Socrates and Alcibiades | Ariel Helfer
Alcibiades, son of Cleinias (c. – BC), from the deme of Scambonidae, was a prominent . Alcibiades had a particularly close relationship with Socrates, whom he admired and respected. That treaty, an uneasy truce between Sparta and Athens signed midway through the Peloponnesian War, came at the end of. "Socrates and Alcibiades is unusually clear, powerfully argued, and intelligent. spanning nearly two decades, of the relationship between Socrates and his. In Socrates and Alcibiades, Ariel Helfer provides a new interpretation of Plato's account of the relationship between Socrates and the infamous Athenian general .
He seized her in court and carried her home again through the crowded Agora. That treaty, an uneasy truce between Sparta and Athens signed midway through the Peloponnesian War, came at the end of seven years of fighting during which neither side had gained a decisive advantage. Gomme and Raphael Sealey believe, and Thucydides reports,  that Alcibiades was offended that the Spartans had negotiated that treaty through Nicias and Lachesoverlooking him on account of his youth.
The Athenians initially received these ambassadors well, but Alcibiades met with them in secret before they were to speak to the ecclesia the Athenian Assembly and told them that the Assembly was haughty and had great ambitions. This was in direct contradiction to what they had said the day before, and Alcibiades seized on this opportunity to denounce their character, cast suspicion on their aims, and destroy their credibility. This ploy increased Alcibiades's standing while embarrassing Nicias, and Alcibiades was subsequently appointed General.
He took advantage of his increasing power to orchestrate the creation of an alliance between ArgosMantineaElisand other states in the Peloponnese, threatening Sparta's dominance in the region. According to Gomme, "it was a grandiose scheme for an Athenian general at the head of a mainly Peloponnesian army to march through the Peloponnese cocking a snook at Sparta when her reputation was at its lowest".
Hyperbolos tried to bring about the ostracism of one of this pair, but Nicias and Alcibiades combined their influence to induce the people to expel Hyperbolos instead.
Vandalizing hermai was one of the crimes of which Alcibiades was accused.
Egesta arrived at Athens to plead for the support of the Athenians in their war against Selinus. During the debates on the undertaking, Nicias was vehemently opposed to Athenian intervention, explaining that the campaign would be very costly and attacking the character and motives of Alcibiades, who had emerged as a major supporter of the expedition. In his speech Alcibiades predicted over-optimistically, in the opinion of most historians that the Athenians would be able to recruit allies in the region and impose their rule on Syracusethe most powerful city of Sicily.
Almost certainly Nicias's intention was to shock the assembly with his high estimate of the forces required, but, instead of dissuading his fellow citizens, his analysis made them all the more eager. This was a religious scandal and was seen as a bad omen for the mission.
Plutarch explains that Androcles, a political leader, used false witnesses who accused Alcibiades and his friends of mutilating the statues, and of profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Later his opponents, chief among them being Androcles and Thessalus, Cimon 's son, enlisted orators to argue that Alcibiades should set sail as planned and stand trial on his return from the campaign. Alcibiades was suspicious of their intentions, and asked to be allowed to stand trial immediately, under penalty of death, in order to clear his name.
And we cannot fix the exact point at which our empire shall stop; we have reached a position in which we must not be content with retaining but must scheme to extend it, for, if we cease to rule others, we are in danger of being ruled ourselves. Nor can you look at inaction from the same point of view as others, unless you are prepared to change your habits and make them like theirs. His property was confiscated and a reward of one talent was promised to whoever succeeded in killing any who had fled.
Alcibiades, however, foreseeing that he would be outlawed, gave information to the friends of the Syracusans in Messina, who succeeded in preventing the admission of the Athenians.
Socrates, Alcibiades, and Ambition - The History of Socrates and Alcibiades
Because of this defection, the Athenians condemned him to death in absentia and confiscated his property. Kagan asserts that Alcibiades had not yet acquired his "legendary" reputation, and the Spartans saw him as "a defeated and hunted man" whose policies "produced strategic failures" and brought "no decisive result".Un recorrido por la vida de Alcibíades
If accurate, this assessment underscores one of Alcibiades's greatest talents, his highly persuasive oratory. As for democracythe men of sense among us knew what it was, and I perhaps as well as any, as I have the more cause to complain of it; but there is nothing new to be said of a patent absurdity—meanwhile we did not think it safe to alter it under the pressure of your hostility. The move was devastating to Athens and forced the citizens to live within the long walls of the city year round, making them entirely dependent on their seaborne trade for food.
