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Thucydides and Alcibiades[edit]

I'm looking at my copy of Thucydides and seeing something completely different than the interpretation being noted here.

Article as is: "Thucydides reprehends the Athenian statesman for his political conduct and motives. According to the historian, Alcibiades, being "exceedingly ambitious", proposed the expedition in Sicily in order "to gain in wealth and reputation by means of his successes". Alcibiades is held responsible by Thucydides for the destruction of Athens, since "his habits gave offence to every one, and caused them to commit affairs to other hands, and thus before long to ruin the city"."

Thucydides doesn't blame Alcibiades for the downfall of Athens - he blames the Athenians! (That's the purpose behind the Peisistratid digression, but that's another topic.) What Thucydides is saying is that Alcibiades was an excellent commander, but since people didn't like his habits, those habits caused the people of Athens ("them") to put other people in charge - a decision which ruined the city. It's the Athenians, not Alcibiades, who are blamed.

I'm pretty new to Wikipedia editing, and am thus reluctant to make a change to the article that isn't a basic simple one. If someone else feels that this merits a rewrite, the relevant sections of Thucydides are History of the Peloponnesian War, 6.2-6.5. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:01, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Use of Sources?[edit]

It appears to me that this article has a dangerous reliance upon a historical source (i.e Kagan). It has a good use of the 'primary' sources i.e Thucydides, Plutarch, but Kagen seems to be referenced quite a lot considering the fact that he does not represent an impartial or primary account. He needs to be offset by the opinions of some other Historians on Alkibiades during this time. I'd do it myself, but i'm busy at the moment. Maybe i'll do it later. - TiberiusInvictus

As far as I know Kagan's work is accurate. Although he is not a primary source he has the advantage of some sources (written and otherwise) which were unavailiable to Plutarch and Thucydides and this coupled with his credentials and reliance on accepted primary sources makes his work credible. In my opinion, having worked with all three sources, the primary sources tend to offer pieces of the picture and Kagan puts them all together, going in greater detail and with more clarity. Kagan makes well supported speculation on the motives of alcibiades which are every bit as plausible as any primary source. Since it is impossible to know what exactly happened, when the sources were in disagreement about intent, which was rare, I included all interpretations. Factually there is virtually no disagreement between kagan and the primary sources (except where the primary sources themselves disagree). it is only because an understanding of the character and interests of alcibiades are necessary context for understanding his actions during the war that i included the speculation at all. If i'm missing something or mistaken please let me know.Dmcheatw 01:14, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

i'm just really surprised that someone who lived more than two thousand years ago, is subject to a "neutrality disputed" tag. I think that's fucking great, and very much in line with the subject.

It's too bad someone removed the "neutrality disputed" tag, but sadly this article does appear essentially neutral to me. Somehow, it doesn't seem right for an article about Alcibides to just state the facts of his life without making weakly supported arguments about what motivated him.

I'm surprised that there's no reference to Walter Ellis' book Alcibiades (1989), which is perhaps the only recent scholarly work in English entirely devoted to the topic. The number of footnotes in the article seems to belie the true extent to which its author actually did his/her homework. Isokrates 21:14, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

My friend, I cannot speak on behalf of Dmcheatw, but I can speak on behalf of myself. I'd prefer your judgement to be a bit more modest. If you want to see "the true extent to which its author actually did his/her homework", see the references mentioned. If you search and find all these sources, you'll understand how I did my homework. After all, I live in Greece and I'm not obliged to know all the English-written about Alcibiades. Do you know all the Greek books about him? Thanks for referring Ellis' work. I'll search it, but try not to underestimate the work of others. In this way, you're just underestimating you self in terms of judgment and careful reading.--Yannismarou 14:37, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

You are right. And, after all, this is Wikipedia; so, in the end, none of this really matters anyway. By the way, I do not know all the Greek books about Alcibiades. But, then again, I have not put my hand to writing or adding to an article on Greek Wikipedia. Isokrates 21:15, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Maybe you should, if you were interested in, if you had the willingness to contribute and if you knew the language.--Yannismarou 08:02, 4 August 2006 (UTC)


The use of this word in the first paragraph must be a mistake surely?

It is, and don't call me Shirley HotshotCleaner (talk) 00:17, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Voice of good or God?[edit]

"His nature is so beautiful, golden, divine, and wonderful within that everything he commands surely must be obeyed, even like the voice of good."

Should that be "voice of good" or "voice of God" or "god" with a lower case "g"? Ginnna 21:06, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Reversion of User:Dmcheatw's edits[edit]

I'm going to revert back the version before Dmcheatw's additions were removed. Although his new sections were a little disorganized,he put a lot of good information. I'll go through and clean it up a little, and convert his parenthetical citations into footnotes. Let me know if anybody objects to this, but I think the edits were good and it just needs a little cleanup. --RobthTalk 20:33, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

dmcheatw's comments[edit]

hello, i was wondering if you guys could put a work in progress tag on the article and let me resume editing it later in the week. right now i am busy but when i get the time i will add to or create sections on alcibiades in sparta, his influence on the persians, his defection back to athens, his military sucesses during this time, his loss at notium, and finally his life after this defeat, his advice/offer to the athenian commanders before their defeat at agospomtami(sp), and then his death. The sources I have used/will use are thucydides, plutarch and d. kagan, which i will provide the bibliography for also in MLA format.

i meant to clean up what i had already added, but again for the next few days i will be too busy. basically what i want to write is already in the article, i just have a lot of elaboration to add. once i'm done u guys can feel free to edit it for brevity and grammatical/spelling errors as i realize i am pretty disorganized and the amount of info may be too much for an introductory encyclopedia article. also it would be appreciated if future editors would look for bias in my writings as i am pretty pro-alcibiades.

thank you, dmcheatw. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 28 May 2006.

