Our fathers did not talk about psychology; they talked about a knowledge of Human Nature. But they had it, and we have not. They knew by instinct all that we have ignored by the help of information. — G. K. Chesterton

Gylippus

~ 413 BC
Civilization: Greek — Sparta
   Field of Renown:  military — General
Era:  Golden Age

Sicilian expedition
DESTRUCTION OF THE ATHENIAN ARMY AT SYRACUSE
Gylippus was a Spartan general of the 5th century B.C. He was the son of Cleandridas, who had been expelled from Sparta for accepting Athenian bribes (446 B.C.) 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:


Year
Event
414 BC
Arrived in Syracuse to coordinate defense of the city.
413 BC
Vanquished the Athenians
  Exiled after embezzling money.

Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
Fatal Expedition  in  Pictures from Greek Life and Story  by  Alfred J. Church
Sparta to the Rescue  in  Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition  by  Alfred J. Church
Siege of Syracuse  in  The Story of Greece  by  Mary Macgregor
Sicilian Expedition  in  The Story of the Greek People  by  Eva March Tappan


Contemporary
Short Biography
Nicias After death of Pericles, emerged as leader of peace party. Led disastrous Sicilian Expedition.
Lamachus Admiral who with Nicias and Alcibiades led the Sicilian Expedition. Died in early combat.