By David Gribble
Alcibiades (c. 450-404 BC)--general, statesman, followed son of Pericles, lover of Socrates, profaner of the Mysteries-- used to be referred to as by way of a few the saviour of Athens and by way of others its maximum enemy. This ebook is a learn of the explosive mix of worry and fascination he excited in his contemporaries and in classical texts. It examines the intense stress among the classical urban and the person of superlative energy, prestige, and ambition.
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Extra info for Alcibiades and Athens: A Study in Literary Presentation (Oxford Classical Monographs)
24 But in the same passage Nepos also claims that Thucydides greatly praised Alcibiades, and Thucydides’ treatment is actually far from unambiguously complimentary. Moreover, as evidence of Theopompus’ favourable treatment of Alcibiades, Nepos cites a topos which was to become central to the depiction of Alcibiades: Alcibiades, though denigrated by most, has been extolled in the highest terms by three historians of the most serious type: Thucydides . . Theopompus . . and Timaeus. Indeed, though these [latter] two are the most slanderous of historians, for some reason in the case of Alcibiades alone they agree in producing a favourable assessment.
Arist. . –. 67 For ostracism as weapon of the demos against powerful individuals, see Berve (: , ). 68 Cf. Vernant and Vidal-Naquet (: –). Introduction speech itself actually exemplifies the sort of attitudes it claims to be combating, and which it claims ostracism is combating. Having aired the claim that ‘there has never been such a person as Alcibiades’, the speaker responds (§ ), ‘but I myself think that the city will suffer the greatest evils at his hands, and that in the future he will be held responsible for events of such an order that no one will remember his previous crimes’.
We can start to see how Hellenistic writers organized and oriented the material they collected about Alcibiades, marshalling citations from classical comedy and rhetoric to support rather unclassical depictions of moral character: the man obsessed with superb personal appearance and outrageous self-presentation, even at the cost of outraging standards of taste and decorum; the Hellenistic and Roman stereotype of the man of action, like Mark Antony, who nevertheless pursues a life of luxury;44 and the man who can be either luxurious or hard-living, in order to make himself pleasing to others.
Alcibiades and Athens: A Study in Literary Presentation (Oxford Classical Monographs) by David Gribble