Nicias, or Nikias (c. 470-413 BCE), was a wealthy Athenian politician and general during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE). He became established as a prominent political leader of the aristocratic faction in Athenian politics and generally recommended a cautious line in opposition to the more hawkish anti-Spartan attitudes of popular leaders such as Cleon and Alcibiades. After the death of Cleon (422 BCE), he negotiated the Peace of Nicias with Sparta, temporarily ending the Peloponnesian War. As a general he was known for his prudence, and he argued against launching the Sicilian Expedition. Nonetheless, he still joined the campaign when chosen as one of its generals. Despite the high risks involved, the campaign came close to success; however, when the tide turned against Athens, Nicias' indecision hindered the Athenian escape. Captured by the Syracusans, Nicias and his fellow general Demosthenes were executed.

More about: Nicias


  • 425 BCE
    Pylos campaign, under Cleon and Demosthenes' command Athens defeats Sparta at Pylos.
  • 421 BCE
    Peace of Nicias, a truce between the Delian and Peloponnesian Leagues.
  • 416 BCE
    War breaks out again between rival Sicilian city-states Segesta and Selinus.
  • 415 BCE - 413 BCE
    Athenian expedition to attack Syracuse.
  • 413 BCE
    The Athenian expedition in Sicily ends in disastrous defeat and the Athenian generals Nicias and Demosthenes are executed.