Was the first standout Spartan military leader in the Peloponnesian war. Coming into the forefront in its first year, that is 431 B.C., by throwing a hundred men into Methone, while besieged by the Athenians, who except for Methone completely ravaged the Peloponnesian coastline.
His exploits saved the place and he received the first public commendation at Sparta, and perhaps in consequence of this it is we find him in September appointed Ephor Eponymus. (Xen. Hell. ii. 3. § 10.) In 429 B.C. his next employment is as one of the three counsellors sent to assist Cnemus, after his first defeat by Phormion, and his name is also mentioned after the second defeat.
In 427 B.C. he was a subordinate with Alcidas, the new admiral, on his return from his Ionian voyage, and accompanying him to Corcyra he was reported, Thucydides tells us, to have vainly urged him to attack the city immediately. After their victory in the first engagement, as trierarch in the attempt to dislodge Iemostheiies from Pylos (425 B.C.), he is described as running his galley ashore, and, in a gallant endeavour to land, to have fainted from his wounds, and falling back into the ship to have lost in the water his shield, which was afterwards found by the Athenians and used in their trophy.
Early in the following year we find him at the Isthmus preparing for his expedition to Chalcidice (424 B.C.), but suddenly called off from this by the danger of Megara, which but for his timing and skill would no doubt have been lost to the enemy. Shortly after, he set out with a woefully inadequet force of 700 helots and 1,000 mercenaries from Sparta, seen as Sparta's tolken effort to cause the Athenians trouble in the north of Greece. They arrived at Heracleia, and, by a rapid and dexterous march through the hostile country of Thessaly, joined up with Perdiccas of Macedon. The events of his career in this field of action were stella, the acquisitions include;
1st. of Acanthus, effected by a most politic exposition of his views (of which Thucydides gives us a representation), made before the popular assembly;
2nd. of Stageirus, its neighbour;
3rd. of Amphipolis, the most important of all the Athenian tributaries in that part of the country, accomplished by a sudden attack after the commencement of winter, and followed by an unsuccessful atternpt on Eion, and by the accession of Myrcinus, Galepsus, Aesyme, and most of the towns in the peninsula of Athos;
4th. the reduction of Torone, and expulsion of its Athenian garrison from the post of Lecythus. In the following spring (423) we have the revolt of Scione, falling a day or two after the ratification of the truce agreed upon by the government at home—a mischance which Brasidas scrupled not to remedy by denying the fact, and not only retained Scione, but even availed himself of the consequent revolt of Mende, on pretext of certain infringements on the other side. Next, a second expedition with Perdiccas, against Arrhibaeus, resulting in a perilous but most ably conducted retreat, the loss, in the meantime, of Mende, recaptured by the new Athenian armament; and in the winter an ineffectual attempt on Potidaea. In 422, Brasidas with no reinforcements had to oppose a large body of the flower of the Athenian troops under Cleon. Torone and Galepsus were lost, at the Battle of Amphipolis was saved by a skilful sally,—the closing event of the war,—in which the Athenians were completely defeated and Cleon slain, and Brasidas himself in the first moment of victory received his death blow.

