Alcibiades born into a rich and powerful Athenian

Alcibiades was the son of Cleinias,he was born around 450 B.C. and died in 404 B.C. He was considered to be a brilliant general, politician, and the ultimate playboy. Arguably he was the most gifted Athenian of his time, he possessed great charm that he used to achieve a brilliant political and military career, but he was also completely unscrupulous. During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his allegiance on several times. His advice, whether it was to Athens or Sparta, oligarchs or democrats, was motivated by selfish desires. This directly led to his shifting of allegiances during the Peloponnesian War, and earned him a reputation for his cunning and treachery. But above all else he looked out for his own interests. This led to eventual downfall.
His early years
 Alcibiades was born several years before the Peloponnesian War and reached adulthood right at the start of it. This would end up shaping his whole life. He was born into a rich and powerful Athenian family. His uncle was the famed politician Pericles. After both of his parents died while he was -very young he was raised by Pericles. A combination of a well to do family and having “good breeding” left him a very handsome, spoiled, and highly charismatic young man. He was pursued by many of the upper-class Athenian elite. When he did marry it no affect upon his womanizing, he was noted for his unruly behavior so much so that it mentioned by several ancient Greek and Latin writers. This would be a pattern throughout his whole life.
His military career
 When he 18 he was wounded in the Battle of Potidaea (432 B.C.), he was protected by none other than Socrates, eight years later he returned the favor during the Battle of Delium.
 He is estimated to be around 30 yr.(since 30 was the youngest he could have been to have been elected a general) when he was elected as one of Athens’ 10 generals. Considered by many of his contemporaries and many modern scholars to be a brilliant leader in battle, he was prone to come up with dangerously grand schemes in war just as he had in politics. He thought that an aggressive foreign policy was the best thing for Athens(read best for Alcibiades) and was a prominent proponent of the Sicilian Expedition. His military and political talents frequently was beneficial to whoever he was currently offering his allegiance to.
His political career
 In Spite of the fact that he was an aristocrat, and entitled to political power, he chose to pursue power as leader of the democrats.
 During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed sides several times. First as a general in the Athenian army (a position that he held for 15 years), then as an adviser to the Spartans (who were at war with Athens), then to the Persians, and finally back to the Athenians.
His war years:
With Athens
 In 415, he was able to persuade the Athenians to send a major military intervention to Sicily against the city of Syracuse. He was appointed the co-commander of the expedition, but, shortly before the expedition was due to depart, the busts of Hermes, which were set up in public places throughout the city, were found to have been mutilated.  Androcles, a political rivals, accused Alcibiades and his friends of defacing statues, and of profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries. His rivals argued that Alcibiades should go on the campaign as planned and stand trial on his return. He didn’t trust them, so he requested to stand trial before he set sail. This was denied and the fleet was ordered to set sail soon after, with the charges unresolved.
 But when he arrived in Catana, a ship was waiting to bring him back to Athens to stand trial, yet while he was gone he was convicted and condemned to death. Surprise!! He decided not to return to Athens. Alcibiades told the messengers that he would follow them in his ship, but in Thurii he ditched the escort and he headed to Sparta.
With Sparta
 When he arrived in Sparta, he made a deal with the Spartans. If they would let him stay in Sparta, he would give Athenian state secrets to the Spartans, he would also help them win the war by giving them advice. They agreed to his demands. The first thing he told them was that they needed to build a powerful navy and use it against the Sicilian Expedition. He also advised the Spartans to fortify the town of Decelea, he knew that the Athenians would attack the city.
 His advice worked. The Spartans fortified the town of Decelea, this gave them a strategic advantage against Athens. He then advised the Spartans to lay a permanent siege to Athens, not just in the summertime.
 Alcibiades was soon in trouble in Sparta, in particular with King Agis. One account says that he took advantage of King Agis’ absence with the Spartan Army and seduced his wife. Others some feared he had too much power. Irregardless the Spartans accused him of being untrustworthy and he had to flee again, this time to Persia.
With Persia
 The Persian satrap of Anatolia gave him sanctuary, for which he gave the Persians good advice about dealing with both Athens and Sparta. He advocated that Persia maintain good relations with both Athens and Sparta. He told the satrap that the longer the war continued the more worn out the warriors from both Sparta and Athens would become, and as a result  the Persians would be able easily conquer the entire region. Even though the Persians benefited from this advice, it was simply means to an end, Thucydides thought that his ultimate motivation was to use his influence with the Persians to help him mend his relationship with Athens.
With Athens again
 Alcibiades assumed that the “radical democracy” that was prevalent in Athens would never agree to his return to Athens. Therefore, he negotiated with the Athenian leaders at Samos and suggested that if they could install a friendly oligarchy, he would be able to return to Athens and bring with him Persian aid.
 He then began trying to convince the military officers that he was sincere. This seemed to work and many of the officers agreed to his plan. The assembled troops to voted to recall Alcibiades. He had hoped for a glorious return to Athens but was only restored to the rebellious fleet.
 During the next three years, he led the Athenians to several victories against the Spartans in the Hellespont. Believing he had restored his reputation, he careful returned to Athens in 407.
 Even in the wake of his recent victories, Alcibiades was nervous about his return, the charges against him were still a concern, and then there was the matter of his defection to Sparta, yet when he arrived in Athens he was greeted with a hero’s welcome.
 In 406 BC he was put in charge of 1,500 hoplites and a hundred ships. He tried and failed to take the city of Andros and then he tried to conquer the city of Samos with similar results. He then decided to movie his command to the city of Notium to be closer to the enemy city of Ephesus. It was during this time that Tissaphernes was replaced by Cyrus the Younger, he decided to give financial aid to the Peloponnesians. This helped to convince many of the deserters from Athenian to join the Spartan navy. the Spartans had also at this time replaced Mindarus with Lysander, who was a much more capable leader. This helped the Peloponnesian fleet grow, while the Athenian navy suffered.
 In a bid to secure funding the fleet needed by winning a decisive battle, Alcibiades sailed from Notium in an attempt to aid Thrasybulus in the siege of Phocaea. He was aware that the Spartan fleet was close, so he tasked eighty of his ships to watch them,  commanded by his personal helmsman Antiochus. He left express orders for Antiochus not to attack. Antiochus disobeyed Alcibiades command. He tried get Lysander to engage his fleet by imitating the tactics used at Cyzicus, this didn’t work out so well for Antiochus. Lysander took advantage of Alcibiades’ absence and engaged Antiochus on his own terms. Lysander won the day in this battle. Alcibiades was forced to return and try to undo the setback by gaining another victory, but Lysander chose not to engage again.
Responsibility for the defeat was placed at Alcibiades feet, and his enemies used the opportunity to have him removed from command.  Consequently, he exiled himself to his castles in the Thracian Chersonese.
Much about his death is uncertain, there are several conflicting accounts. According to some of them, the Spartans and specifically Lysander were responsible. One account says that his residence was surrounded by assassins. After they set the house on fire Alcibiades believing that he had no chance of escape decided to attack the assassin’s, with only dagger. As expected he was killed, not allowing Alcibiades to get close, he was bombarded by a shower of arrows.  


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