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Χάρης), an Athenian general, who for a long series of years contrived by profuse corruption to maintain his influence with the people, in spite of his very disreputable character. We first hear of him in B. C. 367, as being sent to the aid of the Phliasians, who were hard pressed by the Arcadians and Argives, assisted by the Theban commander at Sicyon. His operations were successful in relieving them, and it was in this campaign under him that Aeschines, the orator, first distinguished himself. (Xen. Hell. 7.2. §§ 18-23 ; Diod. 15.75; Aesch. de Fals. Leg. p. 50.) From this scene of action he was recalled to take the command against Oropus [CALLISTRATUS, No. 3]; and the recovery of their harbour by the Sicyonians from the Spartan garrison, immediately on his departure, shews how important his presence had been for the support of the Lacedaemonian cause in the north of the Peloponnesus. (Xen. Hell. 7.4.1, comp. 7.3.2.) [EUPHRON; PASIMELUS.] In 361 he was appointed to succeed Leosthenes, after the defeat of the latter by Alexander of Pherae [p. 125,a.], and, sailing to Corcyra, he gave his aid, strange to say, to an oligarchical conspiracy there, whereby the democracy was overthrown with much bloodshed,--a step by which he of course excited a hostile disposition towards Athens on the part of the ejected, while he failed at the same time to conciliate the oligarchs. (Diod. 15.95.) The necessary consequence was the loss of the island to the Athenians when the Social war broke out. In 358 Chares was sent to Thrace as general with full power, and obliged Charidemus to ratify the treaty which he had made with Athenodorus. [CHARIDEMUS.] In the ensuing year he was appointed to the conduct of the Social war, in the second campaign of which, after the death of Chabrias, Iphicrates and Timotheus were joined with him in the command, B. C. 356. According to Diodorus, his colleagues having refused, in consequence of a storm, to risk an engagement for which he was eager. he accused them to the people, and they were recalled and subsequently brought to trial. As C. Nepos tells it, Chares actually attacked the enemy in spite of the weather, was worsted, and, in order to screen himself, charged his colleagues with not supporting him. In the prosecution he was aided by Aristophon, the Azenian. (Diod. 16.7, 21; Nep. Tim. 3; Arist. Rhet. 2.23.7, 3.10.7; Isocr. περὶ Ἄτνιδ. § 137; Deinarch. c. Polycl. § 17.) Being now left in the sole command, and being in want of money, which he was afraid to apply for from home, he relieved his immediate necessities by entering, compelled perhaps by his mercenaries, into the service of Artabazus, the revolted satrap of Western Asia. The Athenians at first approved of this proceeding, but afterwards ordered him to drop his connexion with Artabazus on the complaint of Artaxerxes III. (Ochus); and it is probable that the threat of the latter to support the confederates against Athens hastened at least the termination of the war, in accordance with the wishes of Eubulus and Isocrates, and in opposition to those of Chares and his party. (Diod. 16.22; Dem. Philipp. i. p. 46; Isoc. de Pac.; Arist. Rhet. 3.17.10.) In B. C. 353 Chares was sent against Sestus, which, as well as Cardia, seems to have refused submission notwithstanding the cession of the Chersonesus to Athens in 357. [CERSOBLEPTES.] He took the town, massacred the men, and sold the women and children for slaves. (Diod. 16.34.) In the Olynthian war, B. C. 349, he was appointed general of the mercenaries sent from Athens to the aid of Olynthus; but he seems to have effected little or nothing. The command was then entrusted to Charidemus, who in the ensuing year, 348, was again superseded by Chares. In this campaign he gained some slight success on one occasion over Philip's mercenaries, and celebrated it by a feast given to the Athenians with a portion of the money which had been sacrilegiously taken from Delphi, and some of which had found its way into his hands. (Diod. 16.52-55; Philochor. apud Dionys. p. 735; Theopomp. and Heracleid. apud Athen. xii. p. 532.) On his εὐθύνη he was impeached by Cephisodotus, who complained, that "he was endeavouring to give his account after having got the people tight by the throat" (Arist. Rhet. 3.10.7), an allusion perhaps merely to the great embarrassment of Athens at the time. (See a very unsatisfactory explanation in Mitford, ch. 39, sec. 2.) In B. C. 346 we find him commanding again in Thrace; and, when Philip was preparing to march against Cersobleptes, complaints arrived at Athens from the Chersonesus that Chares had withdrawn from his station, and was nowhere to be found; and the people were obliged to send a squadron in quest of him with the extraordinary message, that " the Athenians were surprised that, while Philip was marching against the Chersonese, they did not know where their general and their forces were." That he had been engaged in some private expedition of plunder is probable enough. In the same year, and before the departure of the second embassy from Athens to Macedonia on the subject of the peace, a despatch arrived from Chares stating the hopeless condition of the affairs of Cersobleptes. (Dem. de Fals. Leg. pp. 390, 391, 447; Aesch. de Fals. Leg. pp. 29, 37, 40.) After this we lose sight of Chares for several years, during which he probably resided at Sigetiu, which, according