450 BC-404 BC
Alcibiades, a student of Socrates and an Athenian, was full of contraries. He was beautiful, eloquent, and charming. He was accomplished, influential, and persuasive. But he was also unprincipled, extravagant, shameless, jealous, and lacked self-control. From a young age, he demanded respect for himself, but chose to bestow it on a select few.
He lived during the Peloponnesian War between Athens at Sparta and at the time when the Golden Age was coming to an end. In fact, it was the time in history that saw the fall of power and culture for Athens which was never to be built up again.
To begin his political career, he became an impressive orator. Using this skill he talked his way into becoming a general. He was accused of crime, but since he was to lead the army, his trial was postponed. However, his entire family and friends were imprisoned based on various suspicions. He was fetched, but hid from the people, then turned traitor and went to fight against them. Somehow he managed to get back in the Athenian's good graces and they begged him to return, heaping riches upon him. As general, the men had tremendous faith in him and felt they couldn't fail.
Once elevated, he took on a life of revelry once again. He put incompetent men in charge of the leading. So once again he was forced to seek refuge elsewhere. Fearful of his influence, the new despot in Athens sent assassins to kill him. So ended the life of a man that had all of the talents necessary to lead a country, but instead used poor judgement to come to a miserable end.
We are using Anne White's Study Guide from Ambleside Online & the history outlined in Our Young Folk's Plutarch.
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