Callias and Hipponicus - Encyclopedia

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CALLIAS and Hipponicus, two names borne alternately by the heads of a wealthy and distinguished Athenian family. During the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. the office of daduchus or torch-bearer at the Eleusinian mysteries was the hereditary privilege of the family till its extinction. The following members deserve mention.

I. Callias, the second of the name, fought at the battle of Marathon (490) in priestly attire. Some time after the death of Cimon, probably about 445 B.C., he was sent to Susa to conclude with Artaxerxes, king of Persia, a treaty of peace afterwards misnamed the "peace of Cimon." Cimon had nothing to do with it, and he was totally opposed to the idea of peace with Persia (see Cimon). At all events Callias's mission does not seem to have been successful; he was indicted for high treason on his return to Athens and sentenced to a fine of fifty talents.

See Herodotus vii. 151; Diod. Sic. xii. 4; Demosthenes, De Falsa Legatione, p. 428; Grote recognizes the treaty as a historical fact, History of Greece, ch. xlv., while Curtius, bk. ii., denies the conclusion of any formal treaty; see also Ed. Meyer, Forschungen, ii.; J. B. Bury in Hermathena, xxiv. (1898).

2. Hipponicus, son of the above. Together with Eurymedon he commanded the Athenian forces in the incursion into Boeotian territory (426 B.C.) and was slain at the battle of Delium (424).

His wife, whom he divorced, subsequently became the wife of Pericles; one of his daughters, Hipparete, married Alcibiades; another, the wife of Theodorus, was the mother of the orator Isocrates.

See Thucydides iii. 91; Diod. Sic. xii. 65; Andocides, Contra Alcibiadem, 13.

3. Callias, son of the above, the black sheep of the family, was notorious for his profligacy and extravagance, and was ridiculed by the comic poets as an example of a degenerate Athenian (Aristophanes, Frogs, 429, Birds, 283, and schol. Andocides, De Mysteriis, 110-131). The scene of Xenophon's Symposium and Plato's Protagoras was laid at his house. He was reduced to a state of absolute poverty and, according to Aelian (Var. Hist. iv. 23), committed suicide, but there is no confirmation of this. In spite of his dissipated life he played a certain part in public affairs. In 392 he was in command of the Athenian hoplites at Corinth, when the Spartans were defeated by Iphicrates. In 371 he was at the head of the embassy sent to make terms with Sparta. The peace which was the result was called after him the "peace of Callias." See Xenophon, Hellenica, iv. 5, vi. 3; and Delian League.

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