He once gave Hipponicus a blow with his fist—Hipponicus, the father of Callias, a man of great reputation and influence owing to his wealth and family—not that he had any quarrel with him, or was a prey to anger, but simply for the joke of the thing, on a wager with some companions. The wanton deed was soon noised about the city, and everybody was indignant, as was natural. Early the next morning Alcibiades went to the house of Hipponicus, knocked at his door, and on being shown into his presence, laid off the cloak he wore and bade Hipponicus scourge and chastise him as he would.
But Hipponicus put away his wrath and forgave him, and afterwards gave him his daughter Hipparete to wife.
Some say, however, that it was not Hipponicus, but Callias, his son, who gave Hipparete to Alcibiades, with a dowry of ten talents; and that afterwards, when she became a mother, Alcibiades exacted another ten talents besides, on the plea that this was the agreement, should children be born. And Callias was so afraid of the scheming of Alcibiades to get his wealth, that he made public proffer to the people of his property and house in case it should befall him to die without lineal heirs.
Hipparete was a decorous and affectionate wife, but being distressed because her husband would consort with courtesans, native and foreign, she left his house and went to live with her brother. Alcibiades did not mind this, but continued his wanton ways, and so she had to put in her plea for divorce to the magistrate, and that not by proxy, but in her own person.
On her appearing publicly to do this, as the law required, Alcibiades came up and seized her and carried her off home with him through the market place, no man daring to oppose him or take her from him. She lived with him, moreover, until her death, but she died shortly after this, when Alcibiades was on a voyage to Ephesus.
Such violence as this was not thought lawless or cruel at all. Indeed, the law prescribes that the wife who would separate from her husband shall go to court in person, to this very end, it would seem, that the husband may have a chance to meet and gain possession of her.