographical region. In its early period, the Roman province of Thrace was of this extent, but after the administrative reforms of the late 3rd century, Thracia's much reduced territory became the six small provinces which constituted the Diocese of Thrace.
The medieval Byzantine theme of Thrace contained only. The largest cities of Thrace are: Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Haskovo, Komotini, Xanthi, Istanbul, Çorlu, Kırklareli and Tekirdağ. Most of the Bulgarian and Greek population are Orthodox Christians, while most of the Turkish inhabitants of Thrace are Sunni Muslims. Ancient Greek mythology provides the Thracians with a mythical ancestor Thrax, the son of the war-god Ares, said to reside in Thrace; the Thracians appear in Homer's Iliad as Trojan allies, led by Peiros. In the Iliad, another Thracian king, makes an appearance. Cisseus, father-in-law to the Trojan elder Antenor, is given as a Thracian king. Homeric Thrace was vaguely defined, stretched from the River Axios in the west to the Hellespont and Black Sea in the east; the Catalogue of Ships mentions three separate contingents from Thrace: Thracians led by Acamas and Peiros, from Aenus. Ancient Thrace was home to numerous other tribes, such as the Edones, Bisaltae and Bistones in addition to the tribe that Homer calls the “Thracians”.
Greek mythology is replete with Thracian kings, including Diomedes, Lycurgus, Tegyrius, Polymnestor and Oeagrus. Thrace is mentioned in Ovid's Metamorphoses, in the episode of Philomela and Tereus: Tereus, the King of Thrace, lusts after his sister-in-law, Philomela, he kidnaps her, holds her captive, rapes her, cuts out her tongue. Philomela manages to get free, however, she and her sister, plot to get revenge, by killing her son Itys and serving him to his father for dinner. At the end of the myth, all three turn into birds – Procne into a swallow, Philomela into a nightingale, Tereus into a hoopoe; the indigenous population of Thrace was a people called the Thracians, divided into numerous tribal groups. The region was controlled by the Persian Empire at its greatest extent, Thracian soldiers were known to be used in the Persian armies. On, Thracian troops were known to accompany neighboring ruler Alexander the Great when he crossed the Hellespont which abuts Thrace, during the invasion of the Persian Empire itself.
The Thracians did not describe themselves by name. Divided into separate tribes, the Thracians did not form any lasting political organizations until the founding of the Odrysian state in the 4th century BC. Like Illyrians, the locally ruled Thracian tribes of the mountainous regions maintained a warrior tradition, while the tribes based in the plains were purportedly more peaceable. Discovered funeral mounds in Bulgaria suggest that Thracian kings did rule regions of Thrace with distinct Thracian national identity. During this period, a subculture of celibate ascetics called the Ctistae lived in Thrace, where they served as philosophers and prophets. Sections of Thrace in the south star
Nicias, was an Athenian politician and general during the period of the Peloponnesian War. Nicias was a member of the Athenian aristocracy and had inherited a large fortune from his father, invested in the silver mines around Attica's Mt. Laurium. Following the death of Pericles in 429 BC, he became the principal rival of Cleon and the democrats in the struggle for the political leadership of the Athenian state, he opposed the aggressive imperialism of the democrats. His principal aim was to conclude a peace with Sparta as soon as it could be obtained on terms favourable to Athens, he was elected to serve as strategos for Athens during the Peloponnesian War. He led several expeditions, he was responsible for the successful negotiations which led to the Peace of Nicias in 421 BC. Following the Peace, he objected to the ambitious plans of Alcibiades for advancing Athens' interests. Despite this, Nicias was appointed to participate in the Athenian invasion of Sicily; the Athenian siege of Syracuse was nearly successful until the arrival of the Spartan general Gylippus, who turned the situation around so that the Athenians were themselves under siege.
Nicias led his forces in a desperate attempt to escape by land. However, they were cut off and he and his Athenian army were overwhelmed and defeated, his army was wiped out, though Nicias reminded Gylippus of all the times he had spared him, he was killed. Nicias inherited from his father, Niceratus, a considerable fortune, invested in the silver mines of Laurium, it is said. Plutarch states that Nicias was exceedingly generous with his wealth, using his money for charitable activities in Athens and funding many religious festivals. Nicias' rise to prominence occurred. After Pericles' death in 429 BC, Nicias became an important Athenian politician with the aristocratic party looking to him as their leader; as such, Nicias became the rival of Cleon's democratic party. Nicias lacked the eloquence or charm to win popularity among Athenians, according to the historian Plutarch. Instead, Nicias gained popularity through the use of his wealth, he funded and organized choruses for Athenian dramas, sporting events, public exhibitions, new or restored statues and temples.
Plutarch refers to an example of Nicias' generosity—his funding of the festival of Delos. Nicias funded the building of a bridge of boats between the Rhenean islands; the ships were decorated with garlands and rich tapestry. A richly dressed chorus walked across the boats. Nicias provided a 10,000 drachma fund to the Delians so they would continue this event into the future, praying on his behalf; such instructions were engraved onto a pillar. Nicias was Strategos in both 427 BC and 425 BC. During these years, Nicias was a cautious general, he avoided engaging in any important military enterprise during his time as commander. According to Plutarch this was to his benefit, as Nicias was able to avoid the worst of Athens' misfortunes, both military and political. Plutarch states that "Nicias declined all lengthy enterprises. Plutarch noted that on the battlefield, Nicias was recognized as a fair combatant, fighting as courageously as any other soldier. After fighting for a decade in the Peloponnesian War, both Athens and Sparta were exhausted.
The Athenian general, with the support of Nicias moved in the Athenian Assembly in 423 BC for an armistice with Sparta to check the progress of Sparta's most effective general, Brasidas. However, the "Truce of Laches" collapsed within a year. Brasidas proceeded to take Scione and Mende in the hope of reaching Athens and freeing Spartan prisoners. Athens sent reinforcements under Nicias. Cleon effectively ended the truce between Athens and Sparta after he resolved to rescue the town of Amphipolis in Macedonia. However, through skilful generalship by Brasidas, the Spartans routed the Athenians at the Battle of Amphipolis. Both Brasidas and Cleon were killed in the battle, thereby removing the key members of the pro-war factions on both sides. After the two generals who opposed peace, the Athenian Cleon and the Spartan Brasidas, were slain in battle, Nicias decided to seek peace between all the warring states. Nicias, Pleistoanax, King of Sparta, negotiated in 421 BC the Peace of Nicias between Athens and Sparta, which brought a temporary end to the Peloponnesian War.
The essence of the Peace of Nicias was a return to the pre-war situation: most wartime gains were to be returned. Most notably, Amphipolis would be returned to Athens, the Athenians would release the prisoners taken at Sphacteria. Temples throughout Greece would be open to worshippers from all cities, the oracle at Delphi would regain its autonomy. Athens could continue to collect tribute from the states as it had done so since the time of Aristides, but Athens could not force them to become allies. Athens agreed to come to Sparta's aid if the Helots revolted. All of Sparta's allies agreed to sign the peace, except for the Boeotians, Corinth and Megara. While the Peace was being negotiated, Alcibiades became more influential in Athens. Alcibiades opposed the Peace and argued for Athens to continue its war against Sparta and its allies, his first move was convincing Argos to form an alliance. Alcibiades first rose to prominence when he began advocating aggressive Athenian action after the signing of the Peace of Nicias