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Chares, Athenian General

CHARES, ATHENIAN GENERAL, is first heard of in 366 B.C. as assisting the Phliasians, who had been attacked by Argos and Sicyon. In 361 he visited Corcyra, where he helped the oligarchs to expel the democrats, a policy which led to the subsequent defection of the island from Athens. In 357, Chares was appointed to the command in the Social War, together with Chabrias, after whose death before Chios he was associated with Iphicrates and Timotheus (for the naval battle in the Hellespont, see Timotheus). Chares, having successfully thrown the blame for the defeat on his colleagues, was left sole commander, but receiving no supplies from Athens, took upon himself to join the revolted satrap Artabazus. A complaint from the Persian king, who threatened to send three hundred ships to the assistance of the confederates, led to the conclusion of peace (355) between Athens and her revolted allies, and the recall of Chares. In 349, he was sent to the assistance of Olynthus (q.v.) against Philip II. of Macedon, but returned without having effected anything; in the following year, when he reached Olynthus, he found it already in the hands of Philip. In 340 he was appointed to the command of a force sent to aid Byzantium against Philip, but the inhabitants, remembering his former plunderings and extortions, refused to receive him. In 338 he was defeated by Philip at Amphissa, and was one of the commanders at the disastrous battle of Chaeroneia. Lysicles, one of his colleagues, was condemned to death, while Chares does not seem to have been even accused. After the conquest of Thebes by Alexander (335), Chares is said to have been one of the Athenian orators and generals whose surrender was demanded. Two years later he was living at Sigeum, for Arrian (Anabasis i. 12) states that he went from there to pay his respects to Alexander. In 332 he entered the service of Darius and took over the command of a Persian force in Mytilene, but capitulated on the approach of a Macedonian fleet on condition of being allowed to retire unmolested. He is last heard of at Taenarum, and is supposed to have died at Sigeum. Although boastful and vain-glorious, Chares was not lacking in personal courage, and was among the best Athenian generals of his time. At the best, however, he was "hardly more than an ordinary leader of mercenaries" (A. Holm). He openly boasted of his profligacy, was exceedingly avaricious, and his bad faith became proverbial.

Diod. Sic. xv. 75, 95, xvi. 7, 21, 22, 85-88; Plutarch, Phocion, 14; Theopompus, ap. Athenaeum, xii. p. 532; A. Schäfer, Demosthenes und seine Zeit (1885); A. Holm, History of Greece (Eng. trans., 1896), vol. iii.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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