Callias III

Callias (Greek: Kαλλίας, pronounced "Kahl-LEE-as"), son of Hipponicus by the ex-wife of Periclesrf|1|plut_24, an Alcmaeonid and the third head of one of the most distinguished Athenian families to bear the name of Callias, was said to be notorious for his extravagance and profligacy. Historians sometimes designate him "Callias III" to distinguish him from his grandfather Callias II ("Callias II") and from his grandfather's grandfather Callias ("Callias I"). The family was immensely wealthy: the major part of their fortune came from the leasing of large numbers of slaves to the state-owned silver mines of Laurium. In return, the Calliases were being paid a share of the mine proceeds, in silver. Accordingly they were considered the richest family in Athens and possibly all of Greece, and the head of the family was often simply referred to as "ho plousios" (Greek: "ο πλούσιος", "the wealthy").

Callias must have acceded to the family's fortune in 424 BC, which is not perhaps irreconcilable with the mention of him in the comedy the "Flatterers" of Eupolis, 421 BC, as having recently entered to the inheritance.rf|2|ath_5 In 400 BC, 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 Mysteriesrf|3|andoc; 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 392 BC, we find him in command of the Athenian heavy-armed troops at Corinth on the occasion of the famous defeat of a Spartan regiment, or Mora, by Iphicrates.rf|4|xen_4.5 He was hereditary proxenus (roughly the equivalent of the modern consul) of Sparta, and, as such, was chosen as one of the envoys empowered to negotiate peace with that state in 371 BC, on which occasion Xenophon reports an absurd and self-glorifying speech of his.rf|5|xen_6.3_5.4 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" of his family.rf|6|andoc_arist_ath_4_ael_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 dilettante highly amused with the intellectual fencing of Protagoras and Socrates.rf|7|plat

He is said to have ultimately reduced himself to absolute beggary, to which the sarcasm of Iphicratesrf|8|aris_3.2 in calling him "metragyrtes" instead of "daduchos" obviously refers; and he died at last in actual want of the common necessities of life.rf|9|ath_12_lys He left a legitimate son named Hipponicus.rf|10|andoc


*Smith, William (editor); "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology", [ "Callias III"] , Boston, (1867)


ent|1|plut_24 Plutarch, "Parallel Lives", "Pericles", [ 24] ent|2|ath_5 Athenaeus, "Deipnosophistae", [ v. 59] ent|3|andoc Andocides, "Speeches", "On the Mysteries", [ 110] ent|4|xen_4.5 Xenophon, "Hellenica", [ iv. 5] ent|5|xen_6.3_5.4 Ibid., [ vi. 3] , [ v. 4] ent|6|andoc_arist_ath_4_ael_4.16 Andocides, [ 130] ; Aristophanes, "The Frogs", v. [ 432] ; Athenaeus, [ iv. 67] ; Aelian, "Varia Historia", [ iv. 16] ent|7|plat Plato, "Protagoras", [ pp. 335-38] ent|8|aris_3.2 Aristotle, "Rhetoric", [ iii. 2] ent|9|ath_12_lys Athenaeus, [ xii. 52] ; Lysias, "Speeches", "On the Property of Aristophanes", [ 48] ent|10|andoc Andocides, [ 126]


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