Konon (general)

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Konon from Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum (1553)

Konon ( gr. Κόνων) (* before 444 BC probably in Athens ; † around 390 BC in Cyprus ) was an Athenian general and politician.


Since 414 BC BC, during the Peloponnesian War , Konon was a strategist several times , mostly at Kerkyra , where he prevented the Corinthians and Spartans from crossing to Italy and Sicily. 408 BC In addition to Alcibiades and Thrasybulus, he received command of the fleet and remained in command of the fleet after the fall of Alcibiades in 407 BC. One of the 10 strategists by referendum.


406 BC Chr. He proposed together with his colleague Admiral Leon and Erasinides in port of Lesvos a battle against a twice as strong Peloponnesian fleet under the Spartan Seeherrn Kallikratidas . After initial successes, the Athenians had to give way to the enemy superiority and were trapped in the port of Mytilene . After a few days Konon devised a ruse to smuggle his two commanders out through the blockade, and Erasinides, who was the only one successful, managed to inform the capital of the siege.

The Athenians then sent a relief fleet, which Kallikratidas defeated in the Battle of the Arginus and so freed Konon in Mytilene again. After this battle, however, the victorious Athenian generals were sentenced to death in the so-called Arginus Trial by the popular assembly, which was angry about the high losses, because they had neither recovered the shipwrecked sailors nor their bodies. Konon was the only strategist not charged as he was still trapped in Mytilene during the battle.


When the Athenian fleet was destroyed by the Spartan Lysander in 405 BC. At the Battle of Aigospotamoi , Konon belonged to the responsible general college of the Athenians together with Philocles , Tydeus , Adeimantos and Menandros . On the day of the battle, Konon commanded the Athenian Guard Squadron and failed to warn the fleet on the bank in time. When the Spartans arrived, his nine ships were the only ones ready for sea and were thus able to evade the attack. On the flight, however, Konon proved his seafaring experience and cold-bloodedness by raiding the abandoned Spartan shipyard near the Abarni promontory near Lampsakos and stealing the mainsails they had left there in order to prevent any pursuit. The naval power of Athens was completely destroyed in the battle, the other strategists and the Attic citizens in the army of Lysander were executed.

After the defeat sent Conon the ship of state Paralos to Athens to deliver the message, dared myself but not to return, preferring, according to Cyprus to escape, where he assisted by the kind-hearted king I. Euagoras received. The loss of its fleet forced Athens to surrender the following year.


After the end of the Peloponnesian War, Sparta was from 400 BC. At war with the Persian Empire . Konon took advantage of this by making contact both with Pharnabazos , the satrap (governor) of the Persian provinces of Phrygia and Bithynia , and with the Persian great king. These appointed Konon admiral of a new fleet with which he could fight the Spartans. 396 BC He conquered Rhodes , 394 BC. BC he won the battle of Knidos together with Pharnabazos . The Spartan naval rule was ended. Close collaborators of Konon were Nikophemos, whom he made governor of the island of Kythera (south of the Peloponnese ), and his son Aristophanes , who carried out diplomatic missions for Konon and acted as a liaison in Athens.

After further conquests, Konon returned to Athens, where he rebuilt the Long Walls and allowed Athens to regain strength through his policy of alliance and conquest. Thereupon the Spartans wanted to meet with the Persians for peace negotiations, Konon belonged to the Athenian embassy. However, in Sardis , where the peace negotiations took place, he was arrested for alleged treason. He escaped again to Cyprus, where he presumably died a little later. His son was Timothy .


Web links


  1. Xenophon , Hellenika 2, 1, 27-32.
  2. Xenophon, Hellenika 4, 8, 9f.