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Greatest Athenian commander

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Poll Question: Who, in your opinion, was the greatest commander of the Athenians
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4 [30.77%]
1 [7.69%]
1 [7.69%]
1 [7.69%]
1 [7.69%]
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3 [23.08%]
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Laelius View Drop Down
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  Quote Laelius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Greatest Athenian commander
    Posted: 11-May-2005 at 13:14
Well who in your opinion was the greatest commander produced by the Athenian state?  In my opinion it has to be Kimon, his victories over the Persians were stunning to say the least.
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conon394 View Drop Down
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  Quote conon394 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-May-2005 at 22:02

Kimon was good no doubt about it. However, without Themistocles there is no Athenian fleet and no victory at Salamis, and thus no fleet and Delian League for Kimon to lead

A couple of additional thoughts: Id drop Alcibiades, and ask where is Thrasybulus?  Plus, lets not forget the 4th century, how about Chabrias and Iphicrates

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  Quote Laelius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2005 at 00:55

well if anyone I should have dropped Demosthenes, I mean while he had his great succeses, Pylos, look at what happened in Aeolia and then his Sicilian night attack.  Of course that wouldn't have happened if Nicias agreed to abandon the siege of Syracuse.

Thasybulus.... I knew I forgot someone, as to Alcibiades I picked him because come on the man was brilliant.  He might have won the war for Athens if not for his political enemies, of course who knows what he might have done afterwards...

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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2005 at 03:50

I'll vote for Pericles, mainly because (but not only) he built the Parthenon. That enough to grand him immortality

Alcibiades was indeed briliant but also greatly unstable. I would also agree that Iphicrates should be on the list for his military innovativeness.

But who is Phormio? Do you mean Phocion?

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  Quote conon394 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2005 at 11:23

Yiannis

 

Phormio (the son of Asopius) was Athenian general in the Peloponnesian war. He is most famous for two victories over the Peloponnesian fleet in the Gulf of Corinth in 429 BC (described by Thucydides). With only 20 ships he defeated enemy fleets numbering 44 and 77.  He also led several successful raids against Spartan allies in area around the Gulf of Corinth and in the Chalcidice during the first 2 years of the war.  According to secondary material he also defeated a Peloponnesian force of 50 ships with a fleet of 30 ships, by luring them into thinking he had only a few ships.

 

Like Lamachus, Hagnon, and Demosthenes, he appears to have been largely elected to the office of General as a professional soldier, and not as a political leader. He is fondly depicted in old comedy, as a skilled navel commander by both Aristophanes and Eupolis

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  Quote conon394 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2005 at 12:08

Alcibiades may have been brilliant, but he never seems to have really been able to finish the job.

 

He lost control of the debate over Sicily, and let Nicias turn his small, mostly diplomatic venture into an oversized conquest venture.  He obviously made a poor choice at Notium, and one you really cannot blame on someone else. Lysander was the pivotal figure in finally cementing the Persian-Spartan alliance. If Alcibiades had managed to win at Notium, killing or discrediting Lysander in the process, the war might very well have had a different end.  At battles like Cyzicus, I tend to think Thrasybulus deserves the lions share of the credit, not Alcibaldes.  The alliance with Elis, Mantinea, and Argos, is also typical. Alcibiades appears to have been the key backer of the plan, but again he seems to have been unable to carry the full support of either his allies or the assembly. His erratic personal life also left him rather open to attack, not a good ideal for someone who aspired to leadership in the Assembly. The blue bloods and crypto-oligarchs may have despised Cleon, but it is clear he made sure he was supported by his base among the hoi-polloi. Likewise, there may have been nasty rumors about Kimon, but his reputation for public service and piety meant they never really stuck.

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  Quote Perseas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2005 at 18:54
Originally posted by conon394

Yiannis<:namespace prefix = o ns = "urnchemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" />>>

>>

Phormio (the son of Asopius) was Athenian general in the Peloponnesian war. He is most famous for two victories over the Peloponnesian fleet in the chemas-microsoft-comfficemarttags" />LACE wt="on">Gulf of CorinthLACE> in 429 BC (described by Thucydides). With only 20 ships he defeated enemy fleets numbering 44 and 77.  He also led several successful raids against Spartan allies in area around the Gulf of Corinth and in the LACE wt="on">ChalcidiceLACE> during the first 2 years of the war.  According to secondary material he also defeated a Peloponnesian force of 50 ships with a fleet of 30 ships, by luring them into thinking he had only a few ships.>>

In greek language, he is called Phormion (""). Thats why i had a difficulty to understand also who was he in first place.

