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gentleman ; for he would fay, " To play on the lute or
" harp does not diforder the pofture of the body,, or the air
" of the face \ but a man is hardly to be known by his moft
" intimate friends when he plays on the flute. Befides, he
" who plays on the harp, may difcourfe or fmg at the fame
" time ; but the flute does fo flop up the mouth that the
" voice is intercepted, and all fpeech taken away. There-
" fore, (faid he) let the Theban ybuths pipe, becaufe they
" know not how to difcourfe ^ but we Athenians (as our an-
" ceflors have told us) have Minerva for our patronefs, and
" Apollo for our protector, one of whom threw away the flute,
"and the other ftripped off his Ikinwho played upon it."
Thus partly by raillery, and partly by argument, Alci-
biades not only kept himfelf, but others from learning
to play upon that inftrurnent ; prefently became
the talk of the young gentlemen, that Alcibiades, with
good reafon, defpifed the art of playing on the flute,
and ridiculed thofe who fludiecf it. Whereupon it


called f him flatterer, an appella- with the former,
tion which he deferved equally

(2) Athe-

94 tte L I F E of

quickly ceafed to be reckoned a liberal accofnplifhment,-
and was univerfally exploded.

It is related in the invective which Antiphon wrote a-
gainft Alcibiades, that once when he Was a boy, he ran
away from home and fled to the houfe of Democrates, one
of his lovers, and that Ariphron would have caufed pro-
clamation to be made for him, had not Pericles diverted
him from it, by faying, " That if he were dead, the pro-
" claimingof him could only caufeit to be difcovered one
v *' day fooner ; and if he were fafe, it would be a reproach to
" him whilft he lived." Antiphon alfo fays, that in Sybur-
tius's fchool, or place of exercifes, he flew one of his own
fervants with the ' k blow of a ftaff But it is unreafona-
ble to give credit to all that is objected by an enemy,
who makes profeflion of his defign to defame him.

It was manifeft, that the many perfons of quality,
who were continually waiting upon him, and making
their court to him, were furprized and captivated by
his extraordinary beauty only. But the affection which
Socrates expreffed for Alcibiades, was a great evidence of
his virtue and good difpofition, which Socrates perceived
to mine through the beauty of his perfon ; and fearing
left his wealth and quality, and the great number both
of ftrangers and Athenians, who flattered and carefied
him, might at laft corrupt him, he therefore refolved
to interpofe and prefer ve fo hopeful a plant from pe-
rifhing in the flower, and before its fruit came to per-
fection. For, never did fortune furround and enclofe
a man with fo many of thofe things which we vulgarly
call good, and thereby render him inacceflible to the
remonftrances of reafon and philofophy, as (he did Al-
cibiades : who from the beginning was foftened by the
flatteries of thofe who converted with him, and hindered
from hearkening to fuch as would advife or inftruct
him. Yet fuch was the happinefs of his genius, that


{2) Athensus tells this ftory in called Thrafyllus^who was but in
a manner more advantageous to mean circumftances, and obferv-
Alcibiades. He fays that Alcibi- ing the fide-board well ftored with
ades going in mafquerade to Any- plate of gold as well as filver j
tus's houfe with a friend of his he weal up to it and drank Thra-


A L C I B I : A D E S. 95

he difcerned Socrates from the reft, and admitted him,
whilft he drove away the wealthy and the noble who
made court to him ; and in a little time they grew into a
familiarity. When Alcibiades obferved that his dif-
courfes aimed not at any effeminate pleafures of love, nor
fought any thing wanton or dimoneft, but laid open to
him the imperfections of his mind, and reprefied his
vain and foolim arrogance ;

Then like the craven cock he bung his wings^

Efteeming thefe endeavours of Socrates, as means which
the Gods ufed for the inftrudion and prefervation of
youth. So that he began to think meanly of hfm-
felf, and to admire Socrates, to be pleafed with his
kindnefs, and to ftand in awe of his virtue : and imper-
ceptibly contracted fuch a love for him as tended to
fecure him from vicious and dishonourable love. So
that all men wondered at Alcibiades, when they faw So-
crates and him eat together, perform their exercifes to-
gether, and lodge in the fame tent ; whilft he was re-
ierved and rough to all others who made their addretfes
to him, and behaved with great infolence to fome of
them ; as in particular to Any t us, the fon of Athemion,
one who was very fond of him, and invited him to an
entertainment which he had prepared for fome ftrangers :
Alcibiades refufed the invitation ; but having drank to
excefs at his own houfe with fome of his companions,
he went thither to play fome frolick ; and as he ftood
at the door of the room where the guefts were enter-
tained, and perceived the tables to be covered with vef-
fels of gold and filver, (2) he commanded his fervants
to take away the one half of them, and carry them to
his own houfe ; and then difdaining fo much as to enter
into the room himfelf, as foon as he had done this, he
went away. The company was extremely offended at


fyllus's health, and when he had this plate from one of his lovers

done, he ordered his flaves that at- who was wealthy, to beftovv it

fended him to take half of what on another who was indigent,

they faw in the buffet, and carry without touching any of it him-

it to Thrafyllus's houfe. He took felf.

