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(born c. 470died 413 BC, Sicily) Athenian leader. He was renowned for his enormous wealth. Seeking to end the Peloponnesian War (431–404), in 421 he negotiated a 50-year alliance (the Peace of Nicias), which held for six years before the ambitions of Alcibiades led to renewed warfare. In 415 Nicias reluctantly shared command of a Sicilian expedition with Lamachus and Alcibiades. When Alcibiades was recalled and Lamachus died, Nicias, himself seriously ill, lost the advantage they had achieved in the siege of Syracuse; when he tried to escape, his troops were overwhelmed and he was captured and executed.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Nicias, visit Britannica.com.