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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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Homecoming and Freedom

Homecoming and Freedom

(p.138) Chapter 5 Homecoming and Freedom
Thucydides and the Pursuit of Freedom

Mary P. Nichols

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Thucydides's account of the efforts of both Alcibiades and Nicias to return home once they leave Athens on the Sicilian expedition, along with the problems that their homecomings present for human freedom. Alcibiades is recalled home to stand trial for charges of impiety, but escapes to Sparta and conspires with the enemy so that he might repossess his city. Even then his goal is going home, as it is for Nicias with the expedition in Sicily. This chapter considers how Alcibiades negotiates with the Persian satrap Tissaphernes, and specifically his attempt to show the Athenians that he is useful to them if he can bring them an alliance with Tissaphernes and Persia. It suggests that Thucydides, by making homecoming a theme, demonstrates the possibility of human action (and therefore the freedom it manifests) in response to time and place.

Keywords:   freedom, Thucydides, Alcibiades, Nicias, Athens, Sicilian expedition, homecoming, Sparta, Sicily, Tissaphernes

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