Alcibiades is known for being one of the most elegant and good-looking young men who was born into an aristocratic family in the city of Athens . With a rather daring personality and guided mainly by his pleasures and instincts, he managed to attract the attention of his hometown and was also involved in a lot of problems.


Personal information

  • When was he born: 450 BC
  • Where he was born: Ancient Athens
  • When he died: 404 BC
  • Where he died: Phrygia, now Turkey

Who was Alcibiades?

Alcibiades was one of the most important military and political men that existed in Athens . A man who descended from the aristocracy and who was also a friend of great people like Socrates . Mainly recognized in high society for his incredible adventures and distinction .

  • What did Alcibiades do
  • Biography of Alcibiades
  • Death
  • Political career
  • Military career
  • Relationship with Socrates
  • Relationship with Plato
  • Importance
  • Alcibiades phrases
  • Presence in popular culture

What did Alcibiades do

Alcibíades participated in a very important way in the Peloponnesian war , specifically in the second part of it, serving as the best strategy advisor and commander . Although his allegiance steadily changed, he managed to advocate a more aggressive foreign policy and defended the expedition to Sicily . In Sparta, he also served as a counselor and was in charge of proposing and supervising different campaigns against Athens .

It made it possible for Athens to establish different alliances that ultimately led to a major war against Sparta. He created the Sicilian expedition from which he managed to emerge victorious. He also had a fundamental role in the destruction of Athens , in the capture of Decelia and in several rebellions that arose between the different cities and territories that were under the influence of Athens.

He played an extremely important role in the victories of Athens that succeeded in causing Sparta to request peace with Athens. He created different unconventional strategies and tactics that managed to win cities through siege and betrayal.

Biography of Alcibiades

Alcibiades was born in 450 BC in the city of Athens . His father Clinias and his mother Dinomaca , who was a woman who belonged to the nobility of Athens, family of the Alcmeónidas and daughter of Megacles. His father passed away during the Battle of Coronea and because of this, Pericles was appointed as his guardian. It was from Pericles that he learned all his aristocratic ideas and tendencies that made him think that democracy was simply sheer extravagance. According to the stories, he was a very good-looking man, very intelligent, eloquent, quite generous and also seductive. He was quite a capricious man , full ofvices and impertinences . Contracted marriage with a woman named recognized Hipparete , who was the daughter of Hipónico III, an Athenian rich, historians had two children but their names are not known.


After he returned to Athens in 407, the naval defeat of Nocio occurred, and it was in this way that Alcibiades was overthrown from power and later exiled. He sought refuge in the city of Thrace and in Phrygia under the supposed care of Farnabazo, who later negotiated his death with the Spartans, as they were afraid that he would return to Sparta. It was Farnabazo who sent murdering a Alcibiades and later set fire to his house.

Political career

While still very young, he managed to integrate into the politics of Athens and managed to establish important relationships with influential people of the time. His political beginnings came at the time when he decided to become the rival of Nicias with whom he already had a rather complicated relationship. It was Nicias who signed a peace agreement with the Lacedaemonians in 421 BC , thus ending the first part of the Peloponnesian War and thus freeing several male prisoners of war.

When Alcibíades learned that Nicias had not taken his opinion into account in the negotiations, he looked for a way to break the pact that Nicias had made by sending several messengers to Argos to create an alliance with Mantinea and Elis . This situation caused the Spartans to decide to send their ambassadors to Athens and, during the Citizens’ Assembly that had been established to discuss these problems, Alcibiades managed to manipulate all the information so that the Spartans were discredited. It was in this way that the peace pact failed, and he went on to become the best politician at that time.

Military career

Alcibiades was appointed in 418 BC as a strategist of the army of Athens , however, he devised a Sicilian campaign that failed miserably and for this reason he was accused of sacrilege , which is why he deserted. Later, he decided to offer his military services to Sparta , a city that he managed to lead to the War of Deceia in 413 BC.

He tried to provoke an oligarchic plot that gave rise to the Council of Four Hundred with the objective of returning to Athens and thanks to this rebellion he was appointed as the city’s military strategist, later defeating the Lacedaemonians during the battle of Cynosema and Cícico. When he managed to return to Athens he was received as one of the most important military in the city thanks to all his successes. He was then in command of the army and managed to reestablish the entire hegemony of Athens

Relationship with Socrates

Socrates had a special love for Alcibiades, almost as if he were a god because for Socrates, beauty was the way in which divinity could be revealed . In Alcibiades, he found the intimation with the infinite beauty of what he considered divine. Despite his admiration for the young man, he always refused before the seduction that Alcibiades made him and this rejection generated many speculations throughout history . Many experts say that Socrates probably always wanted to maintain his reputation , others indicate that his admiration was more for philosophy and the intellectual partThe young man and others suggest that Socrates decided to maintain eros by avoiding giving him satisfaction.

Relationship with Plato

Plato was in charge of establishing a version related to the relationship that existed between Socrates and Alcibiades during the Banquet in order to reflect on the type of love that Socrates felt and the way in which Alcibiades behaved. Plato in his dialogue, exposes a very elaborate speech by Socrates for the young man, in his attempt that he can take care of himself, so that he tries to leave his life superfluous and so that he can focus beyond his external part.


Probably his most important role took place in the second phase of the Peloponnesian War because thanks to his cunning and intelligence, he managed to perform as one of the best strategists and politicians of the time.

Alcibiades phrases

Although there is no record of phrases that have been mentioned by this character, it is heard mentioning his name in a famous phrase that says the following:

Nobody ignores that all human things, like the Silenos of Alcibiades, have two faces which are completely different. Erasmus of Rotterdam )

Presence in popular culture

Today stories about Alcibiades can be found in various types of art, mainly in the Renaissance works that were written and in various works that belong to modern literature . Her story can be found in several novels written by authors such as Anna Bowman Dood, Daniel Chavarría, Peter Green, and Rosemary Sutcliff.

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