It is not the aim of this book to add to the extensive literature on Alcibiades' life and career. Instead the author focuses on the explosive mix of fear and fascination excited by Alcibiades in his contemporaries and in particular in key literary texts: Thucydides, the mysterious pseudo-Andocides 4, the encomium of Isocrates 16, the final scene of Plato's Symposium. The book is about the acute tension between the classical city and the individual of superlative power, status, and ambition. It looks at the way Alcibiades is approximated to archetypes of the individual 'outside' the city: the tyrant, the athletic victor, the ostracism victim, the scapegoat, the barbarian. Whereas modern discussions of ancient Athens and Athenian civic texts stress collective ideology, this study focuses on the opposing strand in tension with this dominant ideology: the fascination with the powerful individual. The book is thus at once a contribution to the study of civic ideology, and also to that of the individual and of the role of the individual in classical texts - rhetoric, the historiography of Thucydides, the Platonic dialogue.
The book also considers the development of the post-classical depiction of Alcibiades, concluding with a study of Plutarch's reaction both to this tradition and to the classical texts.
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(224mm x 144mm x 22mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Author Biography - David Gribble
David Gribble was Senior Scholar at Merton College, Oxford (1994); no academic affiliation at present