Alcibiades (2) : Alcibiades changed sides with bewildering ease, but his plan was always to be the leader of Athens.

With acknowledgements to Οι μεταβολές του όχλου (B) by Nektaria Karantzi.

With a charge of sacrilegious vandalism hanging over him, Athenian general Alcibiades fled to arch-enemy Sparta. Things got a little hot for him there after an affair with the Queen, so he sought sanctuary with the Persians in Asia Minor.

AS at Sparta, Alcibiades proved invaluable in the service of the Persian satrap, Tissaphernes.

His long-term plan, however, was to use Persia’s fleet to quell Sparta and the cities of the Peloponnese, and then return in triumph to Athens.

The Athenian Assembly that had charged Alcibiades with sacrilege would never have countenanced that, but his friends at home conspired to seize control of the Assembly in 411.

For four patient years, Alcibiades tantalised the Athenian public with news of his dashing exploits against Sparta. When in the summer of 407 he sailed into Piraeus in garlanded ships laden with booty, surging quayside crowds jostled for one touch of his cloak.

In 406, however, the Spartan commander Lysander scored a humiliating victory against Alcibiades at Notium. The Athenian public, ever intolerant of failure, turned scornfully against him.

Weary of ambition at last, Alcibiades retired to Thrace, and then to Phrygia in Asia Minor. There Lysander’s agents found him, and murdered him in 404 BC.

With acknowledgements to Οι μεταβολές του όχλου (B) by Nektaria Karantzi.

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Classical History (26) Greek History (25) Peloponnesian War (1) History (414)

Picture: © Nickthegreek82 (Κούμαρης Νικόλαος), Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Attribution only. View original
The ruins of a theatre in ancient Sparta. Sparta was the enemy of Athens in the Peloponnesian War.
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