completely certain; but it has been argued plausibly enough from the words of Plutarch and the other references to him that his sympathies were with Nicias, who may well have tried to use him as a shield when threatened with ostracism. Phaeax himself would thus be exposed to the danger of exile; but this would be averted by the coalition effected by Alcibiades.
Clearly Phaeax bears a strong resemblance to the speaker who delivers the present attack upon Alcibiades; and there is evidence that the ancients themselves were struck by it. Plutarch at least appears to have held that the In Alcibiadem was the work of Phaeax, if we are to accept Xylander’s correction of the words λόγος τις κατ᾿ Ἀλκιβιάδου καὶ Φαίακος γεγραμμένος in the Alcibiades to ὑπὸ Φ. γεγραμμένος; and some such correction is certainly necessary. But in spite of the fact that the speaker in the In Alcibiadem and Phaeax had both represented Athens in Sicily, had both been on trial for their lives, and were both involved in the political struggle between Nicias and Alcibiades in 417, we cannot go so far as to maintain that we have here a speech written and delivered by Phaeax in that year. In the first place, as we have seen, it is highly improbable that the speech was ever delivered; in the second, the reference in § 22 to the capture of Melos proves that it must have been written after 416. The most likely explanation is that it is a literary exercise, written long enough after the final disappearance of ostracism for the author to be uncertain of the procedure followed at an ὀστρακοφορία, but written in the character of Phaeax. Blass would assign it on grounds of style to the early fourth century, when
literary forgeries of this kind were common enough, if we are to believe Isocrates. As parallels we have the two spurious speeches included in our mss. of Lysias, which also belong to the first ten years of the fourth century and which are also concerned with Alcibiades.