Seeing Athens thus beleaguered on a second front, members of the Delian League began to contemplate revolt. In the wake of Athens's disastrous defeat in Sicily, Alcibiades sailed to Ionia with a Spartan fleet and succeeded in persuading several critical cities to revolt. Circa BC On his arrival in the local Persian court, Alcibiades won the trust of the powerful satrap and made several policy suggestions which were well received.
According to ThucydidesAlcibiades immediately began to do all he could with Tissaphernes to injure the Peloponnesian cause. At his urging, the satrap reduced the payments he was making to the Peloponnesian fleet and began delivering them irregularly. Lastly, and most importantly, he told the satrap to be in no hurry to bring the Persian fleet into the conflict, as the longer the war dragged out the more exhausted the combatants would become. This would allow the Persians to more easily conquer the region in the aftermath of the fighting.
Alcibiades tried to convince the satrap that it was in Persia's interest to wear both Athens and Sparta out at first, "and after docking the Athenian power as much as he could, forthwith to rid the country of the Peloponnesians".
Most of the officers in the Athenian fleet accepted the plan and welcomed the prospect of a narrower constitution, which would allow them a greater share in determining policy. According to Thucydides, only one of the Athenian Generals at Samos, Phrynichusopposed the plan and argued that Alcibiades cared no more for the proposed oligarchy than for the traditional democracy.
Together they will work on to improve Alcibiades' character because only the virtuous has the right to govern. Tyrannical power should not be the aim of individuals but people accept to be commanded by a superior. In the last sentence Socrates expresses his hope that Alcibiades will persist, but he has fears because the power of the state "may be too much" for both of them. Authenticity[ edit ] In antiquity Alcibiades I was regarded as the best text to introduce one to Platonic philosophywhich may be why it has continued to be included in the Platonic corpus since then.
The authenticity of the dialogue was never doubted in antiquity.
It was not until that the German scholar Friedrich Schleiermacher argued against the ascription to Plato. However, stylometric research supports Plato's authorship,  and some scholars have recently defended its authenticity. Gerard Ledger's stylometric analysis supported this tradition, dating the work to the s.
Socrates, Alcibiades, and Ambition
A later dating has also been defended. Nicholas Denyer suggests that it was written in the s BC, when Plato, back in Athens, could reflect on the similarities between Dionysius II of Syracuse as we know him from the Seventh Letter and Alcibiades—two young men interested in philosophy but compromised by their ambition and faulty early education.
In short, Alcibiades seemed to have the world by the tail. He also had a staggeringly quick rise to power in Athens. Not only that, he managed to persuade the Athenian democracy to undertake a mind-bogglingly ambitious plan to conquer the very distant island of Sicily.
Socrates and Alcibiades
As the historian Thucydides tells us, Alcibiades lived his private life in a very extravagant way. For example, he single-handedly entered seven horses in the Olympic chariot races, placing first, second, and fourth; this was a very splashy thing to do.
It would be like owning two or three of the teams vying for the Super Bowl. What exactly is this guy going to do? What exactly is he aiming at? Not long after Alcibiades set sail for Sicily, the people of Athens recalled him to stand trial for religious desecration. He decided not to return to Athens.
Alcibiades in Exile Alcibiades managed to fight on three different sides in the same war… So began his rather astonishing political ride.
He aided Sparta in ways that did real damage to Athens. When he wore out his welcome in Sparta, Alcibiades went to the third great power in the area, namely, Persia, which was the traditional enemy of all Greeks alike.
There he sought to wield as much influence as he could. In short, Alcibiades managed to fight on three different sides in the same war; even more amazing than that, he eventually succeeded in having himself recalled to Athens, after all that he had done against his city.