1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gylippus

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GYLIPPUS, a Spartan general of the 5th century B.C.; he was the son of Cleandridas, who had been expelled from Sparta for accepting Athenian bribes (446 B.C.) and had settled at Thurii. His mother was probably a helot, for Gylippus is said to have been, like Lysander and Callicratidas, a mothax (see Helot). When Alcibiades urged the Spartans to send a general to lead the Syracusan resistance against the Athenian expedition, Gylippus was appointed, and his arrival was undoubtedly the turning point of the struggle (414-413). Though at first his long hair, his thread-bare cloak and his staff furnished the subject of many a jest, and his harsh and overbearing manner caused grave discontent, yet the rapidity and decisiveness of his movements, won the sympathy and respect of the Syracusans. Diodorus (xiii. 28-32), probably following Timaeus, represents him as inducing the Syracusans to pass sentence of death on the captive Athenian generals, but we need have no hesitation in accepting the statement of Philistus (Plutarch, Nicias, 28), a Syracusan who himself took part in the defence, and Thucydides (vii. 86), that he tried, though without success, to save their lives, wishing to take them to Sparta as a signal proof of his success. Gylippus fell, as his father had done, through avarice; entrusted by Lysander with an immense sum which he was to deliver to the ephors at Sparta, he could not resist the temptation to enrich himself and, on the discovery of his guilt, went into exile.

Thucydides vi. 93. 104, vii.; Plutarch, Nicias, 19, 21, 27, 28, Lysander, 16, 17; Diodorus xiii. 7, 8, 28-32; Polyaenus i. 39. 42). See Syracuse (for the siege operations), commentaries on Thucydides and the Greek histories.