You can briefly (up to 30 minutes or so) tag the article as {{inuse}} or {{inuse||for=reason|until time}} (see Template:Inuse). You cannot tag the article for a few days. The {{inuse}} template is used when you are making a major edit and want to avoid edit conflicts. You cannot claim ownership of the article, even briefly. Furthermore, all Wikipedia articles are always works in progress. --Ezeu 17:32, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

"Almost incredible capacity for deception"[edit]

I think this article (or at least the lead paragraph, which is all I've read so far) needs to be made somewhat more neutral. I know we are all Athenian patriots here, and this is a highly sensitive issue, but Wikipedia is still an encyclopedia, and the man has been dead for thousands of years. —Vivacissamamente 02:16, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

well perhaps we need a third opinion because (by your own admission) you only read the first paragraph and later in the paper assertions about the nature and motives of his actions are cited specifically. From what primary sources i've read, which is not nearly all of them I'll admit, they are in agreement that he was a decietful individual and this knowledge is helpful in interpreting virtually all the actions for which he is known. While i agree the statment is not neutral and that it could be biased in some applications, in this instance it is well supported. Lastly I didn't write that sentence.. just other parts of the article, but it was from the encyclopedia britannica (the one in public domain) and i found it to be an accurate and relevant generalization of the man's character. I'm not saying your wrong just asking for someone elses opinion on the accuracy of the wording before it is changed.Dmcheatw 16:45, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
I was only commenting on the first paragraph, at the time, although I've read the rest now. He was obviously deceitful, and we can say that, but we overstate our case a little. Wikipedia's style guidelines run a little different from the 1911 Britannica's. It gets away with things we can't. There are lines like this one, for instance: "His belated attempt to repair his treachery only exposed the essential selfishness of his character." I mean, are we psychoanalysts?
It's up to you, my good Cheat, but if someone else is going to comment, I wish they'd hurry it up. —Vivacissamamente 04:44, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
well if you want to change it i won't revert it, i only ask that you try to rephrase the lower portion of the paragraph as best you can rather than just deleting the biased parts. -dmcheatw66.57.81.12 01:03, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, I disagree that he was a "deceitful individual". And you talk about primary sources ... About Thucydides who did not like him? Who never liked him!! Or you speak of Xenophon who was a friend of Sparta? Come on now! And what about Demosthenes who lauds him in "Against Meidias"? Is he also a part of the ancient writers who are "in agreement". Well I citate from "The Helios", maybe the best Greec encyclopedia (1950): "As a diplomat Alcibiades was magnificent. And as a general he deserves the title of invincible. Wherever he was going, victory was following him. Judged as a politician, he did not succeed what his genious deserved. If his psychological prowess was equal to his excellent mind and his enormous abilities and if he was leading a people free from populism, maybe Athens would become as powerful as Macedon." Well, I do not think that these words refer to a "deceitful, uperficial and opportunistic to the last, who owed the successes of his meteoric career purely to personal magnetism and an almost incredible capacity for deception." This is by far POV!--Yannismarou 15:54, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

"Elusian" Mysteries[edit]

Whilst reading 'Greek History' by Oman, he speaks of Alcibiades being accused of destroying the Hermai statues, mentioned in this article too, but further to this when Alcibiades is in or on his way to Syracuse he is accused of profaning the Elusian Mysteries by his enemies in order to implicate him in the Hermai destruction. My question is 'What were the Elusian Mysteries?' T.Boulton 21/7/2006

I think it's Eleusinian Mysteries. Wikipedia has an article on it, but an internet or library search may also help. —Vivacissamamente

Nope, Elusian. Thucydides makes reference to it, too. Some sort of cult, but I don't think we have any more information than that.

Alcibiades was accused of revealing the secrets of the Eleusinian mysteries, and profaning them, as part of his parties and revels in Athens. It has been suggested that the mysteries were facilitated by the use of a ritual psychedelic, and that he had got hold of the drug and shared it with his friends. Haiduc 15:32, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Rewriting the POV lede section[edit]

The lede paragraph is totally inacceptable in terms of NPOV. It is full of caracterizations and judgments, which are against the basic rules of Wikipedia. As I've also understood submitting Pericles for FA, Wikipedia is not like Britannica. Hence, expressions and words like:

  • treachery (treachery against those who wanted to arrest and kill him?! Are we serious?!),
  • reckless in his youth (reckless a person who at the age of 25 could manipulate the Athenians?! Why reckless and not charismatic for instance?),
  • betray his homeland (You say he betrayed his country, I believe he just tried to survive biologically and politically! Who is right?),
  • There can be no doubt that his advice to Sparta in connection with Syracuse and the fortification of Decelea was the real cause of his country's downfall (Really?! And how can you say that dear editor, since he never reached Syracuse in order to lead his army? What if he had won in Syracuse? And he could have won, since he never lost a battle!},
  • been allowed to continue in command of the Sicilian expedition he would undoubtedly have overruled the fatal policy of Nicias and prevented the catastrophe of 413 BC (Undoubtedly? Who are you? A prophete? In addition, how can you say within the same sentence that he caused his city's downfall? You are contradicting yourself),
  • His belated attempt to repair his treachery (Again the treachery! some believe, my friend, there was no treachery!!),
  • most flagrant dishonesty (No comment!),
  • Superficial and opportunistic to the last, he owed the successes of his meteoric career purely to personal magnetism and an almost incredible capacity for deception (If this is is not POV, then what is POV?!)

