Thucydides’ History, Book 6

Nicias finishes his speech. Alcibiades is introduced.

Chapter 14

“And you, my lord, if you truly believe that it is your concern to care for the city and you wish to be a good citizen, call another vote and put the judgement before the Athenians again, believing that, if you dread a re-counting, you would not be held culpable for any breaking of custom, not with so many witnesses, but for a city <badly> counselled you would become its physician, and that this is fine leadership, he who would aid the fatherland as much as possible, and would, to the extent of his power, harm no one.”

Chapter 15

Thus did Nicias say, but most of the Athenians coming forward advised to go to war and not to dissolve the earlier vote, but some also spoke against it. And Alcibiades son of Kleinios most eagerly urged for the campaign, wanting to set himself against Nicias, since he was, in other matters, at a variance, but especially in civil affairs, and because he mentioned him injuriously, and moreover, he longed to be a general, for he hoped that through his office he would take both Sicily and also Carthage, and at the same time, should he prosper, to give aid to his private affairs, with respect to his wealth and reputation. For being placed in a position of honour by the townsmen, he was subject to longings greater than in accordance with his existing property, for the breeding of horses and other expenditures ; the very thing which later brought down the city of Athenians, in no small part. For most feared of him the extent of both the transgressions toward his own self for his way of life and also the intent behind what he did, for every single thing  in whatever way he came to it, so that his enemies opposed him as desirous of tyranny, and while publicly he was the strongest in managing the affairs of war, privately, each man resented his manner of living, and turning to others, not long afterward they threw down the city. Thus, then, coming forward before the Athenians, he advised the following.

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