By P. J. Rhodes
Alcibiades is without doubt one of the most famed (or notorious) characters of Classical Greece. a tender Athenian aristocrat, he got here to prominence through the Peloponnesian battle (429-404 BC) among Sparta and Athens. Flamboyant, charismatic (and wealthy), this shut affiliate of Socrates persuaded the Athenians to aim to face as much as the Spartans on land as a part of an alliance he used to be instrumental in bringing jointly. even if this ended in defeat on the conflict of Mantinea in 418 BC, his status remained excessive. He used to be additionally a primary mover in Athens' subsequent vast strategic gambit, the Sicilian excursion of 415 BC, for which he used to be elected as one of many leaders. almost immediately after arrival in Sicily, despite the fact that, he used to be recalled to stand fees of sacrilege allegedly devoted in the course of his pre-expedition reveling. leaping send at the go back trip, he defected to the Spartans. Alcibiades quickly ingratiated himself with the Spartans, encouraging them to help the Sicilians (ultimately leading to the utter destruction of the Athenian day trip) and to maintain year-round strain at the Athenians. He then turns out to have overstepped the boundaries of hospitality by way of dozing with the Spartan queen and used to be quickly at the run back. He then performed a devious and hazardous online game of transferring loyalties among Sparta, Athens and Persia. He had a hand in engineering the overthrow of democracy at Athens in prefer of an oligarchy, which allowed him to come back from exile, although he then adversarial the increasingly-extreme excesses of that regime. For a time he appeared to have restored Athens' fortunes within the battle, yet went into exile back after being held answerable for the defeat of 1 of his subordinates in a naval conflict. This time he took safe haven with the Persians, yet as they have been now allied to the Spartans, the cuckolded King Agis of Sparta was once capable of organize his assassination by means of Persian brokers. there was no complete size biography of this colourful and significant personality for two decades. Professor Rhodes brings the authority of an the world over famous specialist within the box, making sure that this may be a very major addition to the literature on Classical Greece.
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Additional info for Alcibiades
23 He was said to be a clever speaker,24 but also one who frequently stumbled in his speech as he searched for the right words. 33 Plutarch continues with two stories attributed to the late-fifth-century orator Antiphon, warning that they are suspect because Antiphon admitted to hating Alcibiades. On one occasion Alcibiades ran away to Democrates, one of his lovers, and Ariphron wanted to have him publicly proclaimed as a runaway but Pericles prevented that on the grounds that it would achieve nothing.
How much freedom did the Spartan envoys have? Greek states had a tendency to make men autokratores on particular occasions without spelling out in what ways and to what extent their powers were greater than they would otherwise have been, and it always remained open to the state’s assembly to disown their actions and punish them afterwards if the results seemed unsatisfactory. Here it is hard to think that the Spartans were prepared to make serious concessions to Athens, or that they took the risk of committing themselves in advance to whatever terms their envoys might be induced to agree to.
What happened in the council and in private conversations must be less certain. It may be that the Spartans had used the term autokratores without meaning to give their envoys unlimited power to agree on terms; their response to Nicias afterwards (cf. below) makes it clear that they were not prepared to accept whatever demands Athens might make, and at least to the extent that Alcibiades exposed that fact the first view cited above should be right. But next a writer more religious than Thucydides might have said that the gods intervened.
Alcibiades by P. J. Rhodes