The editor of the lede section seems to ignore that Alcibiades was a charismatic strategos, a military leader who never lost a battle! Hence, I donot think he owed the successes of his meteoric career purely to personal magnetism and an almost incredible capacity for deception. He owed his success to his personal charisma and genious, according to my POV! Just think what he would have achieved he had led his army in Syracuse and if he was victorious (something possible for a military genious like him). He would have created an Athenian Empire, before the creation of the Macedonian one. We cannot hold Alcibiades responsible for Nicias horrible incapacity!

Anyway, I intend to rewrite the lede section according to WP rules and I donot think that there is any objection, since this lede section is the definition of POV!--Yannismarou 15:39, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

would u support this for the intro yannisamarou?
was an Athenian general and politician. The last known member of his family, which fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War, he played a great role in the second half of the conflict by means of strategical advice, military tactics, and supposed political influence. Likely owing to his youth, he proved reckless and unable to win the consistent support of the democracy which was needed to carry out a coherent strategy against Sparta. This coupled with direct political opposition from within in the form of false charges against him eventually caused him to defect to the Peloponnesian side. There can be no doubt that his subsequent advice to Sparta in connection with Syracuse and the fortification of Decelea were major causes of his country's downfall (in addition to plague and Persian intervention), though it is only fair to him to add that had he been allowed to continue in command of the Sicilian expedition he would most likely have overruled the fatal policy of Nicias and prevented the catastrophe of 413 BC. His attempt to repair his treachery only exposed the essential selfishness of his character as he must have known that his influence over the Persian satrap was slender in the extreme, yet he used it as a bait first to Sparta, then to the Athenian oligarchs, and finally to the democracy. After the defeat of his fleet at Notium he fled to Thrace and a few years later his residence was set on fire by his enemies.
this version is more moderate and still conveys what i feel are important facts about the man (reckless nature, betrayl of athens, selfish nature, true impact of his treason) i started to say in the final senetence things about his shrewed political dealings and understanding of alliances as well as his exceptional oration abilities and persuasive ability as well as his remarkable physical beauty and also his personal charisma... all of which are true and at least somewhat supported by primary sources.. but then someone with an anti-alcibiades slant of similar strength as your pro slant would find the comments just as outragous and biased as you originally found mine.Dmcheatw 05:22, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
additionally, i wish you would have read the WHOLE article and interpreted what was stated in the intro paragraph in a different manner because we have the same characterization of the man overall. you admit that you hold a law degree or something and also that you are not a native english speaker and finally some criticisms about alcibiades involvment in syracuse show obvious misreading or mis understanding (point 4). taken together i believe you misinterpreted many elements of the original intro and i feel words such as treachery, magnetism, and deception have multiple meanings, especially in the context of ancient greece. for instance: "He owed his success to his personal charisma and genious, according to my POV! Just think what he would have achieved he had led his army in Syracuse and if he was victorious (something possible for a military genious like him). He would have created an Athenian Empire, before the creation of the Macedonian one." firstly what u call personal charisma the original intro called "personal magnetism" what you term "genious" or "military genious" the original article called "deception" (because you see his tatical and strategic genious was through his ability to decieve the enemy and friends alike, this is how he both encouraged revolt and captured several cities). as far as a military genius, donald kagan summed it up the best by saying without Thrasybulus alcibiades never enjoyed major military sucess, but without alcibiades Thrasybulus was a first rate general. you take deception in a negative light whereas in the context it was (imo) by far his greatest talent, he said himself to the original spartan diplomats to "quit this indiscreet simplicity" (direct quote) if they wanted to reach agreeable terms with the athenians and then tricked them in turn in front of the assembly. as an aside, this is a good example of his dishonest and crafty nature and it was best recorded by plutarch, (as opposed to one of the other, very respectable i might add, sources you say are blatently biased like thucydides) Lets be very clear, if anyone knew the advantages of trickery it was alcibiades and he employed it whenever possible to reach his ends. finally there was an athenian empire before the macedonian one... what do you think the delian league was in actuality? alcibiades aim was to expand the already existing empire by going to syracuse and he said so in his oration, had you read it, and history has proven he drastically mischaracterized the sicilians during his speech which supports the original author's assertion that he was reckless. I don't know what else to say other than the original intro was correct and gave a more accurate and comprehensive account of events, and that is my opinion admittedly.
most who really studied alcibiades (like the author of the original text almost certainly) would not consider statements such as reckless, dishonest, decietful, etc with regard to alcibiades to be point of view as much as they would regard such diction as an accurate characterization of alcibiades. since i cited many more sources than you and not to mention wrote 90% of the article with references i'm almost inclined to revert back to the original intro and let you do the arguing as to why one thing isn't supported enough or to provide other sources which contradict the original encyclopedia authors choice of diction. i feel like i have supported my case for why the original was a better intro, your thoughts? thank you for the added pictures by the way as that was a sorely lacking area in the work.