He was interred at Amphipolis, within the walls—an extraordinary honour in a Greek town —with a magnificent funeral, attended under arms by all the allied forces. The tomb was railed off, and his memory honoured by the Amphipolitans, by yearly sacrifices offered to him there, as to a hero, and by games. (Pans. iii. 14. § 1; Aristot. Eih. nic. v. 7 ; Diet, of Ant. s. v. BpacaSem.) Regarding him as their preserver, they transferred to him all the honours of, a Founder usually paid to Hagnon. Pausanias mentions a cenotaph to him in Sparta, and we hear also (Pint. Lysander, 1) of a treasury at Delphi, bearing the inscription, " Brasidas and the Acanthians from the Athenians." Two or three of his sayings are recorded in Plutarch's Apoplithegmata Laconica, but none very characteristic. Thucydides gives three speeches in his name, the first and longest at Acanthus; one to his forces in the retreat, perhaps the greatest of his exploits, from Lyncestis ; and a third before the Battle of Amphipolis. His own opinion of him seems to have been very high, and indeed we cannot well over estimate the services he rendered his country. He is in fact the one redeeming point of the first ten years; and had his life and career been prolonged, the war would perhaps have come to an earlier conclusion.
As a commander, even our short view of him leads us to ascribe to him such qualities as would have placed his above all other names in the war, though it is true that we see him rather as the captain than the general. To his reputation for " justice, liberality, and wisdom," Thucydides ascribes not only much of his own success, but also the eagerness shewn for the Spartan alliance after the Athenian disasters at Syracuse. This character was no doubt mainly assumed from motives of policy, nor can we believe him to have had any thought except for the cause of Sparta and his own glory. Of unscrupulous Spartan duplicity he had a full share, adding to it a most unusual dexterity and tact in negotiation; his powers, too, of eloquence were, in the judgment of Thucydides, very considerable for a Spartan. Strangely united with these qualities we find the highest personal bravery; apparently too (in Plato's Symposium he is compared to Achilles) heroic strength and beauty. He, too, like Archidamus, was a successful adaptation to circumstances of the unwieldy Spartan character, to make himself fit to cope with them he sacrificed, far less, indeed, than was afterwards sacrificed in the age of Lysander, yet too much perhaps to have permitted a return to perfect acquiescence in the ancient discipline. Such rapidity and versatility, such enterprise and daring, were probably felt at Sparta {comp. Thuc. i. 70) as something new and incongruous. His successes, it is known, were regarded there with so much jealousy as even to hinder his obtaining reinforcements. (Thuc. iv. 108.)

Name: Brasidas
Name in Greek: Βρασίδας
Name means: Boiled?
Father: Tellis
Born: unknown
Native City: Sparta
Died: 422 B.C.
Reason of death: At Battle of Amphipolis, killed in battle
Highest Title:  



Married to:  
Mother: Argileonis / Archileonis
431 B.C.

" . . . the Athenian fleet of 100 ships which was sailing around the Peloponnesus . . . reinforced by 50 ships from Corcyra . . . landed in Spartan territory at Methone. Brasidas the son of Tellis, a Spartan officer, happened to be in this district with a special detachment of men. when he realized what was happening, he came to the support of the defenders of the place with 100 hoplites. Finding the Athenian army dispersed over the country and with its attention occupied on the fortifications, he charged right through it and forced his way into Methone, losing a few of his men in the action, but saving the city. Because of this exploit, he was the first person in the war to receive official congratulations at Sparta." (Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War II. 25)
431 [September] Brasidas entered office for the year 431/430 as Eponymous Ephor.
Associated with Knemos as advisor in the attacks on Rhion and Naupactos, and on Salamis.
427 Brasidas went to Corcyra, in the expedition led by Alkidas.

PYLOS: ". . . It was Brasidas who distinguished himself more than anyone else. He was in command of a trireme, and when he saw that, because of the difficult nature of the terrain, the captains and steersmen, even at points where it did not seem possible to land, were hanging back for fear of damaging their ships, he shouted out to them, asking them what was the point in sparing the ships' timbers and meanwhile tolerating the existence of the enemy's fortress in their own country . . . As he was trying to land, the Athenians fell upon him, and, after receiving many wounds, he fainted and fell down into the bow of the ship. His shield slipped from his arm into the sea, and later, when it was thrown up on the shore, was picked up by the Athenians and used for the trophy which they erected for their success in this attack . . . " (Thucydides IV. 11).

[Spring] Brasidas went to the assistance of Corinth and Sicyon, and got involved in the Thracian campaign. On the way north he helped save Megara from Athenian pressure. A short campaign against the chief of the Lyncestians, Arrhibaios. Potidaea and Torone.

Armistice between Sparta and Athens. Even so, Brasidas supported the revolts of Scione and Mende against Athens.

[October, second half] Battle of Amphipolis. Brasidas was killed, along with the Athenian commander Cleon. He was honored at Amphipolis as a "hero-founder" with a cult. At home in Sparta a cenotaph memorial was erected for him. Descendants of his still existed in the time of the Emperor Augustus.


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