Alcibiades Leadership During The Peloponnesian War

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The Peloponnesian War was fought from 431-404 BCE in ancient Greece by the two most powerful city-states, Athens and Sparta. Military commander and politician, Alcibiades, son of Clinias, was well-born and wealthy. He was, on one hand, the most handsome, a great orator, patient, hard-working, skilled, and generous man; however, he was lustful, of bad moral character, and easily angered (Nepos, Alcibiades, (Albert Fleckeisen, 1886), chapter 1). During the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades led the Athenians, but once he was convicted of defacing the Hermae, he fled to Sparta out of fear of death, betraying Athens. Once at Sparta, he helped the Spartans lead in the war; however, eventually, the Spartans feared that Alcibiades would soon betray them …show more content…

As a leader, one without loyalty to those whom he is leading is not a good leader because people may never know if the leader’s actions are actually beneficial to them or betrayal. When working with King Darius of Persia, he was neither loyal to him nor Tissaphernes. They thought that Alcibiades had good intentions of helping Persia become more powerful. Instead, he used their alliance for his own benefit in returning to Athens (Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, (Clarendon Press, 1881), Book VIII, chapter 47). Some may say that although Alcibiades betrayed Athens by working with Sparta and Persia, his love for his mother country eventually brought him back to Athens. His return is evidence that he does have loyalty toward Athens. Additionally, he used his alliance with Darius and Tissaphernes to help him return from exile, showing that Athens was always in his heart. He tried to prevent Darius from destroying Athens in order to return to “his countrymen” (Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, Book VIII, chapter 47). However, the return needs to be put into context. Once he returned to Athens, Sparta conquered Athens, winning the war, and Alcibiades yet again tried to betray Athens to avoid death, explaining that he never fully thought of the Athenians as “his countrymen” or else he would have been more loyal towards them. In the end, Alcibiades’ love for Athens did not last when his life was …show more content…

Alcibiades was able to charm the Athenian assembly into allowing him to go on an expedition to Sicily by stating “I consider that I am worthy. Those doings of mine for which I am SO much cried out against are an honour to myself and to my ancestors, and a solid advantage to my country” (Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, Book VI, chapter 16). In this statement, he presented himself as confident in himself as worthy. In doing so, he shows a trait that constitutes a good leader: confidence. Since Alcibiades is confident in himself and what he has to say, this gets others to listen to him, and his charisma often gets them to fulfill his wishes. Moreover, when “Alcibiades began to desire to see his native country again, or rather to show his fellow-citizens a person who had gained so many victories for them,” he was trying to be loyal to his people by showing them the best side of him, per se (Plutarch, Alcibiades). However, he was actually trying to show off to the Athenians how victorious he was in order to provoke regret in their accusation of him defacing the Hermae. Although charisma and confidence help a leader presents himself as powerful and a figure of authority, he has too much confidence to the point of arrogance. Humility is also a trait a good leader should possess, and Alcibiades has none. By being humble, a leader can create a lovable persona. Great leaders admit when they are wrong and take

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