to Theopompus (apud Athen. xii . p. 532,) was with him a favourite residence, as supplying more opportunity for the indulgence of his profligate propensities than he could find at Athens. But in a speech of Demosthenes delivered in B. C. 341 (de Chers. p. 97) he is spoken of as possessing much influence at that time in the Atlenian councils ; and we may consider him therefore to have been one of those who authorized and defended the proceedings of Diopeithes against Philip in Thrace. In B. C. 340 he was appointed to the command of the force which was sent to aid Byzantium against Philip; but his character excited the suspicions of the Byzantians, and they refused to receive him. Against the enemy he effected nothing: his only exploits were against the allies of Athens, and these he plundered unscrupulously. He was accordingly superseded by Phocion, whose success was brilliant. (Diod. 16.74, &c.; Phil. Ep. ad Ath. ap. Dem. p. 163; Plut. Phoc. 14.) In 338 he was sent'to the aid of Amphissa against Philip, who defeated him together with the Theban general, Proxenus. Of this defeat, which is mentioned by Aeschines, Demosthenes in his reply says nothing, but speaks of two battles in which the Athenians were victorious. (Polyaen. 4.2; Aesch. c. Ctes. p. 74; Dem. de Cor. p. 300; see Mitford, ch. 42, sec. 4; Clinton, Fast. ii. pp. 293, 294.) In the same year Chares was one of the commanders of the Athenian forces at the battle of Chaeroneia, for the disastrous result of which he escaped censure, or at least prosecution, though Lysicles, one of his colleagues, was tried and condemned to death. (Diod. 16.85, 88; Wess. ad loc.) He is mentioned by Arrian among the Athenian orators and generals whom Alexander required to be surrendered to him in B. C. 335, though he was afterwards prevailed on by Demades not to press the demand against any but Charidemus. Plutarch, however, omits the name of Chares in the list which he gives us. (Arr. Anab. 1.10 ; Plut. Dem. 23.) When Alexander invaded Asia in P. 100.334, Chares was living at Sigeum, and he is mentioned again by Arrian (Arr. Anab. 1.12) as one of those who came to meet the king and pay their respects to him on his way to Ilium. Yet we afterwards find him commanding for Dareius at Mytilene, which had been gained in B. C. 333 by Pharnabazus and Autophradates, but which Chares was compelled to surrender in the ensuing year. (Arr. Anab. 2.1, 3.2.) From this period we hear no more of him, but it is probable that he ended his days at Sigeum.

As a general, Chares has been charged with rashness, especially in the needless exposure of his own person (Plut. Pel. 2); and he seems indeed to have been possessed of no very superior talent, though perhaps he was, during the greater portion of his career, the best commander that Athens was able to find. In politics we see him connected throughout with Demosthenes (see Dem. de Fals. Leg. p. 447), --a striking example of the strange associations which political interests are often thought to necessitate. Morally he must have been an incubus on any party to which he attached himself, notwithstanding the apparent assistance he might sometimes render it through the orators whom he is said to have kept constantly in pay. His profligacy, which was measureless, he unblushingly avowed and gloried in, openly ridiculing,--what might have abashed any other man,--the austere virtue of Phcion. His bad faith passed into a proverb; and his rapacity was extraordinary, even amidst the miserable system then prevailing, when the citizens of Athens would neither fight their own battles nor pay the men who fought them, and her commanders had to support their mercenaries as best they could. In fact, his character presents no one single point on which the mind can rest with pleasure. He lived, as we know, during the period of his country's decline, and may serve. indeed, as a specimen of a class of men whose influence in a nation is no less a cause than a symptom of its fall. (Plut. Phoc. 5; Theopomp. apud Athen. l.c.; Isocr. de Pace; Aesch. de Fals. Leg. p. 37; Eubul. apud Arist. Rhet. 1.15.15; Suid. s. v. Χάρητος ὑποσχέσεις.)


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hide References (21 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (21):
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.21
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.22
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.34
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.52
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.7
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.85
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.75
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.95
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.55
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.74
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 16.88
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 7.2
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 7.4.1
    • Plutarch, Demosthenes, 23
    • Plutarch, Pelopidas, 2
    • Plutarch, Phocion, 14
    • Plutarch, Phocion, 5
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 1.10
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 1.12
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 2.1
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 3.2
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