(37 &

9 6 T 'be L ! F E <?/

the a&ion, and faid, he behaved rudely and infolently
towards Anytus ; but Anytus made anfwer, that he had
ufed him kindly and with great humanity, in that he
left him part, when he might have taken all. He be-
haved in the fame manner to all others who courted him,
except only one ftranger, who, as it is reported, having
but a fmall eilate, fold it all for about a hundred flaters,
which he prefented to Alcibiades, and befought him to
accept it : Alcibiades fmiling, and pleafed at the thing,
invited him to fupper, and after a very kind entertain-
ment, gave him his gold again, withal requiring him
not to fail to be prefent the next day, when the pub-
lick revenue was offered to farm, and to outbid all
others. The man would have excufed himfelf, becaufe
the farm was fo great, and would be let for many ta-
lents ; but Alcibiades, who had at that time a private
pique againfl the old farmers, threatened to have him
beaten if he refufed. The next morning the flranger
coming to the market-place, offered a talent more than
the old rent : the farmers were enraged at him, and
confulting together, called upon him to name fuch as
would be fureties for him, concluding that he could
find none. The poor man being flartled at the propofal,
was going to retire ; but Alcibiades {landing at a diflance,
cried out to the magiftrates, " Set my name down, he is
" a friend of mine, I will undertake for him." When
the old farmers heard this, they were in the utmofl per-
plexity ; for their way was, with the profits of the pre-
fent year to pay the rent of the year preceding ; fo that
not feeing any other way to extricate themfelves out of
the difficulty, they began to intreat the flranger, and
offered him a fum of money. Alcibiades would not fuf-
fer him to accept of lefs than a talent, but when that
was paid down, he commanded him to relinquifh the
bargain, having by this device relieved his neceffity.

Though Socrates had many and powerful rivals, yet
fuch was the natural good difpofition of Alcibiades, that
he was moil fuccefsful with him. His difcourfes af-
fe&ed him to that degree, as not only to draw tears
from his eyes, but to change his very foul. Yet feme-

A L C I B I A D E S. 9T

times he would abandon himfelf to flatterers, when they
propofed to him varieties of pleafure, and would defert
Socrates ; who then would purfue him as if he had been
a fugitive flave. The truth is, Alcibiades defpifed all
others, and reverenced and ftood in awe of him alone.
And therefore it was that Cleanthes faid, he had given
his ears to Socrates, but to his rivals other parts of his
body, with which Socrates would not meddle. For Al-
cibiades was certainly very much addicted to pleafures ;
and that which Thucydides fays, concerning his excefles
in his courfe of living, gives occafion to believe fo.
But thofe who endeavoured to corrupt Alcibiades took
advantage chiefly of his vanity and ambition, and in-
cited him to undertake unfeafonably great things, per-
fuading him, that as foon as he began to concern him-
ielf in publick affairs, he would not only obfcure the
reft of the generals and ftatefmen, but exceed the au-
thority and the reputation which Pericles himfelf had
gained in Greece. But in the fame manner as iron,
which is foftened by the fire, is again hardened and
contracted by the cold ; fo as often as Socrates obferved
Alcibiades to be mifled by luxury or pride, he reduced
and corrected him by his difcourfes, and made him hum-
ble and modeft, by fhowing him in how many things
he was deficient, and how very far he was from per-
fection in virtue.

When he was part his childhood, he went once to a
grammar- fchool, and afked the matter for one of Ho-
mer's books j and he making anfwer, that he had no-
thing of Homer's, Alcibiades gave him a blow with his
fid, and went away. Another fchoolmafter telling him
that he had Homer corrected fey himfelf; "How!" faid
Alcibiades, " and do you employ your time in teaching
" children to read? You who are able to amend Homer, may
*' well undertake to inftruct men." Being oncedefirous to
(peak with Pericles, he went to his houfe and was told
there, that he wasnotatleifure, butbufied in conlidering
how to give up his accounts to the Athenians ; Alcibiades
as he went away, faid, " It were better for him to confider
" how he might avoid giving up any accounts at all.

