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Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom$
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Mary P. Nichols

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453168

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453168.001.0001

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Sicily, Alcibiades, and the Liberation of Erōs

Sicily, Alcibiades, and the Liberation of Erōs

(p.107) Chapter 4 Sicily, Alcibiades, and the Liberation of Erōs
Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom

Mary P. Nichols

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Alcibiades's place in Thucydides's reflections on freedom by focusing on his advocacy of the Sicilian expedition during the Peloponnesian War. During the sixteenth year of the war, the Athenians invaded the island of Melos. Soon after the Athenian forces destroyed Melos, the Athenian assembly voted to send an expedition to conquer a much larger island, Sicily, an expedition that proved to be disastrous for Athens and the beginning of the end of its empire. Thucydides traces the Sicilian expedition to a liberation of erōs that leads to disaster. This chapter first provides an overview of Athenian politics in the years following the Peace of Nicias before discussing Alcibiades's role in undermining Athens's peace with Sparta. It argues that the position of the Athenians at Melos reflects Alcibiades's politics.

Keywords:   freedom, Alcibiades, Thucydides, Sicilian expedition, Peloponnesian War, Melos, Sicily, Athens, liberation, erōs

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