Alcibiades, the brilliant but erratic and unprincipled Athenian soldier and statesman, was born about 450 B.C. His father, Cleinias, claimed to be the descendant of Ajax, and his mother sprang from the family of the Alcmaeonidae. Having lost his father at the battle of Coronea, he was educated by his kinsman, Pericles; but his wealth and personal beauty, combined with the influence of the Sophists, aggravated the natural defects of his character. At Potidaea, Delium, and elsewhere, he gave proof of dauntless courage. Socrates, however, whose life he saved in the latter of these actions, failed to exercise any permanent control over his habits. His success in the national games, his lavish expenditure on public services, and his skill in dealing with his fellow men, won for him immense popularity. His first act as a politician was to bring about an alliance between Athens, Argos, and Mantinea (420 B.C.). His next venture was the disastrous Sicilian expedition, of which he was appointed joint commander with Nicias and Lamachus. From this he was early recalled (415 B.C.), to answer a charge of being concerned in that mysterious offence, "the mutilation of the Hermae." Rather than face his accusers he escaped to Sparta, betrayed the plans of the Athenians, helped to organise the force which Gylippus led into Sicily, and planned the invasion of Attica. He then went over to Asia Minor, and induced many Athenian colonies to revolt. The Spartans, mistrusting him, decreed his death, upon which he sought refuge with Tissaphernes, and induced the Athenians to believe that he could command the aid of the satrap in their struggle against the Lacedaemonians. Peisander negotiated his return, and he joined the force under Thrasybulus, off Samos, as a general. Several victories were gained, and he came back to Athens in triumph (407 B.C.). He soon after failed at Andros and Notium, lost his prestige, and had to fly to the Thracian Chersonnese. When Sparta, at the battle of AEgospotami, gained the supremacy of Greece, he found shelter at the court of Pharnabazus, in Phrygia, and was there slain (404 B.C.) in a raid upon his house, the reason for which has never been made clear.