Nikias was (470 BC-413 BC) was an Athenian aristocrat and statesmen. He had been instrumental in bringing a temporary halt to the Peloponnesian War in 421 BC. A few years later, rising politician Alcibiades helped restart the war, despite Nikias' opposition. Eventually, the two became unlikely allies, and Nikias helped Alkibiades raise the Sicilian Expedition, although both found each other distasteful. The Athenian siege of Syracuse was nearly successful until the arrival of the Spartan general Gylippus, who turned the situation around so that the Athenians were themselves under siege. Nikias led his forces in a desperate attempt to escape by land. However, they were cut off and he and his Athenian army were overwhelmed and defeated. Subsequently, Nikias was executed.
Nikias was a conservative and conventional Athenian and so was made co-general to Alkibiades for the Sicillian Expedition to anchor him. Alkibiades found Nikias frustrating to work with because he was a ditherer and worrier who could not make up his mind.
When representatives attempted to arrest Alkibiades at Katane, Nikias was astonished Alkibiades refused to return to Athens and instead laid siege to Syracuse. Nikias was more astonished when Syracuse fell, and Alkibiades successfully raided Sparta on the way back to Athens.
After the expedition returned to Athens, Nikias publicly acknowledged that Alkibiades had previously called upon the gods to favor his expedition if they deemed he had done no wrong. His victories argued they had done so. However, Nikias was appalled by Alkibiades' decision to invade the city, and had nothing more to do with him.