), an Athenian, son of Melanopus, was joined with Charoeades
in the command of the first expedition sent by the Athenians to Sicily, in B. C. 427. His colleague was soon after slain in battle, and Laches, being left sole general, took Messina, and gained some slight advantages over the Epizephyrian Locrians. In B. C. 426 he was superseded by Pythodorus, with whom Sophocles and Eurymedon were shortly joined, and was recalled, apparently to stand his trial on a charge of peculation in his command, brought against him by Cleon. (Thuc. 3.86
,90,99,103, 115, 6.1, 6, 75; Just. 4.3
; Arist. Vesp.
240, 836, 895, 903, 937; Dem. c. Tim.
§ 145; Schol. ad Arist. Vesp.
240, 836.) The Scholiast thinks that Aristophanes, in the Wasps,
meant no reference to Laches in the arraignment of the dog Labes,
But the name of Laches' demus Aexone (comp. Plat. Lach.
p. 197), and the special mention of Sicilian
cheese, seem to fix the allusion beyond dispute, while by the accusing dog, the κύων Κυδαθηναιεύς
, himself as great a filcher, Cleon is as evidently intended. Laches, we find from Plato (Lach.
p. 181), was present at the battle of Delium, in B. C. 424. In B. C. 421 he was one of the commissioners for concluding the fifty years' truce between Athens and Sparta, as well as the separate treaty between these states in the same year.
He was also one of the commanders of the force sent to Argos, in B. C. 418, when Alcibiades induced the Argives to break the truce made in their name with the Lacedaemonians, by Thrasyllus and Alciphron; and in the same year he fell at the battle of Mantineia, together with his colleague Nicostratus. (Thuc. 5.19
In the dialogue of Plato which bears his name, he is represented as not over-acute in argument, and with temper on a par with his acuteness. His son Melanopus was one of those whom, being in possession of some prize-money, which was public property, the law of Timocrates would have shielded. (See Dem. c. Tim.