Alcibiades and socrates relationship

Socrates and Alcibiades | Ariel Helfer

alcibiades and socrates relationship

Keywords Socrates; Alcibiades; empire; philosophy; Symposium;. Plato. Mary P. . empire by examining Plato's portrayal in the Symposium of the relationship. The Alcibiades I introduces the relationship between Socrates and Alcibiades that Plato evidently thought was very important. Why? Because Plato presents. These relationships between men and boys in their teens were not merely sexual . Socrates was determined to keep his relationship with Alcibiades (and any.

Not only that, he managed to persuade the Athenian democracy to undertake a mind-bogglingly ambitious plan to conquer the very distant island of Sicily. As the historian Thucydides tells us, Alcibiades lived his private life in a very extravagant way.

For example, he single-handedly entered seven horses in the Olympic chariot races, placing first, second, and fourth; this was a very splashy thing to do.

alcibiades and socrates relationship

It would be like owning two or three of the teams vying for the Super Bowl. What exactly is this guy going to do? What exactly is he aiming at? Not long after Alcibiades set sail for Sicily, the people of Athens recalled him to stand trial for religious desecration. He decided not to return to Athens. Alcibiades in Exile Alcibiades managed to fight on three different sides in the same war… So began his rather astonishing political ride.

He aided Sparta in ways that did real damage to Athens. When he wore out his welcome in Sparta, Alcibiades went to the third great power in the area, namely, Persia, which was the traditional enemy of all Greeks alike. There he sought to wield as much influence as he could. In short, Alcibiades managed to fight on three different sides in the same war; even more amazing than that, he eventually succeeded in having himself recalled to Athens, after all that he had done against his city.

Although he did manage to lead the Athenian war effort for a time after his recall and to lead it well, he eventually fell afoul again of Athens and sought refuge in a place called Phrygia. There, some Persian agents, probably acting on a Spartan directive, assassinated Alcibiades in B. The lover then facilitates self-realization in the beloved.

Again, this chapter reminds us that egoism is very far from the ancient configuration of Socrates and, indeed, of Socratic love. Neil Morpeth provides a diachronic survey of the Alcibiades persona, from ancient historical sources to modern dramatic adaptations.

Morpeth queries what it means to be that kind of culturally constructed individual who is part literary device, part philosophical exemplum, part historical personage.

Alcibiades - Wikipedia

In the case of Alcibiades, philosophy and history interact on the stage of the collective psyche, trading in archetypes, individuals, stereotypes, and everything in between, for their always ramifying effects. The essay ferrets out important contextual information, as for example, when Spartan wealth would exceed Athenian wealth, or the political situation of the island city-state, Peparethos.

Possibly the dialogue alludes to Athens' failure to protect the island, its ally, from Alexander, tyrant of Pherae Diodorus The essay calls attention as well to the parallels between the ambitions of the year-old Alcibiades and those of the world-conquering Alexander the Great.

We can now understand the flexibility of Baynham and Tarrant's account of the dialogue's provenance: Yet, by thinking of the dialogue as "late" Plato, one would have to explain its affinities with, e. This collection, then, is aptly named, as the essays indeed discuss Alcibiades and the Socratic lover-educator. InVlastos published delivered the following challenge: The lesson here could well be, "do as I do, not as I say.

If harm and benefit are always and only harm or benefit to the self, then just what is this self? Shouldn't we aim to answer this question first? Two of the essays, those of Tarrant and of Wohl, touch on this important question.

Wohl's paper suggests that the very structure of erotic self-knowledge, wherein the lover comes to see himself in the eyes of the beloved, occludes knowledge of self or other. For late antique authors such as Olympiodorus and Proclus, Socrates represents the intellect, the most divine aspect of the human being.

