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By P. J. Rhodes

Alcibiades is without doubt one of the most renowned (or notorious) characters of Classical Greece. a tender Athenian aristocrat, he got here to prominence throughout the Peloponnesian battle (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 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 used to be additionally a chief mover in Athens' subsequent giant strategic gambit, the Sicilian day trip of 415 BC, for which he was once elected as one of many leaders. almost immediately after arrival in Sicily, despite the fact that, he used to be 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 dozing with the Spartan queen and used to be quickly at the run back. He then performed a devious and unsafe video game of moving 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 back from exile, notwithstanding he then adversarial the increasingly-extreme excesses of that regime. For a time he seemed to have restored Athens' fortunes within the struggle, yet went into exile back after being held answerable 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 manage his assassination through Persian brokers. there was no complete size biography of this colourful and demanding personality for two decades. Professor Rhodes brings the authority of an the world over well-known specialist within the box, making sure that this may be a very major addition to the literature on Classical Greece.

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5 Literally the word means ‘child-leader’, the attendant who took the boy to and from school, but he will also have had considerable responsibility for the boy at home. In Athens as in most Greek states (but not in Sparta) providing education and availing oneself of what was provided were private matters, though Aeschines in the fourth century quotes laws governing the conduct of schools with a view to protecting the pupils from abuse: 6 separate institutions taught reading, writing and literature, together with arithmetic, gymnastics, and music.

3 In the ceremony called amphidromia, perhaps on the fifth day from birth, the new-born child was carried round the hearth, and at a family occasion on the tenth day the child was named. Boys were not registered in their demes until they came of age, at eighteen, but Athenians normally belonged also to one of the older hereditary units known as phratries (‘brotherhoods’), and every year in the autumn at the festival known as Apaturia fathers presented to their phratry sons (and perhaps also daughters) who had been born in the past year.

14 The two labels are not comparable. Eupatrid (‘well-born’) refers in general to that aristocracy which dominated Athens from its emergence from the dark age until the late fifth century, and does not identify a particular family or group of families within it. Alcmaeonid does denote a particular extended family in Athens, which played a prominent but controversial role in politics from the late seventh century to the late fifth (Pericles also was an Alcmaeonid on his 17 Alcibiades - Printer PDF__ 15/04/2011 11:20 Page 18 Alcibiades mother’s side: see below).

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