|The Story of the Greeks|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Greece, made up principally of stories about persons, giving at the same time a clear idea of the most important events in the ancient world and calculated to enforce the lessons of perseverance, courage, patriotism, and virtue that are taught by the noble lives described. Beginning with the legends of Jason, Theseus, and events surrounding the Trojan War, the narrative moves on to present the contrasting city-states of Sparta and Athens, the war against Persia, their conflicts with each other, the feats of Alexander the Great, and annexation by Rome. Ages 10-14 |
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
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
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.
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