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    • 1. (c. 450–404 bc), Athenian general and statesman who held commands during the Peloponnesian Wars against Sparta (431–404).
  2. Alcibiades - Wikipedia › wiki › Alcibiades

    Alcibiades was born in Athens.His father was Cleinias, who had distinguished himself in the Persian War both as a fighter himself and by personally subsidizing the cost of a trireme.

  3. Alcibiades | Athenian politician and general | Britannica › biography › Alcibiades-Athenian

    Alcibiades, (born c. 450 bc, Athens [Greece]—died 404, Phrygia [now in Turkey]), brilliant but unscrupulous Athenian politician and military commander who provoked the sharp political antagonisms at Athens that were the main causes of Athens’ defeat by Sparta in the Peloponnesian War (431–404 bc).

  4. Alcibiades - World History Encyclopedia


    Feb 08, 2013 · Alcibiades (or Alkibiades) was a gifted and flamboyant Athenian statesman and general whose shifting of sides during the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BCE earned him a reputation for cunning and treachery. Good-looking and rich, he was also notorious for his extravagant lifestyle and loose morals.

    • Mark Cartwright
  5. Alcibiades - New World Encyclopedia › entry › Alcibiades
    • Political Career Until 412 B.C.E.
    • Recall to Athens
    • Return to Athens, Dismissal and Death
    • Assessments
    • References in Comedy, Philosophy, Art and Literature
    • References
    • External Links

    Rise to prominence

    Alcibiades first rose to prominence when he began advocating aggressive Athenian action after the signing of the Peace of Nicias. That treaty, an uneasy truce between Sparta and Athens signed midway through the Peloponnesian War, came at the end of seven years of fighting in which neither side had gained a decisive advantage. Historians Arnold W. Gomme and Raphael Sealey believe, and Thucydides reports,that Alcibiades was offended that the Spartans had negotiated that treaty through Nicias an...

    Sicilian Expedition

    In 415 B.C.E., delegates from the Sicilian city of Segesta (Greek: Egesta) arrived at Athens to plead for the support of the Athenians in their war against Selinus. During the debates on the undertaking, Nicias was vehemently opposed to Athenian intervention, explaining that the campaign would be very costly and attacking the character and motives of Alcibiades, who had emerged as the supporter of the expedition. On the other hand, Alcibiades argued that a campaign in this new theater would b...

    Defection to Sparta

    After his disappearance at Thurii, Alcibiades quickly contacted the Spartans, "promising to render them aid and service greater than all the harm he had previously done them as an enemy" if they would offer him sanctuary. The Spartans granted this request and received him among them. In the debate at Sparta over whether to send a force to relieve Syracuse, Alcibiades spoke and instilled fear of Athenian ambition into the Spartan ephors by informing them that the Athenians hoped to conquer Sic...

    Negotiations with the Athenian oligarchs

    Alcibiades seemed to assume that the "radical democracy" would never agree to his recall to Athens. Therefore, he exchanged messages with the Athenian leaders at Samos and suggested that if they could install an oligarchy friendly to him he would return to Athens and bring with him Persian money and possibly the Persian fleet of 147 triremes. Alcibiades set about winning over the most influential military officers, and achieved his goal by offering them a threefold plan: the Athenian constitu...

    Reinstatement as an Athenian general

    In spite of the failure of the negotiations, the conspirators succeeded in overthrowing the democracy and imposing the oligarchic government of the Four Hundred, among the leaders of which were Phrynichus and Pisander. At Samos, however, a similar coup instigated by the conspirators did not go forward so smoothly. Samian democrats learned of the conspiracy and notified four prominent Athenians: the generals Leon and Diomedon, the trierarch Thrasybulus, and Thrasyllus, at that time a hoplite i...

    Battles of Abydos and Cyzicus

    Alcibiades was recalled by the "intermediate regime" of The Five Thousand, the government which succeeded the Four Hundred in 411, but it is most likely that he waited until 407 B.C.E. to actually return to the city. Plutarch tells us that, although his recall had already been passed on motion of Critias, a political ally of his, Alcibiades was resolved to come back with glory.While this was certainly his goal, it was again means to an end, that end being avoiding prosecution upon his return...

    Return to Athens

    It was in the aftermath of these successes that Alcibiades resolved to finally return to Athens in the spring of 407 B.C.E. Even in the wake of his recent victories, Alcibiades was exceedingly careful in his return, mindful of the changes in government, the charges still technically hanging over him, and the great injury he had done to Athens. Thus Alcibiades, instead of going straight home, he first went to Samos to pick up 20 ships and proceeded with them to the Ceramic Gulf where he collec...

    Defeat at Notium

    In 406 B.C.E. Alcibiades set out from Athens with 1500 hoplites and a hundred ships. He failed to take Andros and then he went on to Samos. Later he moved to Notium, closer to the enemy at Ephesus. In the meanwhile Tissaphernes had been replaced by Cyrus (a relative of Darius II of Persia) who decided to financially support the Peloponnesians. This new revenue started to attract Athenian deserters to the Spartan navy. Additionally the Spartans had replaced Mindarus with Lysander, a very capab...


