|© 1998 Bernard SUZANNE||Last updated December 1, 1998|
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This page is part of the "tools" section of a site, Plato and his dialogues, dedicated to developing a new interpretation of Plato's dialogues. The "tools" section provides historical and geographical context (chronology, maps, entries on characters and locations) for Socrates, Plato and their time. By clicking on the minimap at the beginning of the entry, you can go to a full size map in which the city or location appears. For more information on the structure of entries and links available from them, read the notice at the beginning of the index of persons and locations.
Greek city of Boeotia north of Athens,
along the coast facing the island of Euboea, not far
from the border between Boeotia and Attica (area
Delium was the location of a sanctuary to Apollo in Boeotia. During the Peloponnesian war, it played a key role in a failed attempt by Athens, led by two generals, Hippocrates, son of Ariphron, and Demosthenes, son of Alcisthenes, to restore democracy in Boeotia and weaken Thebes (Thucydides, IV, 76 ; the two generals are first introduced by Thucydides at IV, 66, 3, where the name of their fathers are given). During the winter 424-423, the Athenians, going along with a plan devised with the complicity of Boeotian democrats, entered Delium and other cities of Boeotia that were supposed to side with them. But poor synchronization and denunciation of the conspiracy ruined the attempt (Thucydides, IV, 89-90). The Boeotian troups led by the Thebans defeated the Athenians near Delium (Thucydides, IV, 93-96) and set the siege of the city, that was still occupied by the Athenians. The city fell seventeen days later and more than one thousand Athenian hoplites were killed in the operation, including Hippocrates, one of the two generals who had devised it (Thucydides, IV, 100-101).
According to Plato, Socrates took part in the battle of Delium (as well as Laches and Alcibiades that he cites as witnesses) : he has Socrates himself say so in the Apology (28e), and Laches (Laches, 181b) and Alcibiades (Symposium, 221a-b) both praise his behavior during the retreat after the battle.