|DESTRUCTION OF THE ATHENIAN ARMY AT SYRACUSE|
Gylippus was a Spartan general of the 5th century B
. He was the son of Cleandridas,
who had been expelled from Sparta
for accepting Athenian bribes (446 B
.) and had settled at Thurii.
His mother was probably a helot, for Gylippus is
said to have been, like Lysander and Callicratidas, a mothax (see Helot). When Alcibiades urged the Spartans to send
a general to lead the Syracusan resistance against the Athenian expedition, Gylippus was appointed, and his arrival
was undoubtedly the turning point of the struggle(414-413). Though at first his long hair, his threadbare cloak and
his staff furnished the subject of many a jest, and his harsh and overbearing manner caused grave discontent,
yet the rapidity and decisiveness of his movements, won the sympathy and respect of the Syracusans.
Diodorus probably following Timaeus, represents him as inducing the Syracusans to pass
sentence of death on the captive Athenian generals, but we need have no hesitation in accepting the
statement of Philistus (Plutarch, Nicias, 28), a Syracusan who himself took part in the defence, and
Thucydides that he tried, though without success, to save their lives, wishing to take them to
Sparta as a signal proof of his success. Gylippus fell, as his father had done, through avarice;
entrusted by Lysander with an immense sum which he was to deliver to the ephors at Sparta, he could
not resist the temptation to enrich himself and, on the discovery of his guilt, went into exile.
—Exerpted from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Key events during the life of Gylippus:
||Arrived in Syracuse to coordinate defense of the city.
||Vanquished the Athenians
||Exiled after embezzling money.
||After death of Pericles, emerged as leader of peace party. Led disastrous Sicilian Expedition.
||Admiral who with Nicias and Alcibiades led the Sicilian Expedition. Died in early combat.