VOL. II. G Whilft

L I F E of

Whilfthe was very young, he wasafoldier in the expe-
dition againil Potidsea, where Socrates lodged in the
fame tent with him, and was his -companion in every en-
gagement. Once there happened a fharp fkirmifh, where-
in they both behaved with much bravery ; but Alcibia-
des receiving a wound there, Socrates threw himfelf be-
fore him, to defend him, and moft manifeflly faved him
and his arms from the enemy, and therefore juftly
might have challenged the prize of valour. But the ge-
nerals appearing dciirous to adjudge the honour to Alci-
biades, becaufe of his quality, Socrates, who was willing
to mcreafe his third after glory, was the firft who gave
evidence for him, and prefled them to crown him, and
to decree to him the compleat fuit of armour. After-
wards in the battle of Delium, when the Athenians were
routed, and Socrates, with a few others, was retreating
on foot, Alcibiades, who was on horfeback, obferving it,
would not pafs on, but flaid to flielter him from the
danger, and brought him fafe ofi^ though the enemy
prefled hard upon them, and cut off many of the party.
(3) But this happened fome time after.

He gave a box on the ear to Hipponicus, the father of
.Callias, a perfon of great credit and authority, both on
account of his birth and riches. And this he did un-
provoked by any paffion or quarrel between them, but
only becaufe in a frolick he had agreed with his compa-
nions to do it. All men were juftly offended at this
infolence, when it was known through the city : but
.early the next morning Alcibiades went to his houfe, and
knocked at the door, and being admitted to him, flrip-
ped off his garment, and preferring his naked body,
defired him to beat and chaftife him as he pleafed. Up-
on this Hipponicus forgot all his refentment, and not
only pardoned him, but foon after gave him his daugh-
ter Hipparete in marriage. Some fay, that it was riot
Hipponicus, but his fon Callias, who gave Hipparete to
Alcibiades, together with a portion of ten talents ; and
that afterwards, when fhe had a child, Alcibiades forced


()) It was eight years after. For in the firft year of the eighty-fe-
tbe aftion at Potidxa happened vemh Olympiad, and that at De-


him to give ten talents more, upon pretence that fuch
was the agreement if (he brought him any children. Cal-
lias, however, being afraid of the contrivances of Al-
cibiades, in a full affembly of the people, declared,
that if he mould happen to die without children, Alci-
biades mould inherit his houfeand all his goods. Hip-
parete was a virtuous lady, and fond of her hufband ;
but at lafl growing impatient of the injuries done to her
marriage-bed, by his continual entertaining of courte-
zans, as well ftrangers as Athenians, me left him, and
retired to her brother's houfe. Alcibiades feemed not at
all-concerned at it, and lived on dill in the fame luxury.
The law requiring that (he mould deliver to the Archon
in perfon, and not by proxy, the inftrument whereby
me (ought a divorce ; when, in obedience to the law,
(he prefented herfelf before him to perform this, Alci-
biades came in, took her away by force, and carried
her home through the market-place, no one daring to
oppofe him, nor to take her from him. And (he conti-
nued with him till her death, which happened not long
after, when Alcibiades made his voyage to Ephefus. Nor
\vas this violence to be thought (b very enormous or in-
human ; for the law, in making her who defires to be
divorced appear in publick, feems to defign to give her
hu(band an opportunity of meeting with her, and of en-
deavouring to retain her.

Alcibiades had a very large and beautiful dog which
cod him feventy Minae ^ his tail, which was his principal
ornament, he caufed to be cut off; and his acquaintance
chiding him for it, and telling him, that all Athens was
forry for the dog, and blamed him for this adion ; he
laughed, and faid, " It has happened then as I defired ;
" for I would have the Athenians entertain themfelves
" with the difcourfe of this, left they mould be talking
" fomething worfe of me."

It is faid, that the firft time he came into the aflem-
bly, was when a largefs of money was given, to the
people. This was not done by defign, but as he paffed
along he heard a great noife in the aflembly, and en-
Hum the firft year of the eighty-ninth.

