Alcibiădes in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

Alcibiădes (Ἀλκιβιάδης). The son of Clinias and Dinomaché, born at Athens about B.C. 450, and on the death of his father, in 447, brought up by his relation Pericles. He possessed a beautiful person, transcendent abilities, and great wealth. His youth was disgraced by his amours and debaucheries, and Socrates, who saw his vast capabilities, attempted to win him to the paths of virtue, but in vain. Their intimacy, however, was strengthened by mutual services. At the battle of Potidaea (432 B.C.) his life was saved by Socrates, and at that of Delium (424 B.C.) he saved the life of Socrates. After the death of Cleon (422 B.C.) he became one of the leading politicians, and the head of the war party in opposition to Nicias. In 415 he was appointed, along with Nicias and Lamachus, as commander of the expedition to Sicily. While the preparations for the expedition were going on, there occurred a mysterious mutilation of the busts of the Hermae, which the popular fears connected with an attempt to overthrow the Athenian constitution. Alcibiades was charged with being the ringleader in this attempt. He demanded an investigation before he set sail, but this his enemies would not grant; but he had not been long in Sicily before he was recalled to stand his Bust of Alcibiades. trial. On his return homeward he managed to escape at Thurii, and thence proceeded to Sparta, where he acted as the avowed enemy of his country. The machinations of his enemy, Agis II., induced him to abandon the Spartans and take refuge with Tissaphernes (412 B.C.), whose favour he soon gained. Through his influence Tissaphernes deserted the Spartans and professed his willingness to assist the Athenians, who accordingly recalled Alcibiades from banishment in 411. He did not immediately return to Athens, but remained abroad for the next four years, during which the Athenians under his command gained the victories of Cynossema, Abydos, and Cyzicus, and got possession of Chalcedon and Byzantium. In 407 he returned to Athens, where he was received with great enthusiasm, and was appointed commanderin-chief of all the land and sea forces. But the defeat at Notium, occasioned during his absence by the imprudence of his lieutenant, Antiochus, furnished his enemies with a handle against him, and he was superseded in his command (406 B.C.). He now went into voluntary exile to his fortified domain at Bisanthé, in the Thracian Chersonesus. After the fall of Athens (404 B.C.) he took refuge with Pharnabazus. He was about to proceed to the court of Artaxerxes, when one night his house was surrounded by a band of armed men and set on fire. He rushed out, sword in hand, but fell, pierced with arrows (404 B.C.). The assassins were probably either employed by the Spartans or by the brothers of a lady whom Alcibiades had seduced. He left a son by his wife Hippareté named Alcibiades, who never distinguished himself. See Houssaye, Histoire d'Alcibiade, 2 vols. (Paris, 1873).

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