Alcibiades was a great general for whosever side he was on at the time. He had a high opinion of himself and thought everyone else should, too. He was born in Athens around 450 BC. Alcibiades came from an esteemed family, which shows you what that’s worth. He had all the best teachers, too, including Socrates, who saved his life but couldn’t do much else.

When he entered into Athenian politics, there was peace between Athens and Sparta. Whether it was because he didn’t like peace in general or because it wasn’t his peace is disputable, but he set out to wreck the whole thing. This gets you appointed General.
Alcibiades was a great advocate for intervening in foreign wars for profit, which helped launch the Sicilian Expedition. It stunk, and while he was gone, his enemies framed him for sacrilege and condemned him to death. Alcibiades took a trip to Sparta and told them how scary Athens was, and how nice it would be to have a certain talented, cunning, handsome General to keep an eye on the situation for them.

Even after helping to pressure Athens and its allies, the traitor didn’t feel he had the influence in Sparta that he deserved, and having orders for his death given was the last straw. Alcibiades quit the Spartans and went to see what the Persians, Greece’s mortal enemies, had to offer. He did his best to prepare his homeland for Persian conquest, and that was pretty good.

Alcibiades wasn’t immune to homesickness, though, and secretly negotiated with the Athenian military to let him back and have the constitution of the government mutilated to form a new oligarchy. The coup happened, but Alcibiades got left out. The remaining democrats called upon his help as General, promising that he might not have to face up to what he’d done in the immediate future, and Athens began a slow recovery of its democracy.

After further foreign wars, Alcibiades timidly visited Athens for the first time since the Sicilian Expedition, but the Athenians didn’t seem to care as long as he was successfully Generaling. That’s why they fired him again after a losing streak. He left for Phrygia to live with his mistress when he was cornered in his house by Spartan assassins.

The life of Alcibiades shows us that the more sides of conflict you’re on, the more likely you will end up filled with arrows while your house burns down.

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