A force landed under Nicias in 4 2 4, and put most of them to the sword.
After the conclusion of the peace of Nicias (421 B.C.) he marched against the Argives in defence of Epidaurus, and after skilful manoeuvring surrounded the Argive army, and seemed to have victory within his grasp when he unaccountably concluded a four months' truce and withdrew his forces.
In the Peloponnesian war, Nicias occupied the island, but in 421 it was recovered by Sparta.
A portion of another, that of Nicias, was used to make the late Roman gate of the Acropolis.
There is no clear evidence as to when the building was begun, some placing it among the temples projected by Pericles, others assigning it to the time after the peace of Nicias in 421 B.C. The work was interrupted by the stress of the Peloponnesian War, but in 409 B.C. a commission was appointed to make a report on the state of the building and to undertake its completion, which was carried out in the following year.
Yet he is, like Nicias and Phocion, the official man, head of a board of fifteen generals, which he persuades the people to cut down to three.
When the Athenian fleet under Nicias, Alcibiades and Lamachus was at Rhegium in Italy, after the discovery of the trick that had been played by the Segestans, the question for the commanders was whether they should seek to strengthen themselves by fresh alliances on the spot or strike the blow at once.
Athens had the prize within her grasp, and she lost it wholly through the persistent dilatoriness and blundering of Nicias (q.v.).
At this point Nicias showed considerable military skill.
The citizens began to think of surrender, and Nicias was so confident that he neglected to push his advantages.
The second act of the drama may be said to open with the irretrievable blunder of Nicias in letting the Spartan Gylippus first land in Sicily, and then march at the head of a small army, partly levied on the spot, across the island, and enter Syracuse by way of Epipolae, past Euryelus.
The military skill of Gylippus enabled the Syracusan militia to meet the Athenian troops on equal terms, to wrest from them their fortified position on Plemmyrium, which Nicias had occupied as a naval station shortly after Gylippus's arrival, and thus to drive them to keep their ships on the low beach between their double walls, to take Labdalum, an Athenian fort on the northern edge of Epipolae, and make a third counter-work right along Epipolae in a westerly direction, to the north of the circular fort.
The despatch of this expedition seems to prove an almost blind confidence in Nicias, whose request to be superseded the Athenian people refused to grant.
(It must be remembered that the Spartans were all this time in occupation of Deceleia; see Peloponnesian War.) But Nicias could not bring himself to face the Athenian people at home, nor could he be prevailed on to retire promptly to some position on the coast, such as Catania or Thapsus.
The broken and demoralized army, its ranks thinned by fever and sickness, at last began its hopeless retreat, attempting to reach Catania by a circuitous route; but, harassed by the numerous Syracusan cavalry and darters, after a few days of dreadful suffering, it was forced to lay down its arms. The Syracusans sullied the glory of their triumph by putting Nicias and Demosthenes to death, and huddling their prisoners into their stonequarries - a living death, dragged out, for the allies from Greece proper to the space of seventy days, for the Athenians themselves and the Greeks of Sicily and Italy for six months longer.
In course of time admission to the rank of a hero became far more common, and was even accorded to the living, such as Lysimachus in Samothrace and the tyrant Nicias of Cos.
In the time following the peace of Nicias the Mantineians, whose attempts at expansion beyond Mount Maenalus were being foiled by Sparta, formed a powerful alliance with Argos, Elis and Athens (420), which the Spartans, assisted by Tegea, broke up after a pitched battle in the city's territory (418).
Yet if he judges too favourably the leaders of the national party in England on the eve of the Norman Conquest, that is a small matter to set against the insight which he exhibits in writing of Aratus, Sulla, Nicias, William the Conqueror, Thomas of Canterbury, Frederick the Second and many more.
This importance is shown by the fact that, in the peace of Nicias (421 B.C.), its restoration to Athens is made the subject of a special provision, and that about 4 17, this provision not having been observed, at least one expedition was made by Nicias with a view to its recovery.
Though slightly estranged from Sparta after the peace of Nicias, they never abated their enmity against their neighbours.
