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Growing up in Athens, Alcibiades had many advantages. He was raised in the household of the Athenian statesman PERICLES, and he was the pupil and close friend of the philosopher SOCRATES. , Alcibiades became active in Athenian politics. Eager to expand the power of Athens, Alcibiades succeeded in bringing Athens into an alliance against the city-state of Sparta. , he led campaigns against the Spartans. Then, the following year, Alcibiades organized an expedition against Sicily with the intention of extending Athenian power into the western Mediterranean.

Fields, including fallow ones, were usually plowed three times a year—in spring, summer, and fall. Plowing loosened the soil, controlled weeds, and helped the soil retain moisture. The farmers used hand-held plows fitted with simple iron blades, pulled by oxen or mules. Today, Greeks living in remote areas use plows similar to those used by the ancient Greeks. Because these light plows could only cut shallow furrows in the soil, Greek farmers sometimes had to use pickaxes or hoes to dig deeper furrows before planting crops.

Turning inland, Alexander quickly took control of the interior. While spending the winter at Gordium, the capital of the kingdom of Phrygia, he untied (or possibly just cut) the Gordian knot. This complex knot fastened an ancient royal chariot to a pole. According to legend, the person who loosened the knot would rule Asia. Alexander's success with the Gordian knot enhanced his rapidly growing fame. The following year, Alexander led his army into SYRIA. Before long he came upon the troops of Darius III, the Great King of Persia.

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