Enviably well-connected, strikingly handsome, immensely rich, intensely charismatic, unashamedly louche, and, like the Homeric hero Achilles, motivated by the ambition ‘always to be best and to surpass all others.’ ” Is it any wonder that Alcibiades made so many enemies? Author David Stuttard’s description in his newest book, Nemesis: Alcibiades and the Fall of Athens, captures perfectly the allure of the Athenian general, a chameleonic character who, for all his qualities, will always be remembered as one of the slipperiest statesmen in history.1

Born around 450 B.C., Alcibiades had the mixed fortune of losing his...

 

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