I. Presidential Address 2003
- Michael Gagarin, "Telling Stories in Athenian Law"
- J. Marks, "Alternative Odysseys: The Case of Thoas and Odysseus"
This paper explores the different ways in which the relationship between Odysseus and an Aitolian hero, Thoas, is realized in ancient Greek epic. Odysseus paints an unflattering picture of Thoas in the Odyssey, yet the two are allies in the Iliad and in non-Homeric accounts of Odysseus' "post-Odyssey" life; both antagonism and sympathy between them can be discerned in the Ilias parva and the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women. Here it is argued that epic geography offers a partial explanation for the association of Odysseus and Thoas generally, and that their antagonism in the Odyssey alludes to conflicts between canonical and non-canonical accounts of Odysseus' return.
- Svetla Slaveva-Griffin, "Of Gods, Philosophers, and Charioteers: Content and Form in Parmenides' Proem and Plato's Phaedrus"
This article examines the ways in which Parmenides and Plato avail themselves of the literary motif of the charioteer's journey for philosophical discourse. I argue that the Phaedrus' myth of the soul as charioteer exemplifies Plato's literary and philosophic appropriation of the charioteer allegory in Parmenides' proem and of Parmenides' concept of being, showing how the literary study of intertexts can be applied to questions of both content and form in philosophy.
- Lora Holland, "Pas domos erroi: Myth and Plot in Euripides' Medea"
This study explores the significance of Medea's conjugal family for the plot of the Medea. Both Jason and the royal family at Corinth belong to the House of Aeolus; coherent reference to this House is central to the play's mythological imagery. The House's mythography, of which the Chorus shows awareness, involves an inherited curse associated with the Aeolid most closely connected with Corinth, namely, Sisyphus. The outcome of Medea's oath-invoked curse calling for the eradication of Jason's line is thus over-determined.
- Gabriel Danzig, "Apologizing for Socrates: Plato and Xenophon on Socrates' Behavior in Court"
This paper argues that the accounts of Socrates' behavior in court given by both Plato and Xenophon stem from the need these authors felt to respond, in different ways, to the post-trial debate about Socrates. Plato's aim in the Apology was primarily to respond to specific charges of incompetence, arrogance, and failure in court. Central literary and philosophical difficulties in the composition can be explained on this basis, as can characteristic Platonic doctrines elaborated here and in other Socratic dialogues. Xenophon's treatment of Socrates in his Apology can be explained by a similar polemical motive. While Plato acknowledges that Socrates failed in conventional terms, and develops an alternative framework for evaluating success and failure, Xenophon makes the more outrageous claim that Socrates was a success in conventional terms.
- Monica Gale, "Poetry and the Backward Glance in Virgil's Georgics and Aeneid"
This paper explores the implications of parallels between three episodes in Virgil's Georgics and Aeneid, each of which involves the motif of the hero's backward glance. Orpheus in Georgics 4 loses his wife because he looks back too soon; conversely, Aeneas in Aeneid 2 and Nisus in Aeneid 9 look back too late. An examination of parallels and contrasts between the three episodes sheds light on Virgil's exploration of dichotomies between poetry and politics, individual and community, past and future.
- Neil Bernstein, "Ancestors, Status, and Self-Presentation in Statius' Thebaid"
Polynices' shamefaced self-presentations in Thebaid 1, Adrastus' sympathetic response, and Jupiter's eventual punishment of both characters are read as elements of a debate on the evitability of ancestral stigma and the value of lineage in assessing character and status. In arguing that Polynices can establish an identity independent of his kingroup, Adrastus reveals his ignorance of Jupiter's hostility to and the Fury's ultimate control of Polynices. While the failure of Adrastus' arguments contributes to the Thebaid's negative representation of kinship, more constructive relationships between kin and the absence of hostile divinities permit Statius' speakers to validate similar arguments in the Silvae.
- Glenn W. Most, "Violets in Crucibles: Translating, Traducing, Transmuting"