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“Since we are two alone:” Profaning the Patrios Nomos in Plato's Menexenus

By Clifford Robinson

It is often overlooked in discussions of the Menexenus that the ἐπιτάφιος λόγος was originally featured as part of what Thucydides called the πάτριος νόμος (2.34), a public ritual in which the Athenians celebrated their war dead not only with a speech but also with games, spectacular burial, lamentation, and honorary inscription of their names (Jacoby, Loraux).

Plato's Protagoras as a Comedy of Pleasure

By James Andrews

There is a great deal of humor in the Protagoras. Some of it is directly inspired by Attic comedy, some of it is not. In order to appreciate the former, we have the excellent study of Andrea Capra, who identifies both the formal characteristics of Attic comedy in the Protagoras as well as the dialogue’s specific echoes of the Clouds. I propose to augment Capra’s analysis by focusing on the role of Prodicus.

Persius 4 & 5: Pedagogy and the failure of philosophy

By Kate Meng Brassel

The presence of Stoic thought in the Satires of Persius has been scrupulously documented. The primacy of ethics for the Roman Stoics, particularly the notions of individual freedom and progress, has been shown, many times, to have provided “themes” to the satirist. The particularity of Persius’ relationship to philosophical discourse, however, has been less well considered. This paper reassesses Persius’ use of philosophical themes in Satires 4 & 5.

Between Hesiod and the Sophists: Prodicus’ Heracles at the Crossroads

By Katherine Lu Hsu

Heracles’ prominence as an admirable figure among the Sophists, Cynics, and Stoics is a surprising turn for a hero famously prone to insanity, rage, and buffoonery. During the fifth century, tragic Heracles’ violence threatens friends and enemies alike; in comedy, his voracity and stupidity are worthy of mockery. Yet in Xenophon’s Mem. 2.1.21-34, Prodicus’ “Choice of Heracles” presents Heracles as the paradigmatic youth at a crossroads who must choose between the figures of Kakia and Aretē to lead him on one or another path of life.

Where is the Good? The Place of Agathon in the Symposium

By Phillip Horky

How can philosophers attain the Good? In this paper, I propose to investigate this question by way of an unusual route: through analysis of the seating arrangements, and re-arrangements, in Plato’s Symposium. It is my contention that a careful investigation of the narrative play involving the seating positions of the speakers in the Symposium presents us with a new account of the means to obtain wisdom from the Good in Plato’s middle dialogues.

Philosophy as a Reinterpretation of Poetry in Plato’s Republic

By Samuel Flores

In this paper, I redefine the pedagogical relationship between philosophy and poetry in Plato’s Republic as one of interdependency rather than one of antagonism and rivalry. Previous scholarship on poetry in the Republic has noted Plato’s adaptation and rewriting of poetry throughout the dialogue. Naddaff, for example, says that “Socrates does not…radically reject the tradition of poetry as paideia. Rather he mobilizes this tradition as tradition while modifying, revising, correcting, and reperforming its central, essential literature” (Naddaff 2002).