    With one exception, Alcibiades' role in the war ended with his command. Prior to the Battle of Aegospotami, in the last attested fact of his career, Alcibiades recognized that the Athenians were anchored in a tacticlly disadvantageous spot and advised them to move to Sestus where they could benefit from a harbor and a city. Diodorus, however, does not mention this advice, arguing instead that Alcibiades offered the Generals Thracian aid in exchange for a share in the command.g[›] In any case,...

    Political career

    In ancient Greece, Alcibiades was a polarizing figure. Thucydides reprehends the Athenian statesman for his political conduct and motives. According to the historian, Alcibiades, being "exceedingly ambitious," proposed the expedition in Sicily in order "to gain in wealth and reputation by means of his successes." Alcibiades is held responsible by Thucydides for the destruction of Athens, since "his habits gave offence to every one, and caused them to commit affairs to other hands, and thus be...

    Military achievements

    Despite his critical comments, Thucydides admits in a short digression that "publicly his conduct of the war was as good as could be desired." Diodorus and Demosthenes regard him as a great general. According to Fotiadis, Alcibiades was an invincible general and, wherever he went, victory followed him; had he led the army in Sicily, the Athenians would have avoided disaster and, had his countrymen followed his advice at Aegospotami, Lysander would have lost and Athens would have ruled Greece....

    Oratorical skill

    Plutarch asserts that "Alcibiades was a most able speaker in addition to his other gifts," while Theophrastus argues that Alcibiades was the most capable of discovering and understanding what was required in a given case. Nevertheless, he would often stumble in the midst of his speech, but then he would resume and proceed with all the caution in the world. Even the lisp he had, which was noticed by Aristophanes, made his talk persuasive and full of charm. Eupolis says that he was "prince of t...

    Alcibiades has not been spared by ancient comedy and stories attest to an epic confrontation between Alcibiades and Eupolis resembling that between Aristophanes and Cleon. He also appears as a fictional character in several Socratic dialogues (Symposium, Protagoras, Alcibiades I, and II). Plato presents Alcibiades as Socrates' most brilliant student, who would, in time to come, be the ruin of Athens. In his trial, Socrates must rebut the attempt to hold him guilty for the crimes of his former students, including Alcibiades. Hence, he declares in Apology: "I have never been anyone's teacher". Alcibiades enjoys an important afterlife in art and appears in Medieval, Renaissance, and works of modern literature. He continues to fascinate the modern world, notably as the main character in historical novels, like those of Anna Bowman Dodd, Gertrude Atherton, Rosemary Sutcliff, Daniel Chavarría, Steven Pressfield and Peter Green. He is also a central character in Paul Levinson's time travel...

    Primary sources

    1. Andocides, "Against Alcibiades" Retrieved March 6, 2019. 2. Aristophanes, "The Frogs" The Internet Classics Archive. Retrieved March 6, 2019. 3. Aristophanes, "The Wasps". The Internet Classics Archive. Retrieved March 6, 2019. 4. Aristotle, "Constitution of the Athenians" The Internet Classics Archive. Retrieved March 6, 2019. 5. Aristotle, "History of Animals" The Internet Classics Archive. Retrieved March 6, 2019. 6. Aristotle, "Posterior Analytics" The Internet Class...

    Secondary sources

    1. "Alcibiades". Encyclopaedia of Ancient Greece. Routledge (UK), 2002. ISBN 0415973341. 2. Andrewes, A. "The Spartan Resurgence", The Cambridge Ancient History, edited by David M. Lewis, John Boardman, J. K. Davies, M. Ostwald (Volume V). Cambridge University Press, 1992. ISBN 052123347X. 3. Buck, R. J. Thrasybulus and the Athenian Democracy: the Life of an Athenian Statesman. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998. ISBN 3515072217. 4. Buckley, Terry. Aspects of Greek History 750–323 B.C.E. R...

    Further reading

    1. Atherton, Gertrude. The Jealous Gods: A Processional Novel of the Fifth Century B.C.E. Concerning One Alcibiades. (original 1928) reprint ed. Kessinger Publishing Co., 2004. ISBN 1417928077. 2. Chavarria, Daniel. The Eye Of Cybele. Akashic Books, 2005. ISBN 188845167X. 3. Green, Peter. Achilles his Armour. Doubleday, 1967. ASIN B0010X92KA 4. Hughes-Hallett, Lucy. Heroes: A History of Hero Worship. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004. ISBN 1400043999. 5. Pressfield, Steven. Tides of War: A Nove...

    All links retrieved March 6, 2019. 1. Alcibiades the General of the Peloponnesian War. ThoughtCo. 2. Evans, Kathleen, Alcibiades: Aristocratic Ideal or Antisocial Personality Disorder. Conference on the Humanities. 3. Loicq-Berger, Marie-Paule, Survie d’un lion : Alcibiade. (in French)

  6. Alcibiades: The Shrewd Athenian Opportunist Of The ...


    Jan 07, 2021 · Alcibiades was one such man, a famous orator, a general and a strategist who became one of the most important figures of the Peloponnesian War. This war itself became an event that shook the Greek world of that era, shaping the future of this nation for centuries to come, and sealing the fate of Athens.

