Socrates and Alcibiades

Socrates and Alcibiades

David Johnson









Socrates and Alcibiades: Four Texts gathers together translations our four most important sources for the relationship between Socrates and the most controversial man of his day, the gifted and scandalous Alcibiades. In addition to Alcibiades’ famous speech from Plato’s Symposium, this text includes two dialogues, the Alcibiades I and Alcibiades II, attributed to Plato in antiquity but unjustly neglected today, and the complete fragments of the dialogue Alcibiades by Plato’s contemporary, Aeschines of Sphettus. These works are essential reading for anyone interested in Socrates’ improbable love affair with Athens’ most desirable youth, his attempt to woo Alcibiades from his ultimately disastrous worldly ambitions to the philosophical life, and the reasons for Socrates’ failure, which played a large role in his conviction by an Athenian court on charges of impiety and corrupting the youth.

This text includes selections from Plato’s Symposium, Alcibiades I, and Alcibiades II, providing a rich discussion of how Athens’ greatest philosopher loved and tried to teach her most ambitious youth and why Athens turned on both of them. This text explores the fragmentary historical relationship between these two men along with the discussion of Socrates’ alleged offense of corrupting the youth of Athens, his impiety, and his sentence of death for those offenses.

David Johnson is Assistant Professor at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where he teaches in the Classics Section of the Foreign Languages Department. He has published articles on Plato's Alcibiades I and Xenophon's depiction of Socrates.