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GREECE-THE PELOPONNESIAN WARS.

and both parties found time to breathe from the long struggle in which

they had been engaged. In the beginning of the next year, however, the

war was renewed, and Cleon made an effort to recover Thrace. With a large

army he went against Amphipolis, which was defended by Brasidas. The

latter, with his large military experience, was more than a match for the

loud democrat whom accident had once led to victory. Brasidas soon lulled

his antagonist into fancied security, and then sallied out and inflicted

a terrible defeat. Cleon was killed, together with half of the Athenian

soldiery. The rest were scattered to the winds. Brasidas, however, was

mortally wounded in the battle, and was carried into the town to die. He

was buried in the agora, and was henceforth honored as aecist, or founder

of Amphipolis.

The war had now degenerated into personal antagonisms and recriminations.

By the death of the two leaders, the one a "king" of Sparta and the other

the popular despot of the Athenian assembly, the principal agents in

perpetuating the strife were removed. Nicias, who now assumed the

leadership in Athens, and Pleistoanax, the other Spartan king, were both

favorable to peace. In B. C. 421 negotiations were opened, and were soon

brought to a successful issue in a proclamation of peace for fifty years.

The leading principle assumed in the pacification was a mutual

restitution of prisoners and conquests. Upon this, however, there were

some restrictions. Thebes was permitted to retain Plataea. Athens kept

Nissaea-the seaport of Megaris-Anactorium, and Sollium. Several towns

regained their independence. Others, which were left tributary to the

Athenians, had their tax reduced to the scale established by Aristides.

The allies of Athens were generally pleased with the settlement, but the

dependent states of the league against her were filled with resentment

towards Sparta, for whom they had fought eleven years, and by whom they

were now abandoned. Boeotia, Corinth, Elis, and Megaris refused to sign

the treaty, and their attitude became so hostile that Sparta made an

alliance with Athens to maintain the compact. Thus did the Peace of

Nicias at last afford to distracted Greece an opportunity to recuperate

her powers, so terribly shattered by the shocks and ravages of civil war.

Much difficulty was experienced in attempting to secure compliance with

the terms of the treaty. The Spartans found it impossible to surrender

Amphipolis to the Athenians, for the inhabitants refused to accede to the

transfer. Thereupon the authorities of Athens declined to surrender the

harbor of Pylus. The disaffected Corinthians, now entirely alienated from

Sparta, projected the scheme of a new Lacedaemonian confederacy, with

Argos at the head. In the midst of these complications, Alcibiades

appeared on the stage of Athenian politics. He soon became one of the

most striking figures that had risen in that stormy arena. Young and

brilliant, of an illustrious descent, dashing and courageous, quick in

conception and fertile in expedients, unscrupulous and reckless, he

possessed the very qualities which in success would make, and in disaster

mar, an Athenian statesman. His ambition was as boundless as his conduct

was notorious. Not even the austere genius of his instructor, Socrates,

could bring the audacious and extravagant youth to any thing like a

decent discipline.

The first noted public appearance of this distinguished youth was on the

occasion of the coming of the Lacedaemonian ambassadors requesting the

surrender of Pylus. He at first violently opposed the petition, and even

went so far as to urge the sending of an embassy to Argos to solicit that

city to become a member in a new Athenian league. In spite of the earnest

efforts of Nicias and of the protests of the Spartan ambassador,

Alcibiades,