Alcibiades by P. J. Rhodes

By P. J. Rhodes

Alcibiades is likely one of the most renowned (or notorious) characters of Classical Greece. a tender Athenian aristocrat, he got here to prominence in the course of the Peloponnesian struggle (429-404 BC) among Sparta and Athens. Flamboyant, charismatic (and wealthy), this shut affiliate of Socrates persuaded the Athenians to try to face as much as the Spartans on land as a part of an alliance he used to be 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 primary mover in Athens' subsequent mammoth strategic gambit, the Sicilian day trip of 415 BC, for which he was once elected as one of many leaders. presently after arrival in Sicily, notwithstanding, he used to be recalled to stand fees of sacrilege allegedly dedicated 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 excursion) and to maintain year-round strain at the Athenians. He then turns out to have overstepped the limits of hospitality via dozing with the Spartan queen and used to be quickly at the run back. He then performed a devious and hazardous video 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, even though he then adverse the increasingly-extreme excesses of that regime. For a time he seemed to have restored Athens' fortunes within the warfare, yet went into exile back after being held accountable 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 used to be in a position to manage his assassination by way 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 it will be a very major addition to the literature on Classical Greece.

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67 By the summer of 420 an attempt to add the Boeotians to the Argive alliance had misfired, and Sparta by making a separate alliance with Boeotia had broken an alliance of 421 with Athens with which it had tried to cement the peace treaty. That aroused indignation in Athens, and Argos and its Peloponnesian allies, prompted by Alcibiades, made an approach to Athens. 68 As Thucydides tells the story, in accordance with normal practice, the Spartans appeared first before the council of five hundred, where they said that they had been given full power (had been made autokratores) to resolve all outstanding issues.

As it became more of an empire, especially after the middle of the century, Athens interfered in the internal affairs of the members in various ways — not merely levying money (‘tribute’) from them, but sometimes imposing a democratic constitution, sometimes imposing Athenian governors and garrisons, sometimes confiscating land and giving it to Athenians who would act as an informal garrison, transferring lawsuits to Athenian courts, requiring offerings at Athenian religious festivals — but the member states remained technically autonomous states with their own laws and their own governments, and in view of the Greeks’ widespread attachment to the autonomy of their own communities, they would probably have considered it more oppressive to be deprived of that autonomy even if in return they were given citizenship of a greater Athens.

Sparta and its allies marched against Argos by three routes from Phlius, to the north; the Argive army went out along the main road in the direction of Phlius; and the upshot was that Sparta’s own division found itself between the Argive army and the city of Argos, while the Argive army found itself between two divisions of the Spartan army; Thucydides gives the impression that the Argive position was in fact the weaker. 83 After that an Athenian contingent arrived, with two generals, Laches and Nicostratus (the expedition seems at any rate to have been authorised and paid for before the end of 419/884).

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