Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the Greeks - Helene Guerber




Death of Alcibiades

Afraid to return to his native city, where he knew the people would blame him for their sufferings, Alcibiades fled. After roaming about for some time, he took refuge in a castle which he had built on the Chersonesus.

From the height upon which the castle stood, Alcibiades could overlook the sea on both sides; and he watched the Spartan and Athenian fleets, which, unknown to each other, had come to anchor very near him. He soon discovered that the Spartans had become aware of the presence of the Athenians, and were preparing to surprise them.

He therefore left his castle, and, at the risk of his life, went down to warn the Athenians of the coming danger. They, however, treated his warning with scorn, and bade him return to his castle, and remember that he no longer had any right to interfere in their affairs.

From the top of his promontory, Alcibiades saw the complete destruction of the Athenian fleet. Only a few men managed to escape to his castle for shelter; while a single ship sailed in haste to Athens, to report the defeat, and warn the people of the coming danger.

A few days later the victorious Spartans army marched unchallenged into Athens, for there were now no fighting men left to oppose them. The Spartans said that Athens must now obey them in all things; and, to humiliate the people, they tore down the Long Walls to the sound of joyful music on the anniversary of the glorious victory of Salamis.

Thus ended the Peloponnesian War, which, as you have seen, began shortly before the death of Pericles. From this time on the fame of Athens was due mostly to her literature and art.

By order of the Spartans, Solon's laws were set aside, and thirty men were chosen to govern the city. These rulers proved so stern and cruel, that they were soon known as the Thirty Tyrants, and were hated by every one.

The Athenians suffered so sorely under the government which the Spartans had thus forced upon them, that they soon began to long for the return of Alcibiades, who, whatever his faults, was always generous.

When the Thirty Tyrants and the Spartans learned of this feeling, they were afraid that the Athenians would summon Alcibiades, so they bribed the Persian governor to put him to death.

A party of murderers went to his house at night, and set it afire. Alcibiades, waking up suddenly, tried to escape with his household; but no sooner had he reached the door than he found himself surrounded by enemies.

Alcibiades quickly wrapped his cloak around his left arm to serve as a shield, and, seizing his sword in his right hand, rushed manfully out upon his foes. The Persians, frightened at his approach, fled in haste; but they came to a stop at a safe distance, and flung so many stones and spears at him that he soon fell dead from the blows.

His body was left where it had fallen, and was found by his wife, who loved him dearly in spite of all his faults. She tenderly wrapped it up in her own mantle, and had it buried not far from where it lay.

Thus ended the life of the brilliant Alcibiades, who died at the age of forty, far away from his native land, and from the people whose idol he had once been, but whom he had ruined by his vanity.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Inhabitants of Greece
The Deluge of Ogyges
Founding of Important Cities
Story of Deucalion
Daedalus and Icarus
The Adventures of Jason
Theseus Visits the Labyrinth
The Terrible Prophecy
The Sphinx's Riddle
Death of Oedipus
The Brothers' Quarrel
The Taking of Thebes
The Childhood of Paris
Muster of the Troops
Sacrifice of Iphigenia
The Wrath of Achilles
Death of Hector and Achilles
The Burning of Troy
Heroic Death of Codrus
The Blind Poet
The Rise of Sparta
The Spartan Training
The Brave Spartan Boy
Public Tables in Sparta
Laws of Lycurgus
The Messenian War
The Music of Tyrtaeus
Aristomenes' Escape
The Olympic Games
Milo of Croton
The Jealous Athlete
The Girls' Games
The Bloody Laws of Draco
The Laws of Solon
The First Plays
The Tyrant Pisistratus
The Tyrant's Insult
Death of the Conspirators
Hippias Driven out of Athens
The Great King
Hippias Visits Darius
Destruction of the Persian Host
Advance of the Second Host
The Battle of Marathon
Miltiades' Disgrace
Aristides the Just
Two Noble Spartan Youths
The Great Army
Preparations for Defense
Leonidas at Thermopylae
Death of Leonidas
The Burning of Athens
Battles of Salamis and Plataea
The Rebuilding of Athens
Death of Pausanias
Cimon Improves Athens
The Earthquake
The Age of Pericles
Teachings of Anaxagoras
Peloponnesian War Begins
Death of Pericles
The Philosopher Socrates
Socrates' Favorite Pupil
Youth of Alcibiades
Greek Colonies in Italy
Alcibiades in Disgrace
Death of Alcibiades
Overthrow of Thirty Tyrants
Accusation of Socrates
Death of Socrates
The Defeat of Cyrus
Retreat of the Ten Thousand
Agesilaus in Asia
A Strange Interview
The Peace of Antalcidas
The Theban Friends
Thebes Free Once More
The Battle of Leuctra
Death of Pelopidas
The Battle of Mantinea
The Tyrant of Syracuse
Damon and Pythias
The Sword of Damocles
Dion and Dionysius
Civil War in Syracuse
Death of Dion
Philip of Macedon
Philip Begins His Conquests
The Orator Demosthenes
Philip Masters Greece
Birth of Alexander
The Steed Bucephalus
Alexander as King
Alexander and Diogenes
Alexander's Beginning
The Gordian Knot
Alexander's Royal Captives
Alexander at Jerusalem
The African Desert
Death of Darius
Defeat of Porus
Return to Babylon
Death of Alexander
Division of the Realm
Death of Demosthenes
Last of the Athenians
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Battle of Ipsus
Demetrius and the Athenians
The Achaean League
Division in Sparta
Death of Agis
War of the Two Leagues
The Last of the Greeks
Greece a Roman Province