AlcibiadesSocial Studies for 9th EBGTeacher: MauricioTorres
Who was Alcibiades?▪ He was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. Herepresented the best qualities of the Athenians.▪ He played a major role in the second half of that conflict as astrategic advisor, military commander, and politician.▪ During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed hispolitical allegiance on several occasions.
Life in Athens▪ Alcibiades was born in ancient Athens.▪ Alcibiades had several famous teachers, includingSocrates, and was well trained in the art of Rhetoric.▪ He was noted, however, for his unruly behavior, which wasmentioned by ancientGreek and Latin writers on severaloccasions.▪ Rise to prominence:▪ Alcibiades first rose to prominence when he beganadvocating aggressiveAthenian action after the signing ofthe Peace of Nicias.That treaty, an uneasy truce betweenSparta andAthens signed midway through thePeloponnesianWar, came at the end of seven years offighting during which neither side had gained a decisiveadvantage.▪ Alcibiades was subsequently appointedGeneral.
TheAthenian Expedition▪ Nicias was opposed to Athenian intervention in Sicily, explaining thatthe campaign would be very.▪ On the other hand, Alcibiades argued that a campaign in this newtheatre would bring riches to the city and expand the empire.▪ “40 galleys, 5,100 men at arms, and about 1300 archers, slingers, and lightarmed men”.▪ Before it was launched, Alcibiades was accused by his enemies ofsacrilege.▪ He was not there to defend himself, and was sentenced to death.▪ The expedition failed due to poor leadership. Maybe if Alcibiades hadbeen in charge, things would have been different.
Becoming a Spartan▪ Alcibiades quickly contacted the Spartans, "promising torender them aid and service greater than all the harm he hadpreviously done them as an enemy" if they would offer himsanctuary.▪ In the debate at Sparta over whether to send a force torelieve Syracuse, Alcibiades spoke and instilled fear ofAthenian ambition into the Spartans.▪ Alcibiades advised the Spartans to send troops and mostimportantly, a Spartan commander to discipline and aid theSyracusans.▪ Alcibiades served as a military adviser to Sparta and helpedthe Spartans secure several crucial successes.▪ He also became the most Spartan amongst Spartans.
Weakening Athens▪ He advised them to build a permanent fort just over 16 km fromAthens and within sight of the city.▪ By doing this, the Spartans cut the Athenians off entirely fromtheir homes and crops and the silver mines.▪ This was part of Alcibiades plan to renew the war with Athens.▪ The move was devastating to Athens and forced the citizens tolive within the long walls of the city year round, making thementirely dependent on their seaborne trade for food.
On the Run▪ In spite of these valuable contributions to theSpartan cause,Alcibiades fell out of favorwith the Spartan government at around thistime, ruled by Agis II.▪ The son born by Agis wife was believed bymany to be Alcibiades son!▪ Alcibiades received warning that there was adeath sentence awaiting him in Sparta. Hedefected to a Persian satrap, who had beensupporting the Peloponnesian forcesfinancially in 412 BC.
In Asia Minor▪ On his arrival in the local Persian court, Alcibiadeswon the trust of the powerful satrap and madeseveral policy suggestions which were well received.▪ Alcibiades immediately began to do all he could toinjure the Peloponnesian cause. At his urging, thesatrap reduced the payments he was making to thePeloponnesian fleet and began delivering themirregularly.▪ Although Alcibiades advice benefited the Persians, itwas merely a means to an end; his real motive was touse his alleged influence with the Persians to effecthis restoration to Athens.
Back in Black▪ The members of a navy group assembled andprepared to send one of their number, on an embassyto Athens to treat for the restoration of Alcibiadesand the abolition of the democracy in the city, andthus to makeTissaphernes, the Persian satrap thefriend of the Athenians.▪ Thing did not go the way he expected but revolts inAthens and the rise of oligarchs led to his restorationas a General. All this, because they thought hisinfluence with the Persians was great.▪ As a general, he was very successful! Was thereanything he could not do?
Fall from Grace▪ Well, he did fail: he lost in a major battle.This wasused by his enemies to attack him and remove himfrom command.▪ Along, other capable commanders were also substituted.This led to anAthenian collapse later on.▪ It is not certain as how he died, but he died in exile.It is said his house was burned, and he came out ofit, with a dagger in his hand, trying to die a warriorsdeath.
Wrapping Up▪ Alcibiades military and political talents frequently proved valuable towhichever state currently held his allegiance, but his propensity formaking powerful enemies ensured that he never remained in oneplace for long.
AskYourself▪ Recall:▪ What qualities defined him as a model Athenian?▪ Why did Spartans chase him away?▪ Analyze:▪ Why would Alcibiades turn everybody against everyone?▪ What kind of strategy did Alcibiades use against the Athenians?▪ Describe:▪ How could you describe the personality attributes ofAlcibiades?▪ Infer:▪ Why do you think Persians stayed neutral during this conflict?