Alcibiades - mercurial soldier and charismatic commander without peer on land and sea, a man whom fortune always favoured. Raised as a ward of Pericles, later a protégé of Socrates, and compared to Achilles by the adoring Athenian masses, he was to become the key figure in the Peloponnesian War - the tumultuous 27-year civil war between Athens and Sparta that would devastate Greece in the last quarter of the 5th century BC. At the outset, for all his Spartan upbringing, Alcibiades remained loyal to Athens. But his popularity - and his arrogance - fuelled the bitter resentment of rivals who secured his death warrant on a charge of treason. Encouraged to flee for his life (and showing pragmatism for which he joined the enemy, the Spartans), went on to lead their scarlet-cloaked ranks from one military triumph to the next. What became clear to the opposing states was that whoever had Alcibiades at the head of their army would control Greece.