1. An Athenian general, the son of Asopius (or Asopichus, as Pausania calls him). His family was a distinguished one.
He belonged to the deme Paeania. In B. C. 440 he was one of the three generals who were sent out with reinforcements to the Athenian troops blockading Samos. In 432, after the revolt of Potidaea, he was sent out with reinforcements for the troops under Callias, and, taking the command, proceeded to blockade the city. When the circumvallation was completed he led his troops to ravage Chalcidice and Bottice.
He was still here in 431, when he was joined by Perdiccas, king of Macedonia, in some operations against the Chalcidians.
He left before the summer of 430. Towards the close of that same year he was sent with 30 ships to assist the Acarnanians against the Ambraciots, who had seized the Amphilochian Argos.
In the succeeding winter he was sent with 20 ships to Naupactus to prevent the Corinthian vessels from sailing out of the gulf, and to stop all vessels bound for Corinth.
He was still here in the summer of 429, when a Peloponnesian fleet was sent to aid the allies of Sparta in the West.
By his skilful manoeuvres with very inferior forces he gained a decisive victory over the Peloponnesian fleet.
In a second engagement, which ensued not long after, though at first compelled to retreat, by seizing an opportunity afforded by the confusion into which the fleet of the enemy was thrown by means of a dexterous manoeuvre of one of the Athenian ships which was being chased, Phormion gained another brilliant victory. For the details, the reader is referred to Thucydides, where they are given at length.
In the ensuing winter Phormion led an expedition along the coast of Acarnania, and, disembarking, advanced into the interior, where he gained some successes. (Thuc. 1.64
; Diod. 12.37
On one occasion, when called on to submit to the εὐθύνη
, he was condemned to pay a fine of 100 minae. Not being able to do so, he was made ἄτιμος
, and retired to Paeania. While here a request came from the Acarnanians that he might be sent out as commander to them. To this the Athenians consented, but Phormion urged that it was contrary to law to send out in that way a man who was under sentence of ἀτιμία
As the ostensible remission of the fine was not lawful, the device was resorted to (as in the case of Demosthenes, Plut. Dem. 100.27
) of assigning to him some trifling public service (which in his case seems to have been a sacrifice to Dionysus), for which he was paid the amount of his fine. (Schol. ad Aristoph. Pac.
348; Paus. 1.23.10
; Bökh, ap. Meineke, Fragm. Poet. Corn. Ant.
ii. i. p. 527). Phormion was no longer alive in B. C. 428, when the Acarnanians, out of respect to his memory, requested that his son Asopius might be sent to them as general. (Thuc. 3.7
The tomb of Phormion was on the road leading to the Academy, near those of Pericles and Chabrias. (Paus. 1.29.3
He was a man of remarkably temperate habits, and a strict disciplinarian. (Aristoph. Kn. 560
804; Schol. ad Arist. Pac.
347; Suidas s. v. Φορμίωνος στιδάς ; Athen. 10.419