Mutilation of the Herms

Sat Jun 20 11:55:20 2009
Alcibiades may have been innocent of the mutilation of the herms in 415 BCE (Thucydides, 6.27), but he certainly has the character that encourages such stories and makes them believable. He is prone to tricks and temper tantrums and seems happy to resort to just about anything to have his way. In this particular case I don’t think he is responsible. Plutarch, who has access to sources other than Thucydides but does not name them, describes the situation well:

“The truth is, his accusers alleged nothing that was certain or solid against him. One of them, being asked how he knew the men who defaced the images, replied that he saw them by the light of the moon, made a palpable misstatement, for it was a new moon when the act was committed. This made all men of understanding cry out upon the thing; but the people were as eager as ever to receive further accusations.”

 Plutarch, Alcibiades

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~ by severalfourmany on June 20, 2009.

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