Alcibiades, son of Cleinias, from the deme of Scambonidae, was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. He was the last famed descendant of his parents 'aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, who had fallen from favour after the Peloponnesian War. He played an significant part in the second half of the war as a diplomatic advisor, military officer, and dictator. During the Peloponnesian War Alcibiades had changed its political allegiance several times. In the early 410s BC he advocated robust foreign policies in his native Athens and was a leading advocate of the Sicilian Invasion but he fled to Sparta after his political opponents laid charges of sacrilege against him. He served in Sparta as a political counsellor, organising or coordinating a great many big actions against Athens. Nevertheless, in Sparta too, Alcibiades soon made close friends, and felt compelled to rebel against Persia. There he served as an adviser to the satrap of the Tissaphernes until his military Athenian allies took his memories. He then spent a few years as an Athenian general, but his opponents eventually tried to oust him a second time. Scholars have indicated that had the Sicilian expedition been under Alcibiades rather than Nicias 'command, the expedition would not have met its final catastrophic fate. Alcibiades played a key role in the undoing of Athens during the years during which he commanded Sparta; Decelea's overthrow and the revolts of other important Athenian subjects happened either at his behest or under his influence. Upon returning to his home town, however, he played a central role in a series of Athenian victories that eventually led Sparta to make peace with Athens. He favoured unorthodox tactics, and primarily won over cities by treachery or coercion rather than by attack. Alcibiades 'military and diplomatic abilities also proved valuable to whichever state his loyalty still held, but his propensity to attract powerful enemies ensured that he never stuck in one place for a long time; and by the end of the war he had begun to rekindle in the early 410's, his days of diplomatic prominence were a bygone memory. Since signing the Nicias Agreement, Alcibiades first rose to notoriety when he began advocating radical Athenian politics. The settlement, an uneasy truce signed halfway through the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens, came at the culmination of seven years of conflict during which neither of the two sides had gained a decisive advantage. Historians Arnold W. Gomme and Raphael Sealey argue that, as Thucydides writes, Alcibiades was irritated by the Spartans negotiating the peace for Nicias and Laches, ignoring him because of his youth. Disputes over understanding of the treaties forced the Spartans to send formally authorised delegates to Athens to resolve all matters pending. Initially these delegates were well received by the Athenians, but Alcibiades met secretly with them before they spoke to the ecclesia and warned them that the council was haughty and with high ambitions. He encouraged them to give up their political power to represent Sparta, and instead to encourage him to assist them through his position in Athenian politics. The delegates accepted and were isolated from Nicias, inspired by Alcibiades, who truly wished to reach an agreement with the Spartans. During the next day's meeting, Alcibiades asked them what powers Sparta had given them to negotiate and, as agreed, they replied that they had not come with full and fair arms. It was in complete contrast to what they had said the day before and Alcibiades took advantage of this moment to condemn their actions, cast doubt on their goals and damage their prestige. This strategy boosted Alcibiades 'reputation and thereby embarrassed Nicias, and subsequently Alcibiades was appointed chancellor.

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