Once, as he was getting on past boyhood, he accosted a school-teacher, and asked him for a book of Homer. The teacher replied that he had nothing of Homer's, whereupon Alcibiades fetched him a blow with his fist, and went his way. Another teacher said he had a Homer which he had corrected himself.
‘What!’ said Alcibiades,
‘are you teaching boys to read when you are competent to edit Homer? You should be training young men.’
He once wished to see Pericles, and went to his house. But he was told that Pericles could not see him; he was studying how to render his accounts to the Athenians.
‘Were it not better for him,’ said Alcibiades, as he went away,
‘to study how not to render his accounts to the Athenians?’
While still a stripling, he served as a soldier in the campaign of Potidaea,1
and had Socrates for his tentmate and comrade in action.
A fierce battle took place, wherein both of them distinguished themselves; but when Alcibiades fell wounded, it was Socrates who stood over him and defended him, and with the most conspicuous bravery saved him, armour and all. The prize of valor fell to Socrates, of course, on the justest calculation; but the generals, owing to the high position of Alcibiades, were manifestly anxious to give him the glory of it. Socrates, therefore, wishing to increase his pupil's honorable ambitions, led all the rest in bearing witness to his bravery, and in begging that the crown and the suit of armour be given to him.
On another occasion, in the rout of the Athenians which followed the battle of Delium,2
Alcibiades, on horseback, saw Socrates retreating on foot with a small company, and would not pass him by, but rode by his side and defended him, though the enemy were pressing them hard and slaying many. This, however, was a later incident.