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Alcibiades

athens, sparta, persian, athenian, alliance and war

ALCIBIADES, 41'sl-biTclez, son of Clein ias, an Athenian of high family: b. Athens 450 ac.; d. 404 B.C. His father, who died a few years after his birth, had greatly distinguished himself in the Persian wars, and had taken a prominent part in the expulsion of the Peisis tratidm. Alcibiades was a relation of Pericles, who was his joint guardian along with Ari phron. He was remarkable in youth for the beauty of his person, the dissoluteness of his manners, the determination of his character and the greatness of his abilities. He came under the influence of Socrates, who tried to lead him into the paths of virtue; but though their friendship was strengthened by mutual obligations, each having saved the other in bat tle, the passions of Alcibiades were too strong for advice, and little permanent effect was pro duced on his character. He acquired great popularity by his liberality in providing for the amusements of the people, and although guilty of many violent, extravagant and audacious acts, he had, after the death of Cleon, a politi cal ascendency which left him no rival but Nicias. Both at first cultivated alliance with Sparta, to which Alcibiades had a hereditary partiality, but the Spartans trusting more to Nicias, he was offended, and induced the Athe nians to break with Sparta and ally themselves with Argos, Elis and Mantinea (in the Pelopon nesian war). In 419 he was chosen strategos, and led a small army into the Peloponnesus with which some important operations were effected. In 415 he advocated the Sicilian war, and was chosen one of the leaders of the ex pedition appointed to conduct it; but before it sailed he was charged with profaning and di vulging the Eleusinian mysteries, and mutilat ing the busts of Hermes which were set up in public all through Athens. He was permitted to take his place in the expedition, but was re called before his plans could be accomplished.

He made his escape and went to Sparta, where he was well received. He. divulged the plans of the Athenians, and assisted the Spartans to defeat them. Sentence of death and confisca tion was pronounced against him at Athens, and he was cursed by the ministers of religion. He induced the Athenian dependencies of Athens to revolt, and made alliance with Tissaphernes, a Persian satrap. Soon after he abandoned Sparta and took refuge with the Persian, in gratiating himself by his affectation of Persian manners as he had previously done at Sparta by a similar affectation of Spartan simplicity. He now began to intrigue for his return to Athens, offering to bring Tissaphernes over to the Athenian alliance. His intrigue led to the es tablishment of an oligarchy (the Four Hun dred), but they did not recall him. The fleet, however, which was stationed at Samos de clared in favor of a democracy and recalled him. The revolution was effected at Athens without the return of the armament, and the banishment of Alcibiades was canceled. He remained abroad, however, for some years in command of the Athenian forces, gained sev eral victories, and took Chalcedon and Byzan tium. In 407 B.0 he returned to Athens, where all proceedings against him were canceled, but in 406, the fleet which he commanded having suffered a severe defeat, he was deprived of his command. He retired to the Thracian Cher sonesus, where he made war with mercenaries on the Thracian tribes. On the establishment of the Thirty at Athens a decree of banishment was passed against him. He took refuge with Pharnabazus, a Persian satrap, and was about to proceed to the court of Persia when he was assassinated, probably through private revenge.