The desire to link famous names is illustrated by the ancient ascription to Lysias of a rhetorical exercise purportingto be a speech in which the captive general Nicias appealed.
On the Property of the Brother of Nicias, xviii., 395 B.C. III.
It may be divided into three main periods - (1) from 431 to 421 (Lysias calls it the " Archidamian " War), when the Peace of Nicias, not merely formally, but actually produced a cessation of hostilities; (2) from 421 till the intervention of Sparta in the Sicilian War; during these years there was no " Peloponnesian War," and there were several years in which there was in reality no fighting at all: the Sicilian expedition was in fact a side issue; (3) from 413 to 404, when fighting was carried on mainly in the Aegean Sea (Isocrates calls this the " Decelean " War).
In the autumn of the year Nicias fortified Minoa at the mouth of the harbour of Megara.
In the summer of 426 Nicias led a predatory expedition along the north-west coast without achieving any positive victory.
This was not only the worst disaster which befell any powerful state up to the peace of Nicias (as Thucydides says), but was a serious blow to Corinth, whose trade on the West was, as we have seen, one of the chief causes of the war.
The doubling of the tribute in 425 pressed hardly on the allies (see Delian League): Nicias failed in a plot with the democratic party in Megara to seize that town; and the brilliant campaigns of Brasidas (q.v.) in the north-east, culminating in the capture of Amphipolis (422), finally destroyed the Athenian hopes of recovering their land empire, and entirely restored the balance of success and Spartan prestige.
Such a peace, giving Sparta everything and Athens nothing but Sparta's bare alliance, was due to the fact that Nicias and Alcibiades were both seeking Sparta's friendship. At this time the Fifty Years' Truce between Sparta and Argos was expiring.
These unstable combinations were soon after upset by Alcibiades himself, who, having succeeded in displacing Nicias as strategus in 419, allowed Athenian troops to help in attacking Epidaurus.
For a cause not easy to determine Alcibiades was defeated by Nicias in the election to the post of strategus in the next year, and the suspicions of the Peloponnesian coalition were roused by the inadequate assistance sent by Athens, which arrived too late to assist Argos when the Spartan king Agis marched against it.
By combining the evidence of Plutarch (in his comparison of Nicias and Crassus), Thuc. v.
70), we can scarcely doubt that there were expeditions in 418 (Euthydemus) and the summer of 417 (Nicias), and that in the winter of 417 a blockading squadron under Chaeremon was despatched.
This policy - which was presumably that of Nicias in opposition to Alcibiades - having failed, the way was cleared for a reassertion of that policy of western conquest which had always had advocates from Themistocles onward in Athens,' and was part of the democratic programme.
Of Nicias and the loss of thousands of men and hundreds of ships, was a blow from which Athens never recovered (see under Syracuse and Sicily).
During the early Peloponnesian War Argos remained neutral; after the break-up of the Spartan confederacy consequent upon the peace of Nicias the alliance of this state, with its unimpaired resources and flourishing commerce, was courted on all sides.
When these two powers quarrelled after the peace of Nicias it remained loyal to the Spartans; but the latter thought it prudent to stiffen the oligarchic government against a nascent democratic movement.
Of Macedon, who dedicated it about zoo B.C. This avenue must have formed the usual approach for sacred embassies and processions; but it is probable that the space to the south was not convenient for marshalling them, since Nicias, on the occasion of his famous embassy, built a bridge from the island of Hecate (the Greater Rhevmatiari) to Delos, in order that the imposing Athenian procession might not miss its full effect.
Though Pylos should have been ceded to Sparta under the terms of the peace of Nicias (421 B.C.) it was retained by the Athenians until the Spartans recaptured it early in 409 B.C. (Diodorus xiii.
Other persons mentioned are Nicias, a physician of Miletus, whose name occurs in other poems, and Aratus, whom the Scholiast identifies with the author of the Phenomena.
The first is a very graceful poem presented together with a distaff to Theugenis, wife of Nicias, a doctor of Miletus, on the occasion of a voyage thither undertaken by the poet.