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  Quote Perseas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2005 at 19:16

I will go with Pericles too for the reason that into 20 years time, he succeed with his reforms to change Athens and Peiraeus to the best way he could.  The statute of 'Kleirouhies' (sp?) was great, Athens was prospering in all fields and his era, was rightfully called Golden age.

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  Quote Laelius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2005 at 23:18
Yes but at the expense of the allies.  Besides had Pericles survived the plague Pylos never would have occurred.
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  Quote conon394 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-May-2005 at 23:45

Yes but at the expense of the allies

I not sure but I assume you are referring to Aeolus Athens was prospering in all fields and his era, was rightfully called Golden age.

If so, I think the impression that Athens was prospering at the expenses of her allies is not particularly fair.  In real term until the Peloponnesian War the tribute was allowed to actually decrease for most of the allies. Perhaps more importantly, when would the Aegean ever see such a lack of piracy again until the Imperial Roman period? Also when would the allies (Ionia, say) ever actually have and maintain their autonomy or not been paying up to someone?  Overall the Athenians I think were fairly justified in noting their rule was milder then Persias, and certainly was less rapacious and more beneficial then Spartas (post Peloponnesian war).

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  Quote Noir Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2005 at 13:16

Alcibiades. Just remember that he was the most brilliant offspring of Athens' Golden Age. He had all the fine and also all the catastrophic virtues and demerits (at super doses) of 5th century Athenian democracy.  

The high degree of similarity that lies between the character of Alcibiades and the city of Athens is striking and provides the impression that Alcibiades serves as the embodiment of the Athenian spirit. Alcibiades comports himself in an arrogant and hubristic manner that is similar to Athens' behavior. This self-confidence shines forth in Alcibiades speech to the Athenian assembly that he makes in order to defend his character, which Nicias has just attacked in a previous speech, and to encourage them to approve the proposal for the Sicilian expedition:
"Athenians, I have a better right to command than others-- I must begin with this as Nicias has attacked me-- and at the same time I believe myself to be worthy of it. The things for which I am abused bring fame to my ancestors and to myself, and also profit to my country. The Hellenes, after expecting to see our city ruined by the war, concluded it to be even greater than it really is, by reason of the magnificence with which I represented it at the Olympic games...."

The question is not who was the best Athenian commander, but who was the best commander FOR Athens ( the city - state ) and Athenians ( the citizens ). He was all that they deserve : brilliant, arrogant, imperialist, searcher of glory and interest, hedonist, immoral but high dignified, self confident, with the desire to be a god. He was (together with Alexander) the best  the Greek spirit ever produced.

As for his strategic and tactical abilities: He almost never lost a battle. (Except Andros. He was not there at Notion !!!) He even defeated (strategically) Athens, at the time he counseled Spartans. He is the sole commander that planed an offensive (Sicily) and the defense of that (counseling to Sparta to sent commanders and managers to Syracuse)!!!

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  Quote Molossos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-May-2005 at 23:19

Originally posted by conon394

Phormio (the son of Asopius) was Athenian general in the Peloponnesian war. He is most famous for two victories...

That's right Conon. And Yiannis you should know he was one of the most successful Greek admirals (of course after Kountouriotis).

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  Quote Lannes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2005 at 15:40
Iphicrates.  Brilliant in his use of peltasts, and obviously on the right road towards hoplite development.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-May-2005 at 23:24
Are we talking commander as in a pure military one?  or can we throw in political leadership aswell?
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-May-2005 at 23:36

If it was Political I would say Pericles, but military i'd go for Themistocles because he thought up the best strategies- like the one for Salamis.

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  Quote okamido Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Oct-2012 at 13:22
Originally posted by conon394

Kimon was good no doubt about it. However, without Themistocles there is no Athenian fleet and no victory at Salamis, and thus no fleet and Delian League for Kimon to lead�

A couple of additional thoughts: I�d drop Alcibiades, and ask where is Thrasybulus?  Plus, let�s not forget the 4th century, how about Chabrias and Iphicrates

I picked Other due to the absence of Thrasybulus (whom I believe was greater than Alkibiades on his best day), and Iphicrates.
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