Brasidas was a Spartan
general during the Second Peloponnesian War
. He was a noted public speaker and a fierce supporter of the war with Athens
He achieved prominence in 431B.C. when he defended Methone against the Athenians. He was elected as an ephor later that year, and was given naval advisory positions in 429 and 427B.C.. In 425B.C. Brasidas distinguished at Pylos where he was a trierarch. The coast was rocky and the helmsmen were reluctant to beach the triremes. Brasidas ordered his own ship beached and shouted out that they should hurl their ships onto the rocks rather than leave the enemy on Spartan soil. Brasidas fought bravely in the battle that followed, where he sustained many injuries that eventually caused him to pass out.
The next year the Athenians uthreatened the captives taken at Pylos in order to prevent the Spartans from carrying out the annual ravaging of Atticea. Brasidas responded by leading a force of mercenaries and neodamodeis (helots freed in return for military service) to Thrace. In Thrace Brasidas never enslaved cities since he was there to liberate Greece, however he did ravage their crops and his large army must of been a factor as he tried to convince the towns to revolt and join him. He was successful in getting several major cities to join him including Amphipolis. Brasidas did ask Sparta to send him more troops however his enemies there prevented it. In 423B.C. an armistice was concluded, however Brasidas ignored it, supporting the revolts of Scione and Mende. In Scione he was greeted like an olympic hero, being draped with ribbons. In 422B.C. Cleon led an army against Brasidas in Amphipolis. Brasidas held the city however he was mortally wounded in the process and died soon after the battle.
Brasidas was an innovative general and a skilled orator, he made significant gains although not all were well defended, and he encouraged the future use of generals instead of kings, neodamodeis as auxilaries for the Spartan army.