Your proposition is much better, but it keeps some POV caracterizations. Actually you add more! ("The false charges against him": We donot know if they were false or not - We have to be NPOV both ways!) I accept the version "to defect to the Peloponnesian side." It is NPOV and better than what I wrote. Either we like Alcibiades or not we are obliged to remain as neutral as we can according to WP rules. But I am not the one who decides. I expect that other Wikipedians will read the lede as it is now and will compare it with your proposition. Or even an administrator! Let's listen to them as well!
My problem is not just the word "deception" (this is a minor problem!), but caracterizations like "reckless", "no doubt", "shelfishness", "fatal policy". If you check previous cases in WP articles these are definitely POV! It is not me who says that! It is Wikipedia! I acknowledge your great contributions to the article, but, since you are a new user of WP, it seems you donot know its rules. You ask me to provide sources for what I say, when you provided no source in your POV lede section! I will insist in my position and I have no problem if you want to call an administrator to judge who is right. As a matter of fact, I did not just add the photos, but I also added more sources and informations. I read the whole article and I also corected some of your citations, because you citate the wrong way! In works like "Alcibiades" of Plutarch we donot citate pages, but paragraphs of the work. Please, see articles like Epaminondas or Thrasybulus, in order to see how a featured NPOV WP article about a personality of ancient Greece is written.
I respect Kagan, but I have the right to disagree with him! The fact remains that Alcibiades never lost a battle and Kagan cannot deny that whatever he says about Thrasybulus. And Thrasybulus never managed to dominate the Athenian political arena as Alcibiades did. This indicates something. And why should I trust Kagan and not the Greek Fotiadis who says that Alcibiades was a military genious? Why not Demosthnenes who said that Alcibiades served his country and lauds him? Pundits like Kagan are much influenced by Thucydides. But Thycudides is not infallible! He also misjudged people and situations. And he misjudged not only Alcibiades, but Nicias and Cleon as well. Cleon was a capable politician and general, but Thucydides presented him as demogogue and incompetent. And Nicias who was a real incompetent is lauded by the historian as much as Pericles! A. Vlachos, one of the best researchers of ancient Greek litterature, presents all these bias of Thucydides. And Vlachos also shows that the expedition in Sicily was an absolutely rational and coherent decision in accordance with traditional Athenian aspirations.
The Athenian empire had nothing to do with what Alcibiades dreamed. He dreamed what Agesilaos attempted, Philip initiated and Alexander materialized. We donot speak about an empire which was the strongest state of Greece for 70 years, but about an empire which would totally impose itself on Greece and which would attempt to dominate other lands. There is a huge difference. And in this way Alcibiades was militarily and politically a visionnary. But this is POV and I will not include it in the article!
I intend to keep contributing to the article (although I'm not a native English speaker and I lose the profound meaning of words!) and I donot want conflicts. My intention is to help and further ameliorate what is already a good article thanks to you. But I repeat that, if you disagree with me, call an administrator and the problem will be solved. And although my degree is law, believe me I know some things about ancient Greece. After all, knowledge is not based on degrees--Yannismarou 17:59, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
with the citations i had them in MLA format taken from book sources so i didn't feel like redoing them to wikipedia standards, but i appereciate you correcting them. as far as the references i made to your education and native language they were in no way intended to be a personal attack i was just trying to make a point about how different words(symbols), especially abstract adjectives, can have a very subjective meaning. In your response i gathered that you do have an understanding of the inherent flexibility in their meanings, especially when describing something like a mans character. I don't think calling a moderator is necessary cause im sure we're not at that point yet. Ultimately i just didn't like you jumping in and changing what i felt was a well worded accurate and compreshensive intro without discussing it at all. The new one sacrifices specifics, what some would call POV, for the sake of conforming and your version is admittedly more neutral than the one i had posted. At the same time however seemingly POV statments in the og intro were all well supported by documented events examples of which appear in the body of the paper and are referenced. It took me until now to realize that just because the information is accurate dosen't mean it meets the WP standard, and i think that was the center of our debate cause as i said we are in agreement over the character of the man so near as i can tell.Dmcheatw 08:12, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

OK ... And I promise that I'll never again intervene in such important matters without previously consulting you.--Yannismarou 11:52, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Military skill of Alcibiades[edit]

Dmcheatw, why don't you include in the article Kagan's criticism that "without Thrasybulus alcibiades never enjoyed major military sucess, but without alcibiades Thrasybulus was a first rate general."? I think the section "assessments" I added is a good place to citate that. I would do it myself, but I donot have access to Kagan's book.--Yannismarou 07:48, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

indeed, i intend to provide my own assessment (with supporting evidence of course) of alcibiades in your section and his military ability was something I wanted to touch on. Still to do it right will take some time so it may be a couple weeks before I elaborate on what you already wrote, which i by and large agree with btw. I meant to say earlier that creating a section of commentary on him was a great idea and really circumvented our whole earlier argument over what to include in the intro, facts in the intro supported opinions in the assessment sounds good to me, provided all points of view are equally represented and none are in violation of wiki policy. keep up the good work on the article!Dmcheatw 11:16, 2 August 2006 (UTC)