  7. Meet Alcibiades, The Ancient World's Most Devious Playboy › people › facts-alcibiades

    On paper, Alcibiades was an Athenian general, advisor, and statesman. In reality, he mostly convinced people to go with the “first thought, best thought” approach to life. Throughout his colorful career, Alcibiades helped the Athenian military make some of their worst decisions.

  8. The Internet Classics Archive | Alcibiades by Plutarch › Plutarch › alcibiad

    Alcibiades, as it is supposed, was anciently descended from Eurysaces, Dinomache, his mother, was the daughter of Megacles. having fitted out a galley at his own expense, gained great honour in the sea-fight at Artemisium, and was afterwards slain in the battle of Coronea,

  9. Alcibiades — Badass of the Week


    Alcibiades was born in Athens in 450 BC, the son of a wealthy politician back in the Golden Age of Athenian Democracy. Though his father died heroically in battle while Alcibiades was just a boy, he was also the scion of a well-known aristocratic family that claimed to trace its lineage back to the Telemonian Ajax of Homer's Illiad, and Alcibiades was sent to live with his uncle, the famous ...

  10. Alkibiades | Assassin's Creed Wiki | Fandom › wiki › Alkibiades

    Alkibiades (c. 450 BCE – c. 404 BCE) was an Athenian statesman, orator, and general. A friend of Sokrates and a relative of Perikles, he made the acquaintance of the misthios Kassandra during the Peloponnesian War.

  11. Socrates, Alcibiades, and Ambition - The History of Socrates ... › socrates-alcibiades
    • Alcibiades – An Extravagant Figure
    • Alcibiades in Exile
    • Socrates’ Pursuit
    • Alcibiades’ Greatest Desire

    Who was this Alcibiades fellow? He was, quite simply, one of the most astonishing figures in all antiquity. He lived from about 450 to 404 B.C.; he was an Athenian born and raised. His father was Cleinias, and he was killed in battle when Alcibiades was quite young. Alcibiades went to live with his uncle, who happened to be none other than the greatest democratic statesman in Athens, Pericles. Alcibiades was remarkably handsome. He was rich. His family was one of the most distinguished in Greece. In short, Alcibiades seemed to have the world by the tail. He also had a staggeringly quick rise to power in Athens. In the course of the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and her allies, and while he was still quite young, Alcibiades managed to get himself elected as one of Athens’ generals. Not only that, he managed to persuade the Athenian democracy to undertake a mind-bogglingly ambitious plan to conquer the very distant island of Sicily. As the historian Thucydides tells us, Alcibiades...

    So began his rather astonishing political ride. Alcibiades went first to Sparta, Athens’ greatest enemy. He aided Sparta in ways that did real damage to Athens. When he wore out his welcome in Sparta, Alcibiades went to the third great power in the area, namely, Persia, which was the traditional enemy of all Greeks alike. There he sought to wield as much influence as he could. In short, Alcibiades managed to fight on three different sides in the same war; even more amazing than that, he eventually succeeded in having himself recalled to Athens, after all that he had done against his city. Although he did manage to lead the Athenian war effort for a time after his recall and to lead it well, he eventually fell afoul again of Athens and sought refuge in a place called Phrygia. There, some Persian agents, probably acting on a Spartan directive, assassinated Alcibiades in 404 B.C. Still, Thucydides’ portrait of Alcibiades is, on the whole, favorable or sympathetic. At any rate, Thucydid...

    With this much as a kind of preface, let’s turn now to look at Plato’s presentation of the beginning of the association between Alcibiades and Socrates. The dialogue takes place on the eve of Alcibiades’ planned entrance into Athenian democratic politics. Young as he is, he thinks he is ready to lead the city. We learn immediately that Socrates has been watching Alcibiades for quite a long time, but he has chosen this moment to speak to him for the first time. Alcibiades supposes, and Socrates at first gives him reason to suppose, that Socrates is just another fellow courting the handsome young man in the ancient Greek manner. Socrates presents himself as a would-be lover of Alcibiades, one who has, for some reason, never approached him before and who persists in his interest in Alcibiades even after the other suitors have turned their attention elsewhere. Learn more about how Acibiades military genius and political skill restores Athens to a commanding position Maybe I should say,...

    Socrates begins wooing Alcibiades, if that’s the right expression, in a time-honored way: He flatters him. He lists all of Alcibiades’ very many advantages in life, both natural and conventional. Socrates adds, “If I thought you were satisfied with these, I would never have approached you.” For Alcibiades, it turns out, wants something more out of life, even more than what he has. Socrates goes so far as to say that if Alcibiades had to choose between remaining content with what he is and what he has or dying, Alcibiades would choose to die. So what, then, does Alcibiades long for? Socrates takes a guess. It’s this: to hold sway not only in Athens, but in all Greece; and not only in Greece, but in all Europe; and not only there, but in Asia, too. Alcibiades, Socrates guesses, wants to rule the world, and Alcibiades, in effect, confirms this statement because he doesn’t deny it. The very statement of this staggering ambition, a young kid who literally wants to rule the world, would s...

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