Open main menu

Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Antalcidas

ANTALCIDAS, a Spartan politician, who rendered conspicuous service to his native state at one of the turning-points in Greek history. He comes first into notice as ambassador from Sparta to Tiribazus, the Persian satrap of Ionia, to sue for peace (3932 B.C.) Upon hearing of this the Athenians, becoming anxious lest they should lose their growing ascendency, also sent an embassy, at the head of which was Conon, to counteract the efforts of the Spartans. Tiribazus favoured the cause of Sparta, and secretly supplied Antalcidas with the means of carrying on war against Athens. Artaxerxes, however, disapproving the conduct of his satrap, recalled him, and appointed Struthas, whose sympathies were on the side of Athens, in his place. But this check to the policy of Antalcidas was only temporary. In a few years circumstances became even more favourable than at first to a successful negotiation, Tiribazus having been restored to his satrapy, and accordingly, in 3887, Antalcidas was again sent upon an embassy to Asia. By skilful diplomacy he succeeded in securing the active assistance of the Persian power against Athens. Appointed on his return admiral of the Spartan fleet, he carried on a naval warfare in a manner so vigorous, that the Athenians were glad to accept peace on the terms Artaxerxes chose to dictate. These were made known by Tiribazus to a congress of deputies from Sparta, Argos, and Athens, and formed the basis of "the peace of Antalcidas," so called from its being arranged in accordance with the views of the Spartan ambassador. Antalcidas seems to have been engaged in another mission to Persia in 371; but the later incidents of his career are involved in uncertainty. Plutarch states that he committed suicide on the failure of his last mission, but there seems no proof of this.