Professor Douglas Fulkerson
History Europe to Mid-17th Cen
14 June 2014
Alcibiades: Hero or Zero?
After pouring over numerous reading materials about Alcibiades, I was surprised at the number of times his legacy seemed to contradict itself. On one hand, he was viewed by many as a brilliant advisor, politician, and military commander; courageous in battle, and then on the other hand, he was viewed as underhanded, wicked and corrupt. He clearly had a way with people and was able to win them over easily with his charm and notable good looks. However, on the flip side, once he gained their trust and admiration, his true selfish character often exposed itself, and as a result, throughout his lifetime, he made a string of powerful enemies. My goal in this paper is to support my thesis that Alcibiades was truly a Zero.
We understand from historical accounts that Alcibiades’ father was the Commander of the Athenian Army, and was killed when Alcibiades was approximately four years old. His mother came from a long line of aristocrats. After the death of his father, Alcibiades was brought up by Pericles and Pericles’s brother, Ariphron, distant relatives. Due to the nature of this relationship, historians speculate that Pericles really didn’t have the time in the midst of his own political leadership to shape, groom and guide Alcibiades into being a well-rounded man. So, Alcibiades grew up to be strikingly handsome (many say that he was the most handsome man of his era!), and extremely intelligent. But, he was also very extravagant, selfish in nature, and irresponsible with power.
As a man, he fought courageously in battles. During one of the battles that he fought in, he befriended Socrates, a classical Greek Philosopher, who to this day still has a profound influence on Western Philosophy. The two served together-both of them saving each other’s lives in the...
Cited: Austen, Bingley. Alcibiades: Alcibiades was an Athenian General in the Peloponnesian War 14 June 2014
Beck, Sanderson. Introduction to Alcibiades 14 June 2014
Thompson, Ben. “The Badass of the Week: Alcibiades” 14 June 2014 http://www.badassoftheweek.com/alcibiades.html
Heritage History: Alcibiades, Homeschool Curriculum 14 June 2014
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