This article was graded on 7 criteria:

  1. Well-written: Pass
  2. Factually accurate: Pass
  3. Broad: Pass
  4. Neutrally written: Pass
  5. Stable: Pass
  6. Well-referenced: Pass
  7. Images: Pass

Congratulations! All I can say is: Wow. Those references are crazy! Push it to FAC as soon as possible. --PresN 06:04, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your nice words! FAC is in my mind, but the article needs a few more tweaks before it is ready for this tough procedure. I hope I'll be soon ready to nominate it.--Yannismarou 14:45, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

criticisms (seeing as it's going to run for FA)[edit]

"It is argued however that, had he been allowed to continue in command of the Sicilian Expedition, he would have overruled the policy of Nicias and prevented the catastrophe of 413 BC"

It's completely unclear which policy of Nicias this is referring to.

"Alcibiades met with them in secret before they were to speak to ecclesia (the Athenian Assembly) and told them that the Assembly is haughty and has great ambitions."

Tense, and can you say 'ecclesia' without a definite article? Again in "Thereby, ecclesia deposed Phrynichus" — and it's an odd use of 'thereby.' I've replaced it in one other instance. I'd phrase this simply 'The ecclesia deposed...'

"Alcibiades was to win over Tissaphernes and the King"

...of Sparta?

I'm sure the article's being revised at the moment, but too much of the English doesn't flow. There are a lot of oddly-ordered sentences and instances of the word 'however' (is that word inevitable in history?), and a few disjointed points with several sentences before the conclusion of the main point.

Njál 18:11, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm not a native speaker, but I'll try to do my best to improve the language. Since you are a native speaker, I'd be grateful, if you could help.--Yannismarou 18:16, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I've been editing commas. On genitives: in English in the phrase "In an Isocrates speech" 'Isocrates' functions as an adjective so it doesn't need the genitive marker (') — in Greek, is this done by putting the author's name in the genitive? (I've seen it done, but no-one's ever explained it to me.) Njál 18:54, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
(I've already changed the examples I found in the text.) Njál
Yes, that's how it works in Greek. We would say "Μια ομιλία του Ισοκράτη" = "A speech of Isocrates". In Greek "Isocrates" cannot function as an adjective. It should be turned into an adjective:Isocrates→Isocratic: "Μια Ισοκρατική ομιλία". But it is not so nice. Thanks a lot for your contributions.--Yannismarou 19:46, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

The lead[edit]

I haven't had a chance to look all of this over yet (although it's clear that you've done another great job on this, Yannismarou), but I just did a copyedit/rewrite of the lead. Does it look good to you? --RobthTalk 02:09, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Alma Tadema painting for last section[edit]

I would like to add this work as an illustration for the last section of the article. Any opinions? Haiduc 04:39, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I don't have an objection. The only thing I think is that this picture already appears in Pericles' article.--Yannismarou 07:20, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
You are right, I just checked. But what good is it there when nobody is identified? I'll change the caption there and maybe just crop and post a detail here. Thanks, Haiduc 20:48, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


"early 410s BC" 1. What does that mean, when counting backwards? Does that mean ~420-415, ~415-410 or ~410-405? Since others may also have the same question, it might be worth rewriting. 2. It would be far more encyclopedic, accurate, and less POV to use BCE than BC. Sad mouse 00:18, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Since no one had any objection, I made the dates encyclopedic. I am still unclear what "early 410s" mean. Sad mouse 18:15, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

