Lamachus was an Athenian
general during the second Peloponnesian War
. He was not from a rich or famous family as were many of his peers, instead he was a career soldier who worked his way up through the ranks.
He was first elected as a general in 435B.C., and was famed for his military leadership by 425B.C., when he was portrayed in Aristophanes' Acharnians. In the play Lamachus is a bombastic warmonger and is the opposite of the hero Dikaiopolis and a target for many of his jokes.
In 415B.C. Lamachus was elected as one of the three generals to command the Sicilian Expedition, his job was to act as the voice of reason between Alcibiades, who had planned the expedition and Nicias, who believed it doomed to failure. Unfortunately because of his lack of connections he could not convince them of the wisdom of his plans to attack Syracuse as soon as they reached Sicily. Then when Alcibiades was recalled to Athens Nicias took charge and Lamachus was unable to use the aggresive plans necessary to defeat the Syracusans. In 414B.C. Nicias began to take ill and so Lamachus took a more active role in the campaign.Lamachus drove the campaign forward,using his enthusiasm to almost force Syracuse to capitulate. Unforunately for Athens Lamachus died fighting in a skirmish. In later plays Aristophanes played tribute to his heroism.