"The Daimon"  
Worlds That Weren't Cover.jpg
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Worlds That Weren't
Collected Atlantis and Other Places
Genre(s) Alternate History
Publication date 2002

"The Daimon" is an alternate history short story by Harry Turtledove. It was published in Worlds That Weren't in 2002 and reprinted in Atlantis and Other Places in 2010.

The story's point of departure focuses on Sokrates' decision to join Alkibiades' expedition against Syracuse. When Alkibiades is recalled by Athens, he chooses to stay and take Syracuse after seeking Sokrates' advice. The expedition then moves against Sparta, defeating it and winning the Peloponnesian War. When Alkibiades and his men return to Athens, the city government refuses to allow them entry. With his men's support, Alkibiades takes the city, and becomes a dictator. He quickly silences his enemies, including Sokrates, and prepares a new war against Persia.

Literary analysis[]

Aklibiades' rise to power in "The Daimon" recalls Julius Caesar's rise to the dictatorship of Rome at certain points.

At the conclusion of the story, Alkibiades is gathering a grand alliance of Greek states, with the aim of conquering the entire Persian Empire, burning down its capital Persepolis, and reaching all the way to India - all of which are things which Alexander the Great did in actual history.

Sokrates in not known to have ever written down his own thoughts and ideas, but expressed them by word of mouth. He is mainly known to posterity through the writings of his pupil Plato. With Aristokles/Plato killed as a boy before having embarked on his own philosophical career, Sokrates' philosophical ideas would have likely died with him. He would be only dimly remembered, and Western philosophy would develop differently.