). An Athenian general, the son of a man named Epicurus (or, accordiis to Diod. 12.55
In the autumn of B. C. 428 Paches was sent out at the head of 1000 hoplites to reinforce the troops which, on the revolt of Mytilene, had been sent out under Cleippides, and had entrenched themselves in two forts near the city, while the fleet blockaded the harbour. On the arrival of Paches a wall was carried round the city on the land side, with forts at the strongest points.
In the summer of B. C. 427 the Spartans sent a fleet under the command of Alcidas for the relief of Mytilene; but Alcidas delayed so much on his voyage that the Mytilenaeans, and even Salaethus, whom the Spartans had sent before their fleet, gave up all hopes of its arrival.
By the advice of Salaethus the commsonalty of the Mytilenaeans were entrusted with the arms of the regular infantry; but they forthwith rose against the aristocratical party, and the latter, fearin, a capitulation on the part of the commonalty, surrendered the city to Paches, leaving the decision of their fate entirely to the Athenians.
At this juncture Alcidas arrived at Embaton; but. instead of attacking the Athenians, sailed southwards along the coast of Ionia. Paches, hearing from many quarters of the approach of the Peloponnesian fleet, set out in pursuit of it; but, not coming up with it, returned at leisure along the coast of Ionia.
In his course he touched at Notium. Here his assistance was called in by the democratical party, who were being hard pressed by their political opponents, who were sutpperted by the ruling party among the Colophonians, and by a bods of mercenaries, commanded by an Arcadian named Hippias, borrowed from the satrap Pissnthnes. Paches invited Hippias to a parley; but when he came he immediately arrested him, and forthwith attacked the garrison, which was overpowered and cut to pieces. Hippias, with whom Paches had made a solemn engagement, that, if the parley did not lead to an agreement, he should be reconducted in safety into the town, was taken by Paches within the walls, and then barbarously put to death by being shot with arrows; Paches urging that he had fulfilled the stipulation. Notium was given up to the party which had called in the aid of the Athenians. Paches now returned to Lesbos, and proceeded to reduce those parts of the island which still held out.
He sent home most of his forces, and with them Salaethus and a large number of Mytilenaeans who on the surrender of the city had taken refuge at the altars, and were removed thence by Paches to Tenedos. On the arrival of the first decree of the Athenians, ordering the execution of all the adult citizens of Mytilene, and the enslavement of the women and children, Paches was about to put it into execution, when the second decree arrived, sparing the lives of the inhabitants, but ordering the destruction of their walls and the surrender of the fleet. Paches, after complying with these instructions, returned to Athens. On his arrival there he was brought to trial on some charge, and, perceiving his condemnation to be certain, drew his sword and stabbed himself to the heart in the presence of his judges. (Plut. Nicias, 100.6, Aristid.
26.) On what grounds he was impeached it is very difficult to ascertain.
There is a story preserved in an epigram of Agathias (Jacobs, Anal.
vol. iv. p. 34), according to which Paches, after the surrender of Mytilene, became enamoured of two women of the city, Hellanis and Lamaxis, and murdered their husbands that he might accomplish his designs.
The victims of his cruelty, however, escaped to Athens, and made known his criminal proceedings; and their prosecution of him ended in his death.
There seems no sufficient reason for rejecting this story. If the offence be thought hardly sufficient to have occasioned the condemnation to death of a general who had just returned after a most successful series of military operations, there are various suppositions which might remove the difficulty.
It is possible that Cleon was incensed against him for not putting the first decree into execution more promptly, or there might have been some ground for exciting odium against him on account of his not having set out in chase of Alcidas sooner than he did; for it appears that he did not act upon the first information which he received. Or various other pretexts might be imagined, which would furnish a handle to the demagogues of the day.
It seems likely that the singular death of Paches gave occasion for the introduction of that provision in the decree of Cannonus, according to which in certain cases the defendant was to plead his cause in fetters. (Thuc. 3.18
; Poppo, ad 3.50; Diod. l.c. ; Strab. xiii. p.600
; Philological Museum,
vol. ii. p. 236.)