I am objecting and reverting. It is not more encyclopædic, leads to redirects and breakage.
Leandro GFC Dutra 18:19, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Traditionally people give reasons for their objections, rather than simply saying "I object". Reasons for use of BCE : it is no POV (BC is a Christian POV), it is encyclopedic (while BC is more commonly used in informally, text books, encyclopedias and academic articles are increasingly moving towards BCE), it is cross-cultural (which wiki aims to be). I will revert to BCE for now, eagerly awaiting a point by point objection. Sad mouse 18:27, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
I gave reasons, you ignored them.
My apologies, usually people give more reasons that "not". Sad mouse 18:41, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
BC is nov PoV, it is a fact. BCE is political correctness.
BC/AD are not fact, and use of them for dating is POV, since it orients history around one religion. BCE is not simply politically correct, it is cross-cultural and neutral. Sad mouse 18:41, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
BCE is not encyclopædic, since it is not a recommendation by WP. BTW, ‘encyclopædic’ makes no sense.
Wikipedia recommendations are meant to develop. Sad mouse 18:41, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
BCE is not croß-cultural, it simply hides a fact.
BCE is more cross-cultural, since BC/AD has no meaning to non-Christians, while BCE/CE has meaning to everyone. What "fact" does BCE/CE hide? Sad mouse 18:41, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Sad indeed.
Leandro GFC Dutra 18:36, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Please be honest with your reversions - you note Re-reversal done without debate, caused breakage and redirects, reverted improvements. This was untrue, unlike you I gave reasons on the talk page (which I left for half a day before acting on, also unlike you), there was a single broken link which could have been fixed in thirty seconds, and the redirect point is (frankly) idiotic, since anytime two date systems are used, one or the other will give redirects (which is perfectly acceptable). As for reverted improvement - your reversion also did that. I am happy to debate the issue, but I would appreciate the mutual respect of honesty and actually considering points before reversion. Sad mouse 18:47, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Use of BC/BCE is covered by WP:DATE. Neither is preferred, and policy is that we stick with whatever format was first used in the article. Please don't get in a protracted debate about this; it's a waste of time. Just find out what the article used initially, and go with that. --Akhilleus (talk) 18:29, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Of course, whether or not a policy is correct is well worth debating. "In the year of our Lord" is obviously POV compared to "Current Era", which is why I use CE. It really depends if you think wikipedia should be populist or neutral/academic. There is no good reason that the original version should be used - originals are constantly rewritten to improve by removing POV. Sad mouse 18:41, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
The oldest version of the article uses BC, so we should use that, and avoid BCE for this article. --Akhilleus (talk) 18:32, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
The oldest version was simply copy and pasted (probably a copyright violation) from an old encyclopedia. I hardly see why that is a decent reason to maintain blatant POV. Sad mouse 18:43, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
If you're unhappy with the policy, the appropriate place to complain (and advocate its change) is on the talk page of WP:DATE, not here. And I don't mean to be rude, but the difference between AD/CE is quite trivial--if you're intent on stamping out bias, there are other issues on Wikipedia that it would be more productive to work on. --Akhilleus (talk) 18:52, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't believe the difference between AD/CE is trivial, it is an insidious POV. As to what I should work on, to me the Featured Article is quite important - more people are going to read subtle POV on a Featured Article than blatant POV on some non-notable topic. Sad mouse 19:14, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I agree with sad mouse, BCE/CE are inherently more neutral dating system and is the typical format in recent scholarly, so I would support the change. The article originally came from the 1912 Britannica, just to note. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dmcheatw (talkcontribs) 03:06, 4 April 2007 (UTC).

Alcibiades and alcohol[edit]

I heard the Alcibiades was a drunkard. Is it true? Are there any sources that may support this? Kpalion 18:37, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

It is alleged (though only implicitly, if I remember correctly) in sources such as Plutarch that he did like to drink heavily at parties, and tended to be the 'leader of the gang,' so to speak. I recall a section either in Plutarch or Thucydides which described him humiliating the host of a party by leading all the guests out of his house to engage in revelry on the street (it is these sort of stories which made Alcibiades a prime suspect for the mutilation of the Herms and dressing up as the high priest of Eleusis). I imagine that many Athenians would have seen Alcibiades as a dangerous and unbalanced individual with tyrannical leanings. Try Plutarch's life of Alcibiades for the kind of biographical information you're after. Mr. Alcibiades 02:32, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
According to Plutarch, Alcibiades once, in his youth, got drunk with some of his friends and stole silver and gold cups from the house of Anytus during a party. I don't remember if there were many other incidents like this, but he seems likes he the type to do this often. He is noted for indulging in excesses, which probably include alcohol.--Coriolanus291 16:47, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Really impressive work[edit]

To whoever was instrumental in bring this article up to FA status, my congratulations, this is perhaps the best written, beat researched, best formatted article I think I have ever read on wikipedia. - PocklingtonDan 21:24, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

No kidding. Truly amazing article! Daniel 23:31, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! User:Dmcheatw and User:Robth have also contributed a lot to this article.--Yannismarou 10:35, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Lead section[edit]

This article is impressive and worthy of its FA status. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean it can't be improved. Here are some issues I noticed reading the lead section:

  • Alcibiades' name is given as Alcibiades Cleiniou Scambonides. Yet ancient Greeks had only one name--in this case, Alcibiades. Cleiniou is his patronymic, and Scambonides his demotic--they help specify which Alcibiades we're talking about, but they're not actually part of his name. "Alcibiades Cleiniou Scambonides" means "Alcibiades, son of Cleinias, of the deme Scambonidae." Alcibiades' patronymic and demotic are valuable information and should be retained, but the article shouldn't give the impression that they're part of Alcibiades' name.
  • "He was the last famous member of his mother's aristocratic family"--which family is that? Shouldn't their name be stated? (I read farther in the article, and see that we're talking about the Alcmaeonidae--but why not mention that in the lead?)
  • The alleged mutilation of the herms and the profanation of the mysteries ought to be mentioned in the lead, since these are major parts of the ancient biographical tradition about Alcibiades. Mention of his (alleged) moral failings might be good also, since this is also a major aspect of the ancient (and modern) biographical tradition.
  • The lead could include more facts about Alcibiades' career, including his assassination in 404. --Akhilleus (talk) 05:28, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree about the profanation. There was a reference, but the relevant paragraph where there was a reference mysteriously disappeared! I restored it keeping the improvements made in the lead during the article's appearance in the main page.--Yannismarou 08:58, 14 January 2007 (UTC)


