He was a member of the Philaidae, a wealthy Athenian family that was opposed to the Peisistratos family. During his term as archon he set up the statue of Athena Promachos (πρὀμαχος) in Athens and oversaw a reorganization of the Panathenaia festival.
As a young man he competed for the hand of Agariste, the daughter of Cleisthenes, the tyrant of Sicyon. By the end of the competitions, only Hippocleides and Megacles remained. According to Herodotus (6.129-130), Hippocleides became intoxicated during a dinner party with Cleisthenes, and began to act like a fool; at one point he stood on his head and kicked his legs in the air, keeping time with the flute music. When Hippocleides was informed by Cleisthenes "Oh son of Teisander, you have just danced away your marriage," his response was "οὐ φροντὶς Ἱπποκλείδῃ", ("Hippocleides doesn't care" or literally "No care for Hippocleides"). The phrase, according to Herodotus, became a common expression in the Greek world.
John Henry Newman applied this saying to himself: "I am aware that what I have been saying will, with many men, be doing credit to my imagination at the expense of my judgment—'Hippoclides doesn't care;' I am not setting myself up as a pattern of good sense or of anything else: I am but vindicating myself from the charge of dishonesty."
- Terry Buckley, Aspects of Greek history, 750-323 BC: A Source-Based Approach (Routledge, 1996), pp. 120-121.
- Herodotus, The Histories, ed. Aubrey de Sélincourt (Penguin Books, 1954; rev. ed. John Marincola, 1996), pp. 406-407.
- Aristophanes, The Wasps, trans. Moses Hadas, in The Complete Plays of Aristophanes, ed. Moses Hadas (Bantam Books, 1962), pg. 209. Line 1410.
- Plutarch, "Of Herodotus' Malice", in Plutarch's Lives, vol. 4, ed. William W. Goodwin (Boston, 1874), pg. 356.
- John Henry Newman (1864), Apologia pro Vita Sua, 1946 reprint, New York: Dutton, Part III, "History of My Religious Opinions from 1833 to 1839", p. 51.
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