Alcibiades and Athens: A Study in Literary Presentation by David Gribble

By David Gribble

Alcibiades (c. 450-404 BC)--general, statesman, followed son of Pericles, lover of Socrates, profaner of the Mysteries-- was once known as by way of a few the saviour of Athens and by way of others its maximum enemy. This booklet is a learn of the explosive mix of worry and fascination he excited in his contemporaries and in classical texts. It examines the extreme rigidity among the classical urban and the person of superlative strength, prestige, and ambition.

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Contrast the ostracized Hyperbolus, ‘a wretched man, ostracized not because of fear of his dunamis or axioma, but because of his baseness which was a disgrace to the city’ (Thuc. . . ). Cf. also Plato Comicus, frag. –A. 71 Cf. Vernant’s discussion (: –) of Sophocles’ Oedipus. ) notes similar patterns of heroization and ignominy in the biographies of Greek poets. Cf. Knox on the polar presentation of the Sophoclean hero as beast or god (: –). 69 70 Introduction  to achieve such advances’, he claims, ‘unless they are administered by a character such as that displayed by Evagoras’ (Isoc.

Vernant’s discussion (: –) of Sophocles’ Oedipus. ) notes similar patterns of heroization and ignominy in the biographies of Greek poets. Cf. Knox on the polar presentation of the Sophoclean hero as beast or god (: –). 69 70 Introduction  to achieve such advances’, he claims, ‘unless they are administered by a character such as that displayed by Evagoras’ (Isoc. . ). Isoc.  presents a ‘democratic encomium’ of Alcibiades, which while attributing to Alcibiades a status and an ambition which is hardly consistent with participation in the city on a level of political equality, sees him as an ancestral friend of the demos, and credits him with the constant desire to preserve or reinstate the democracy, reconcile the citizens, and restore the city’s walls.

Plutarch did not feel hampered by his awareness of the dubious elements in the tradition from using stories just as implausible or unreliable as that reported by Duris, in order to construct his portrait of Alcibiades. Many modern accounts adopt essentially the same strategy: rejecting a few of the stories as implausible, and noting the uncertain nature of the rest, they nevertheless use them as the basis for a reconstruction of Alcibiades’ private life and character. 3 On Duris (FGH ), an early Hellenistic writer and tyrant of Samos, see Stadter (: pp.

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