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Cornelius Nepos

imperator fuit summus et mari et terra—disertus, ut in primis dicendo valeret, quod tanta erat commendatio oris atque orationis, ut nemo ei posset1 3resistere; dives; cum tempus posceret, laboriosus, patiens2; liberalis, splendidus non minus in vita quam victu; affabilis, blandus, temporibus callidissime 4serviens: idem, simul ac se remiserat neque causa suberat qua re animi laborem perferret, luxuriosus, dissolutus, libidinosus, intemperans reperiebatur, ut omnes admirarentur in uno homine tantam esse dissimilitudinem tamque diversam naturam.

2. Educatus est in domo Pericli—privignus enim eius fuisse dicitur—eruditus a Socrate. Socerum habuit Hipponicum, omnium Graeca lingua loquentium3 ditissimum; ut, si ipse fingere vellet, neque plura bona eminisci4 neque maiora posset consequi, 2quam vel natura vel fortuna tribuerat. Ineunte adulescentia amatus est a multis amore Graecorum, in iis Socrate, de quo mentionem facit Plato in Symposio. Namque eum induxit commemorantem se pernoctasse cum Socrate neque aliter ab eo 3surrexisse ac filius a parente debuerit. Posteaquam robustior est factus, non minus multos amavit, in quorum amore, quoad licitum est odiosa,5 multa

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VII. Alcibiades

ability (for he was a great commander both on land and sea); in eloquence he was numbered among the best orators, since his delivery and his style were so admirable that no one could resist him. He was rich; energetic too, when occasion demanded, and capable of endurance; generous, magnificent not only in public, but in private, life; he was agreeable, gracious, able to adapt himself with the greatest tact to circumstances: but yet, so soon as he relaxed his efforts and there was nothing that called for mental exertion, his extravagance, his indifference, his licentiousness and his lack of self-control were so evident, that all men marvelled that one man could have so varied and contradictory a character.

2. He was brought up in the home of Pericles (for he is said to have been his step-son1). his teacher was Socrates. His father-in-law was Hipponicus, the richest man of all Greek-speaking lands. In fact, if he himself had tried to determine the conditions of his life, he could not have imagined more blessings, or acquired greater advantages, than either Nature or Fortune had bestowed upon him. In early youth he was beloved by many, after the Greek fashion, including Socrates, as Plato mentions in his Banquet. For Plato represented him as saying that he had spent the night with Socrates, and had left his bed as a son ought to leave that of his father. When he grew older, he had an equally great number of love affairs, in which he showed great elegance and wit, so far as that was possible in hateful practices;2 I

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.cornelius_nepos-book_great_generals_foreign_nations_alcibiades.1929