Is it only me, or is the pronunciation in IPA slightly misleading? This is, how the name (if transcribed from Latin, i.e. with a "c" instead of a "k") is usually pronounced by English-speaking people, right? However, this gives the impression, this would have been the pronunciation of his name in his time! -- 12:00, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Alcibiades is how it was translated in the texts that i read, my understanding is that either way is correct.Dmcheatw 03:13, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
That is correct. Technically speaking his name was Alkibiades and pronounced with a hard 'k.' However, he is a bizarre exception in that scholars have nearly always used a soft 'c' in his name. Mr. Alcibiades 02:36, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Um, you've both missed's point, which is that the article is giving the pronunciation of "Alcibiades" in contemporary English, but the article looks as if it's saying that was the pronunciation in ancient Greek. --Akhilleus (talk) 04:18, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh. Well it doesn't look very misleading to me. Have you edited it? There is an IPA and Greek pronunciation already there, and I don't know if such an article warrants a section on the pronunciation of his name, despite the oddity of it. Mr. Alcibiades 21:58, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Changing notes[edit]

I would suggest a change of the footnote style from [a] to a[›]


a. ^ text

to ^ a: text
Any objections? Wandalstouring 03:11, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't have a problem. I don't think this is something important.--Yannismarou 07:40, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Relationship with Sokrates[edit]

But applying a judgement on the motivations of the sources only on one phrase, this part really seems to push the idea that the relationship was not as chaste as the sources put it. I think it should be rephrased so the 'idealised' applies to all of it But I don't know it well enough to want to risk implying something incorrect. Courtesy of Gavla 15:58, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

his grandfather[edit]

In the early years section, it says his mother's father was Megacles. A couple of sentences later, it says his maternal grandfather was also named Alcibiades. Those statements seem to contradict one another. Also, there are a lot of vague pronouns in that section at least. In the reference "his maternal grandmother," maybe the 'his' refers to one of the other people named in the previous sentence. 23:37, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

You're referring to the sentence in the Early Years section which now reads, "His maternal grandfather, also named Alcibiades, was a friend of Cleisthenes, the famous constitutional reformer of the late 6th century BC." I believe that some of the information here is inaccurate. It would be a strange coincidence indeed if Alcibiades' paternal grandfather and his maternal grandfather were named Alcibiades! In fact, the father of Alcibiades' father Cleinias was named Alcibiades. But the father of Alcibiades' mother Deinomache was named Megacles, who (incidentally) was the brother of Pericles' mother Agariste. My information comes from Debra Nails' The People of Plato (Hackett, 2002). I'll leave it someone else to figure out a way to fix the inaccuracies in the Early Years section of the article. Maybe the sentence in question should read, ""His paternal grandfather, also named Alcibiades, was a friend of Cleisthenes, the famous constitutional reformer of the late 6th century BC." But I don't know whether it's true that that Alcibiades was a friend of Cleisthenes. Isokrates 14:16, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

The Details of Alcibiades' Death: Is this a vacuum of the sort History abhors?[edit]

I recently read an interesting article on this subject by Bernadotte Perrin: "The Death of Alcibiades", Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 37 (1906): pp. 25-37. In light of it, I think the description in the Alcibiades Wikiarticle of the details of his death ought to be qualified by a cautionary remark (whether in the notes or the article's body) as to the real condition of the evidence we possess. The current version presents Plutarch's account as though it were solid, reliable fact.

Perrin, however, believes that our only solid evidence for the details of Alcibiades' death are to be found in Isocrates' encomium of Alcibiades which he wrote (in 397) for Alcibiades' son: "Did not the Lacedaemonians and Lysander exert themselves as much to cause his death as to bring about the downfall of your dominion, in the belief that they could not be sure of the city's loyalty if they demolished her walls unless they should also destroy the man who could rebuild them?" (Isocrates 16.40). Perrin argues (pp. 27-28; cf. 29-30) that if a relationship with Pharnabazus was known in the decade following Alcibiades’ death, it would have been talked of in the Isocrates speech and Lysias would have talked of it in his denunciation of Alcibiades' son (in 395).

Perrin argues, "No one but the perpetrators of the murder knew where or how it was committed, and the nature of the deed was such – a treacherous assassination – that the leading actors in it would take pains rather to conceal than to make known the facts. And though the murderers may have been many, the victim, in all probability, was alone. There is, at least, no conceivable reason why any attendants whom Alcibiades may have had with him should have been allowed to escape" (pp. 26-27). Perrin concludes, "It is reasonably safe to assume that in 395…little was known at Athens about the circumstances of that death, beyond the general features adduced by Isocrates: Alcibiades had fallen victim to the intrigues of the Lacedaemonians and Lysander" (p. 28). Perrin explains that, by the time of Macedonian supremacy, almost two generations later, Alcibiades' career had "become one of surpassing interest" (p. 26), especially since "the prevailing attitude toward the memory of Alcibiades was one of admiration for his great powers" (p. 28); Perrin concludes that, when in this period Ephorus and Theopompus each wrote a Hellenica (on which later writers based their accounts of Alcibiades' death), "…in the absence of authentic details of his death, romantic details were more or less freely invented" (p. 26).

