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Alcibiades by P. J. Rhodes

By P. J. Rhodes

Alcibiades is among the most renowned (or notorious) characters of Classical Greece. a tender Athenian aristocrat, he got here to prominence in the course of the Peloponnesian conflict (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 was once instrumental in bringing jointly. even though this resulted in defeat on the conflict of Mantinea in 418 BC, his status remained excessive. He was once additionally a first-rate mover in Athens' subsequent sizeable strategic gambit, the Sicilian day trip of 415 BC, for which he used to be elected as one of many leaders. almost immediately after arrival in Sicily, although, he was once 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 assist 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 limits of hospitality via snoozing with the Spartan queen and was once 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 desire of an oligarchy, which allowed him to come from exile, although he then adverse the increasingly-extreme excesses of that regime. For a time he regarded to have restored Athens' fortunes within the struggle, yet went into exile back after being held liable for the defeat of 1 of his subordinates in a naval conflict. This time he took shelter with the Persians, yet as they have been now allied to the Spartans, the cuckolded King Agis of Sparta used to be in a position to set up his assassination by means of Persian brokers. there was no complete size biography of this colourful and critical personality for 20 years. Professor Rhodes brings the authority of an across the world well-known professional within the box, making sure that this may be a really major addition to the literature on Classical Greece.

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Political parties, with programmes, members and discipline, did not exist: there will have been some men who commonly supported Pericles (for a variety of reasons), some who commonly opposed him, and many who made up their minds on individual issues. No leader, however popular, could be sure that the assembly would always vote as he wanted: when we say that at a certain time Pericles was dominant we mean only that he was one of the most prominent politicians and that the assembly voted as he wanted more often than not; Thucydides’ comment that under Pericles Athens had ‘in theory democracy but in fact rule by the first man’12 was the result of wishful thinking.

10 According to Nepos, the reason why Pericles became guardian was that Alcibiades was said to be Pericles’ step-son, 11 which would mean that Alcibiades’ mother Deinomache was the otherwise unknown relative of Pericles who had been married to Pericles and to Hipponicus II (and that Alcibiades’ own wife, Hipparete II, was also his step-sister). 13 Pericles’ wife had borne him two sons before their divorce c. 455, Xanthippus II and Paralus; and he had a further son, Pericles II, by Aspasia of Miletus not later than 440.

The Spartans, marching northwards, were caught unprepared by their enemies, marching southwards, and in an attempt to re-form so as to engage effectively they created a gap in the middle of their own line. 91 However, the battle which might have ended the Spartans’ predominance in the Peloponnese in fact enabled them to reassert it; the hopes with which Alcibiades had led Athens into the alliance of 420 had been dashed. In the winter of 418/7 the Spartans made an approach to Argos, hoping that after the battle of Mantinea the Argives opposed to their city’s current democracy would be able to achieve a change of constitution and an alliance with Sparta.

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