G 2 (4) The

ioo The LIFE of

quiring the caufe, and having learned that there was a
donative made to the people, he went in amongft them,
and gave money alfo. The multitude thereupon ap-
plauded him, and fhouting, he was fo tranfported at it,
that he forgot (4) a quail which he had under his robe,
and the bird being frighted with the noife, flew away :
thereupon the people made louder acclamations than
before, and many of them rofe up to purfue the bird ;
but one Antiochus, a pilot, caught it, and reflored it
to 'him, (5) for which he was ever after very dear to

He had great advantages for introducing himfelf in-
to the management of affairs; his noble birth, his
riches, the perfonal courage he had mown in divers
battles, and the multitude of his friends and dependants.
But, above all the reft, he chofe to make himfelf con-
fiderable to the people by his eloquence. That he was
a mafter in the art of fpeaking, the comick poets bear
him witnefs ; and Demofthenes, the moft eloquent of
men, in his oration againft Midias, allows that Alci-
biades, among other perfections, was an excellent orator.
And if we give credit to Theophraftus, who of all philo-
fophers was the moft curious enquirer, and the moft
faithful relater, he fays, that Alcibiades was peculiarly
happy at inventing things proper to be faid upon every
occafion. Nor did he confider the things only which
ought to be faid, but alfo what words and what expref-


(4) The men of pleafure in mies in ability and courage, and
thofe times were very fond of when he had brought Alcibiades
breeding quails, as appears from to acknowledge the truth of it,
feveral paffages in the ancients replied with a mortifying irony,
particularly in a comedy of Eupo- "No, no, my dear Alcibiades,
lis cited by Athenaus. Alcibiades " your only ftudy is how to fur-
had the fame tafte that way with " pafs Midias in the art of breed-
the reft, which drew upon him " ing quails,
that fevere piece of raillery from (5) Infomuch that he intruded
Socrates, who when he had made him with the command of the
it appear in the firft Alcibiades of fleet in his abfence, as we fliali
Plato, that the way to excel, and foon learn from Plutarch, which
have the chief command among had like to have been very fatal
the Athenians, was to ftudy to to the Athenians, for he was
lurpafs the generals of their ene- beaten.

(6) An-


fions were to be ufed ; and when thofe did not readily
occur, he would often paufe in the middle of his dit
courfe, and continue filent till he could recoiled the
words which he wanted.

His expences in the number of horfes and chariots
which he kept for the publick games, were very extra-
ordinary ; for never any one befides himlelf, either a
private perfon or a King, fent feven chariots to the
Olympick games. He carried away at once the firft,
the fecond, anql the fourth prize, as Thucydides fays, or
the third, as Euripides relates it ; wherein he furpafled
all that ever contended in that kind. Euripides cele-
brates hie fuccefs in this manner ;

*7w, lovely [on ^ Clinias, will Ifing,
$by triumphs down to future ages bring.
'Thou, pride of Greece ! which never f aw till now
So many crowns adorn one conq'ring brow.
Witb how much eafe the threefold prize he gains,
Andfmik-s to fee from far his rivals pains ;
tfheir chariots lagging on the diftant plains !
His temples thrice the willing judges crown.
And general ftjmits do the jujl fent ence own.

Ths emulation which feveral cities of Greece exprefled
in the prefents which they made to him, rendered his
fuccefs the more illuftrious. The Ephefians erected a
tent for him adorned magnificently j (6) the city of


{6)Antifthenes,o-neof Socrates's " found provender for his horfes;

difciples, writes that Chios fed his " Cyzicus fupplied him with vic-

horfes, and Cyzicus provided his '* tims, and provifions for bistable;

victims. The palTage is very re- ' ' and Lefbos with wine, and all

markable, for it appears by ir, " other neceflaries for his family."

that this wae done not only when None but opulent cities were able

Alcibiades went to the Olympick to anfwer fuch an expence : for

games, but likewife in all his war- at that time when Alcibiades ob-

jike expeditions and in all his tra- tained the firft, fecond, and third

' vels. "Whenever," fays he,''Al- prize in the Olympick games, after

' cibiades travelled, four cities of he had performed a very coftly

the allies miniftred to him as his facrifice to Jupiter, he entertained

handmaids. Ephefbs furni(hed at a magnificent repaft that innu-

him with tents as fumptuous as merable company that had aflifted

iho/e of the Perfians ; Chios at the ?ames.