Is anyone aware of more recent scholarship that speaks specifically to this issue? If not, then maybe a cautionary remark about this in the Wikiarticle is in order. Isokrates 18:56, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree, Perrin's arguments should be presented in the article. His account and/or criticism of Plutarch is reasonable and is just as likely to be true as plutarchs' account.Dmcheatw 01:03, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Oratorical skill[edit]

The quote by Eupolis regarding Alcibiades' oratorical skills seems, from my reading, to refer to Phaeax rather than Alcibiades. Here's the quote from the Dryden translation: "Phaeax was but a rising statesman like Alcibiades; he was descended from noble ancestors, but was his inferior, as in many other things, so, principally, in eloquence. He possessed rather the art of persuading in private conversation than of debate before the people, and was, as Eupolis said of him--'The best of talkers, and of speakers worst.'" Plutarch states several times before this that Alcibiades was extremely eloquent, making this quote unlikely to refer to Alcibiades. Someone should check this passage against another translation and remove the statement if necessary.--Coriolanus291 16:58, 18 July 2007 (UTC)


I thought the phrase "Alcibiades enjoys an important afterlife in art" could be interpreted as having a certain philosophical presupposition behind it (i.e. POV), so I changed it to the more neutral "Long after his death, Alcibiades continues to appear in art". Just trying to avoid someone being put off by this metaphorical use of the word "afterlife". PeterMottola (talk) 21:41, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

It seems unlikely that anyone would have complained, but bizarre stuff happens all the time on Wikipedia. "Afterlife" may have been an over-literal translation of nachleben. --Akhilleus (talk) 21:52, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Links from Citations to sources[edit]

I'm thinking of putting links from the Citations to the primary and secondary sources, as at Che Guevara and as described/discussed here. Comments? Coppertwig (talk) 02:47, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

If the general structure of the article's references system is not affected, I wouldn't object, and I would regard it as useful.--Yannismarou (talk) 08:47, 9 September 2008 (UTC)


Alcibiades and friend; Detail from Phidias and the Parthenon marbles by Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

This painting and caption have been placed in the article. According to Prettejohn's definitive catalogue of Alma-Tadema "Georg Ebbers speculated that the youthful figure at the extreme left was Alcibiades." (p.146) Ebbers wrote a book on Alma-Tadema in 1886. So this seems to be the speculation of one writer, not a commonly accepted fact. Paul B (talk) 13:48, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Alcibiades' homosexuality.[edit]

Like many men of his time and age, Alcibiades was gay, or better: a homosexual. I can close one eye on Plato's dialogues, but this guy is really something. See for example: [1]Guildenrich (talk) 21:26, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

That's probably not the right way to put it, because the Greeks didn't have the same concepts of sexual orientation that we do. For all that A. was involved in sexual relationships with other men, he also was married and had children, and, at least according to our article, "consorted with courtesans." This wasn't unusual behavior for an upper-class Greek male of the time. Homosexuality in ancient Greece has some relevant information. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:27, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
In Ancient Greece, a mere pecadillo bla bla bla... this deserves a whole section in the article. Did the jail-house rules apply at the time? Guildenrich (talk) 02:42, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Biography of ALcibiades[edit]

I added E. F. Benson's Biography of Alcibiades to the article for further reading. It is a highly engaging account of his life and times and it is one of the best biographical sources in print in addition to Steven Forde's The Ambition to Rule: Alcibiades and the Politics of Imperialism in Thucydides, 1989, and Walter Ellis's Alcibiades, 1989. Hellocheeky (talk) 23:48, 15 December 2010 (UTC) The inclusion of an important secondary source that I added was reverted without justification. It is difficult to envisage what justification there could be. As Frank Northen Magill, Christina J. Moose, and Alison Aves clearly state in the Dictionary of World Biography, 1998, Benson's Life of Alcibiades is "The standard biography or Alcibiades ... written in large part from primary materials, especially Thucydides and Plutarch. ... Should appeal to scholars and students alike." Or Richard Louth in Andrew Traver, ed. states in From Polis to Empire—The Ancient World, c. 800 B.C.-A.D. 500: A Biographical Dictionary, 2002, Benson's Life of Alcibiades is a key biography on Alcibiades. Hellocheeky (talk) 22:23, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Actually, you hit it on the head in your query to me. Your prose is flowery to the point of being promotional, you smack of being conflict of interest. Your edit summary said "Classic biography of Alcibiades by Benson." yet it was dated 2010 and was very careful to mention "Craig Paterson, Introduction", whoever that is. Terms like "highly engaging", "difficult to envisage" and so on set off long-term users' bells and whistles, your addition did and does. I will wikify it for you.--Kintetsubuffalo (talk) 00:34, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
In fact, checking your other edits, you have in three articles added this Craig Paterson. If that is you, you need to read WP:COI and Wikipedia's rules on self-promotion.--Kintetsubuffalo (talk) 00:43, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Alcibiades Cleiniou Scambonides[edit]

Referring to Alcibiades in the top section as if these three words were all just parts of his name is misleading in my view, as Cleiniou is a patronymic (and it's actually genitive in the Greek, not even a real patronymic) and Scambonides is simply his deme's name. As far as I can see, this is not consistent with other Athenian politicians on Wikipedia. If no-one objects within a week or so I will amend this. Dionysodorus (talk) 16:44, 29 May 2011 (UTC)


Within the timeline it shows that Socrates saved Alcibiades in 434BC, while this actually occurred in 432BC during the Battle of Potidaea, which is correctly mentioned in the article. Regards, Ratipok (talk) 12:40, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

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Alcibiades' lisp[edit]

The article states Alcibiades had a lisp, and quotes an English translation of Aristophanes' Wasps (unsourced) in wich the S is replaced by Th. This is not the case in the greek original, in which R are replaced by L. I don't know if this can be considered a lisp. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 27 April 2016 (UTC)

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