Alcibiades (450BC – 404BC) was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. He played a major role in the second half of the Peloponnesian War, as a strategic advisor, military commander, and politician – changing sides several times during the war. He began his military and political career in Athens, but fled the city for Sparta in the early 410s BC, after his political enemies brought charges of sacrilege against him. In Sparta, he supervised several major campaigns against Athens, to Athens’ great detriment. He then defected to Persia, where he served as an adviser before being reconciled with the ruling powers in Athens, and serving as an Athenian General for several years. He played a crucial role in a string of Athenian victories against Sparta. He favored unconventional tactics, frequently winning cities over by treachery or negotiation. However, he had a habit of making powerful enemies, and was eventually exiled a second time from Athens.
Alcibiades appears as a character in several Socratic dialogues.