6. CALLIAS III., son of Hipponicus III. by the lady who married Pericles (Plut. Per. 24
), was notorious for his extravagance and profligacy. We have seen, that he must have succeeded to his fortune in B. C. 424, which is not perhaps irreconcileable with the mention of him in the "Flatterers" of Eupolis, the comic poet, B. C. 421, as having recently
entered on the inheritance. (Athen. 5.218
c.) In B. C. 400, he was engaged in the attempt to crush Andocides by a charge of profanation, in having placed a supplicatory bough on the altar of the temple at Eleusis during the celebration of the mysteries (Andoc. de Myst.
§ 110, &c.); and, if we may believe the statement of the accused, the bough was placed there by Callias himself, who was provoked at having been thwarted by Andocides in a very disgraceful and profligate attempt. In B. C. 392, we find him in command of the Athenian heavy-armed troops at Corinth on the occasion of the famous defeat of the Spartan Mora by Iphicrates. (Xen. Hell. 4.5.13
He was hereditary proxenus of Sparta, and, as such, was chosen as one of the envoys empowered to negotiate peace with that state in B. C. 371, on which occasion Xenophon reports an extremely absurd and self-glorifying speech of his (Hell.
6.3.2, &c., comp. 5.4.22.)
A vain and silly dilettante, an extravagant and reckless profligate, he dissipated all his ancestral wealth on sophists, flatterers, and women; and so early did these propensities appear in him, that he was commonly spoken of, before his father's death, as the "evil genius" (ἀλιτήριος
) of his family. (Andoc. de Myst.
§ 130, &c.; comp. Aristoph. Frogs 429
284. &c.; Schol. ad Aristoph. Ran.
502; Athen. 4.169
a.; Ael. VH 4.16
The scene of Xenophon's "Banquet," and also that of Plato's "Protagoras," is laid at his house; and in the latter especially his character is drawn with some vivid sketches as a trifling dilettante, highly amused with the intellectual fencing of Protagoras and Socrates. (See Plat. Protag.
pp. 335, 338; comp. Plat. Apol.
p. 20a., Theaet.
p. 165a., Cratyl.
He is said to have ultimately reduced himself to absolute beggary, to which the sarcasm of Iphicrates (Aristot. Rh. 3.2.10
) in calling him μητραγύρτης
instead of δᾳδοῦχος
obviously refers; and he died at last in actual want of the common necessaries of life. (Athen. 12.537
c.; Lys. pro Aristoph. Bon.
§ 50.) Aelian's erroneous account of his committing suicide is clearly nothing but gossip from Athenaeus by memory. (Ael. VH 4.23
; Perizon. ad loc.
) He left a legitimate son named Hipponicus. (Andoc. de Myst.
§ 126, which speech, from § 110 to § 131, has much reference to the profligacy of Callias.)