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"The certainty in which we must be that no god meddles in our affairs and that, as necessary creatures of Nature, like plants and animals, we are here because it would be impossible for us not to be—, this unshakable certainty, it is clear enough, at one stroke erases the first group of duties, those, I wish to say, toward the divinity to which we erroneously believe ourselves beholden; and with them vanish all religious crimes, all those comprehended under the indefinite names of impiety, sacrilege, blasphemy, atheism, etc., all those, in brief, which Athens so unjustly punished in Alcibiades, and France in the unfortunate Labarre."--"Yet Another Effort, Frenchmen, If You Would Become Republicans" (1795) by Sade

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Alcibiades Cleiniou Scambonides (450404 BC), was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. According to Plutarch, Alcibiades had several famous teachers, including Socrates, and was well trained in the art of rhetoric. He was noted, however, for his unruly behavior, which is mentioned by ancient Greek writers on several occasions. Alcibiades is one of the protagonists of Antonio Rocco's Alcibiades the Schoolboy a reasoned polemic in which a schoolmaster gradually overcomes his handsome pupil's objections to carnal relations.

References in comedy, philosophy, art, and literature

Alcibiades has not been spared by ancient comedy and stories attest to an epic confrontation between Alcibiades and Eupolis resembling that between Aristophanes and Cleon. He also appears as a fictional character in several Socratic dialogues (Symposium, Protagoras, Alcibiades I and II). Plato presents Alcibiades as Socrates' most brilliant student, who would, in time to come, be the ruin of Athens. In his trial, Socrates must rebut the attempt to hold him guilty for the crimes of his former students, including Alcibiades. Hence, he declares in Apology: "I have never been anyone's teacher".

Alcibiades enjoys an important afterlife in art and appears in medieval and Renaissance works, as well as in several significant works of modern literature. He continues to fascinate the modern world, notably as the main character in historical novels. He is also a central character in Paul Levinson's time travel novel The Plot To Save Socrates, in Erik Satie's Socrate, a work for voice and small orchestra (the text is composed of excerpts of Victor Cousin's translation of works by Plato), and in Joel Richards' Nebula award-nominated short story The Gods Abandon Alcibiades. Alcibiades also figures in the satirical Picture This by Joseph Heller.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Alcibiades" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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