Athens to Sparta Essay

Submitted By Davecastellibruh
Words: 1721
Pages: 7

Keenan Entress Due: 12/12/11
Athens to Sparta Final Paper
“Athens to Sparta” Kings and queens have been around for thousands of years. Ruling over their people with power that used to be believed was divine. These kings and queens have always represented the people they ruled over. The king or queen gave a general idea of who the people were that they ruled. Yet, kings and queens weren’t the only leaders to represent their people. There were also plenty of other leaders with power that exhibited the characteristics of their people, such as generals, politicians, etc. These leaders also had power which either helped flourish their cities or brought about the destruction of their cities. The flaws of the leaders that did not exhibit the characteristics of the people could cause problems which ended in turmoil. Athens and Sparta both had leaders that either exhibited the characteristics of their people which helped flourish the cities or leaders whose flaws brought about destruction of their city in the end. Leaders such as Nicias, Alcibiades, and Agesilaus are strong examples. Nicias was an Athenian politician and general during the Peloponnesian War. His goal was to reach peace with Sparta when it favored Athens. He led several expeditions during the war which did not accomplish much, but eventually led to the Peace of Nicias. His leadership also led to a defeat in Sicily because of how he was so easily influenced by others. Nicias rise to power was based on Cleon increasing his reputation and power. Nicias had flaws that led to his defeat, and he did not exhibit the characteristics of his people. It’s because he became power hungry. “And the fact is that Nicias did do the city, as well as himself, quite a bit of harm, in making it possible for Cleon to increase his reputation and power so much that he entered upon a phase of insolent pride and ungovernable boldness, during which he inflicted upon the city various disasters (one of the primary victims which was Nicias himself), not the least of which was that he stripped the rostrum of its decorum, since he was the first to raise his voice to raucous levels during his public speeches, pull his cloak open, slap his thigh and pace around while speaking. In other words, he condition Athens’ politicians to regard proper behaviour with indifference and disdain—and it was this that before long threw all the city’s affairs into chaos.” (Plutarch pg. 192) At first Nicias had opposed the war in Sicily, but after being put in command and being influenced by others, he changed his opinions. He was weak, and did not represent the people well. The people had been influenced by Alcibiades and wanted war, and Nicias changed his mind as well and wanted to be in command. “Nicias should have opposed the decision about the expedition and not changed his mind under the influence of either optimism or amazement at the size of his command shows that he was a man of integrity who knew his own mind. However, once he had got nowhere either in his attempts to convince the Athenians to abandon the war or in his requests to be relieved of the command—once the Athenian people had, so to speak, picked him up, taken him and deposited him at the head of the expeditionary force—then his excessive caution and hesitation were out of place.” (Plutarch pg. 199) Nicias brought about destruction of Athens and the Athenian people. His flaws were too great. His hunger for power was his greatest downfall. His was easily influenced into going to Sicily and his flaws were destructive to Athens, and did not flourish the city. Alcibiades was much different than Nicias though. He changed his political allegiance several times during the war. He started with Athens, switched to Sparta, and then switched to Persia, and then was recalled back to Athens. When he started, he was a prominent general, orator, and statesman in Athens. When he was in Sparta, he…