G 3 (7) In

I02 The LIFE of

Chios furnifhed him with provender for his horfes, and
with a great number of beads for facrifice ; and the
Lefbians fent him wine and other ' provifions for the
many great entertainments which he made. Yet in the
midft of all this, he efcaped not without cenfure, occa-
fioned either by the malice of his enemies, or by his
own mifconducl:. For it is faid, that one Diomedes, an
Athenian, a good man, and a friend to Alcibiades, paf-
fionately defiring to obtain the victory at the Olympick
games, and having heard much of a chariot which be-
longed to the ftate at Argos, where he had obferved that
Alcibiades had great power and many friends, he pre-
vailed with him to buy the chariot for him. Alcibiades
did indeed buy it, but then claimed it for his own, leav-
ing Diomedes to rage at him, and to call upon Gods and
men to bear witnefs of the injuftice. There was a fuit
at law commenced upon this occafion ; and there is yet
extant an oration concerning a chariot, written by Ifo-
crates in defence of Alcibiades, then a youth. But there
the plaintiff in the action is named Tifias, and not

As toon as he applied himfelf to the affairs of go-
vernment, which was when he was very young, he
quickly leflened the credit of all who pretended to lead
the people, except Phoeax the fon of Erafiftratus, and
Nicias the fon of Niceratus, who alone durft contend
with him. Nicias was advanced in years, and efleemed
an excellent General ; but Phoeax as well as Alcibiades
was but beginning to grow in reputation. He was de-
fcended of noble anceftors, but was inferior to Alci-
biades, as in many other things, fo principally in elo-
quence. He had an eafy perfuafive manner of fpeaking
in private converfation, but could not maintain a de-
bate before the people -, or as Eupolis faid of him, " He
"could talk well, but was not a good orator." There is
extant an oration written againil Phoeax and Alcibiades,
wherein, amongft other things, it is faid, that Alcibiades
daily ufed at his table many gold and filver veflels,
which belonged to the commonwealth, as if they had
been his own.



There was one Hyperbolus, of the ward of the Peri-
thoides, (whom Thucydides mentions as a very bad man)
who furnifhed matter of fatire to all the writers of co-
medy in that age. But he was -unconcerned at the
worft things they could fay, and being carelefs of glory,
he was alfo infenfible .of Ihame. There are fome who
call this boldnefs and courage, whereas it is indeed
impudence and madnefs. He was liked by no body,
yet the people made a frequent ufe of him, when they
had a mind to difgrace or calumniate any perfons in
authority. At this time the people by his perfuafions
were ready to proceed to pronounce the fentence of ten
years banifhment, which they called Oftracifm. This
was a way they made ufe of to deprefs and drive out of
the city fuch perfons, as exceeded the reft in credit and
power, therein confulting their envy rather than their
fear. And when at this time there was no doubt but
that the Oftracifm would fall upon one of thofe three,
Alcibiades contrived to unite their feveral factions ; and
communicating his projeft to Nicias, he turned the fen-
tence upon Hyperbolus himfelf. Others (ay, that it was
not with Nicias but Phoeax that he confulted, and that
by the help of his party he procured the banifhment of
Hyperbolus himfelf, when he fufpecled nothing lefs.
For never any mean or obfcure perfon fell under that
punifhment before that time ; which gave occafion to
Plato the comick poet, to fpeak thus of Hyperbolus,

His crimes indeed, deferv'd the fate be bore
Condemned to wander from his native Jhore ;
Tet furc, to fuch abafe degenerate flave
The Shell not 'punijhment but honour gave,
That mark for dangerous eminence defignd
III f nits a wretch of fuch a grovelling mind.

But we have in another place given a fuller account of
all that hiftory has delivered down to us of this mat-
ter (7).

Alcibiades was not lefs difturbed at the reputation
which Nicias had gained amongft the enemies of Athens,

(/) In the lives of Ariftides and Nicias.

G 4 (*) After

I04 The L I E of

than at the honours which the Athenians themfelves paid
to him. For though the rights of hofpitality had long
fubfifted between the family of Alcibiades and the Lace-
daemonians, and though he took particular care of fuch
of them as were made prilbners at the fort of Pylos ; yet
after they had obtained a peace and the reftitution of
the captives by the procurement of Nicias, they began
to refpett him above all others. And it wascommonly
faid in Greece, that the war was begun by Pericles, and
that Nicias made an end of it -, and therefore this peace
as being his work, was by moft men called the Nician
peace. Alcibiades was extremely troubled at this, and
out of envy to Nicias fet himfelf to break the league,
Firft therefore obfetving that the Argives, out ofjealoufy
and hatred of the Lacedaemonians, fought for an occafion
to break with them, he gave them a fecret affurance of
a league offenfive and defenfive with Athens. And tranf-.
adting as well in perfon as by letters, with thofe who
had moil authority amongft the people, he encouraged
them neither to fear the Lacedaemonians, nor fubmit to
them, but to betake themfelves to the Athenians, who,
if they would wait but a little while, would repent of
the peace, and foon put an end to it. And afterwards,

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