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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.


  • [Born in Athens 450 B.C.; of remarkable personal beauty, and powerful and versatile intellect, but fickle and licentious; was the ward of Pericles and the favorite pupil of Socrates; accused of sacrilege, and condemned in his absence, he joined the Sicilians against his countrymen, 413; recalled 411, gained several victories, but was finally defeated and superseded; withdrawing into Asia from the Thirty Tyrants, he was attacked by night, and killed, 404.]
  • I would have the Athenians talk of this, lest they should find something worse to say of me.

  • When told that all Athens rung with the story of his treatment of a dog of uncommon size and beauty, the tail of which he caused to be cut off.—PLUTARCH: Life.
  • Happening to go into a grammar-school, he asked the master for a volume of Homer; and, upon his making answer that he had nothing of Homer’s, gave him a box on the ear, and left him. Another schoolmaster telling him that he had Homer corrected by himself, “How!” said Alcibiades, “do you employ your time in teaching children to read? You, who are able to correct Homer, might seem to be fit to instruct men.”—Ibid.
  • Calling at the house of Pericles, and being told that he was considering how to give in his accounts to the people, and was therefore not at leisure, Alcibiades remarked, “He had better consider how to avoid giving in any account at all.”—Ibid.
  • His answer, when summoned out of Sicily by the Athenians to plead for his life, was, “A criminal is a fool who studies a defence when he might fly for it.”—Apothegms.
  • The misanthropic Timon rejoiced at a later period to see Alcibiades carried in honor from the place of assembly, and said, “Go on, my brave boy, and prosper; for your prosperity will cause the ruin of all this crowd.”—Life of Alcibiades.