By David Gribble
Alcibiades (c. 450-404 BC)--general, statesman, followed son of Pericles, lover of Socrates, profaner of the Mysteries-- used to be known as by way of a few the saviour of Athens and by way of others its maximum enemy. This e-book is a examine of the explosive mix of worry and fascination he excited in his contemporaries and in classical texts. It examines the extreme stress among the classical urban and the person of superlative energy, prestige, and ambition.
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Extra resources for Alcibiades and Athens: A Study in Literary Presentation (Oxford Classical Monographs)
Bruns (: ). 12 Cf. Saller (: –); Fairweather (: –); Stadter (: pp. lxxxiv–lxxxv); and Frost (: ) (on the tradition of Themistocles anecdotes). Fairweather (: ) uses the term ‘traditional narrative’ to describe the unofficial oral and written traditions surrounding famous figures. 13 Bruns (: –). 10 11 Élite Individual and Democratic City community, so that alarm was allowed to give way to admiration. On these and other grounds, I argue elsewhere14 that this speech was composed in the early Hellenistic period (and at any rate after ), drawing, like Dem.
Stories about Alcibiades’ treatment of relatives and fellow citizens, or the extravagance of his display at the Olympic games, are used to develop a picture of him as a paranomic anti-citizen, who puts himself outside the laws of the city and treats his fellow citizens with contempt, a type of behaviour which, if unchecked, may lead to tyranny. The depiction recalls that of Meidias in the Against Meidias of Demosthenes. In 5 On the Alcibiades tradition in general, see Russell (a); M. L.
The aim of this book is not to survey the whole Alcibiades tradition, but to focus on the presentation of Alcibiades in a group of texts with a distinctive relationship to democratic Athens. Many of these texts were composed, or achieved their final form, in the s in the immediate aftermath of Alcibiades’ death. Others, though composed somewhat later, still resonate with the debates set in motion in these years. All of them are concerned in some way with the figure of the great individual discussed above, and the problem he poses for the city.