Socrates, Alcibiades, and Ambition

Very simply, there were those who supported Alcibiades and those who opposed him. The presence of this all-important term for Socratic philosophers, defense or apology, should alert the attentive reader to the seriousness of this account. In this context it is useful to recall that Xenophon identifies Alcibiades as a partisan of democratic Athens, in contrast to the other student of Socrates, Critias, who was a partisan of the oligarchy Mem. The trial of the generals responsible for the Arginousai affair is similar, and it shows the folly of allowing religious zealotry to guide military and political concerns Athens achieved an important naval victory at Arginousai, but the navy is not in great shape after the battle.

This deliberation is the only debate of the Athenian assembly recorded in the Hellenika. While the legality of the case is certainly a legitimate reason to dissent from the extremely democratic assembly, one wonders whether the philosopher convicted of disbelieving in the gods of the city also recognized the folly of disallowing generals to depart, on occasion and when necessity demanded it, from traditional acts of piety.

Regardless, it is clear that Socrates did not favor sentencing to death the generals. Recall, after all, that these generals had just achieved a naval victory. Executing them deprives the city of generals who are capable of achieving such victories, but it also deters other capable military men from pursuing careers in the military.

Or, at least, it deters generals from making daring decisions that might skirt the rules of ordinary propriety or piety, decisions that might often be necessary in military matters.

Alcibiades may or may not have committed an act of gross impiety, but his skills as a military leader are undeniable.

Alcibiades the Untamed Student of Socrates / Dimitris Makris, Greece

It would seem to be senseless to deprive the city of such an excellent commander, unless the gods are involved in human affairs. While it is beyond the scope of the present paper to show that Socrates did not believe in gods who reward the just and punish the wicked in this world, let it suffice to suggest that he did not. While the clearest example is in rhetoric Mem. He also discussed military strategy Mem.

  • 2013.07.13
  • Navigation

This conclusion stands, admittedly, in contrast to the common view that Xenophon is a fairly traditional supporter of traditional conceptions of morality. The widespread view of Xenophon as a simple-minded defender of conventional attitudes blinds us to the places where he speaks with a different, more radical voice. But we should not be surprised to find that the enthusiastic student of Socrates, one of the most radical and unconventional thinkers of ancient Greece, has some radical thoughts of his own The presentation, however, is admittedly muted; one must connect the dots.

Alcibiades in Plato 21Plato presents Socrates and Alcibiades together in four dialogues. Socrates comes on strong, appearing very strange and making all sorts of promises. One suspects that Socrates comes on so strong because he presumes that Alcibiades is a very talented youth, perhaps even capable of becoming a philosopher if he is not corrupted by that great sophist, the many Republic, a-c.

Alcibiades, moreover, does not seem bothered by his ignorance or confusion, a sign of his perfect self-satisfaction and further unsuitability for philosophy Alc.

Alcibiades | Athenian politician and general |

But whatever one makes of this suggestion, Alcibiades Minor confirms that things have soured between Socrates and Alcibiades. Alcibiades is not living up to his promise, at the end of the previous dialogue, to tend to Socrates from this day forth Alc.

alcibiades and socrates relationship

Again Socrates initiates the dialogue, but this time the reason is not to win Alcibiades over as a student. Rather, Socrates seems concerned about Alcibiades, and appears to harbor a suspicion that Alcibiades intends to do something sinister.

Ostensibly, the second Alcibiades concerns how one ought to pray, but Socrates seems above all interested in slowing Alcibiades down. What, after all, would a man as confident as Alcibiades be so dour about, and what would he be so unsure of that he would first consult the gods?


Howland offers a shocking possibility: Alcibiades is contemplating murdering his uncle, Pericles, in an effort to grasp political power for himself. Socrates, no longer the pursuer, expresses a fear that Alcibiades will become quite corrupt, and the dialogue ends with an ill omen of stormy seas ahead for Socrates Alc.

Although Alcibiades comes to the rescue at key points in this dialogue, he is largely absent from the conversation. Indeed, Socrates admits to the unnamed comrade at the outset that he forgot Alcibiades was even present Prt. Socrates even declares to the comrade that Protagoras is more beautiful, because he is wiser, than Alcibiades.