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Article

S. Halliwell

The engagement of philosophers with poetry was a recurrent and vital feature of the intellectual culture of Graeco-Roman antiquity. By around 380 bce, *Plato (1) could already refer to “a long-standing quarrel between philosophy and poetry” ( Resp. 10.607b). Early Greek philosophy, while closely related to poetry (*Xenophanes, *Parmenides, and *Empedocles wrote in verse), set itself to contest and rival the claims of “wisdom,” sophia, made by and on behalf of poets. Xenophanes, repudiating anthropomorphic religion, cast ethical and theological aspersions on the myths of *Homer and *Hesiod (DK 21 B 11–12); Heraclitus expressed caustic doubts about the idea of poets as possessors of deep understanding (DK 22 B 40, 42, 56–57); Democritus, by contrast, despite his materialist physics, seems to have believed in poetic inspiration (DK B 17–18, 21). Philosophy and poetry could be considered competing sources of knowledge and insight. The stage was set for lasting debates about their relationship.

Article

thymos  

Douglas Cairns

Thymos (or thumos), cognate with Indo-European words meaning “smoke,” is one of a number of terms in Greek which associate psychological activity with air and breath. In the Homeric poems, thymos is one of a family of terms associated with internal psychological process of thought, emotion, volition, and motivation. Though the range of the term’s applications in Homer is wide, that in itself gives us a sense of the unity of cognitive, affective, and desiderative processes in Homeric psychology. No post-Homeric author can rival that range, but something of the richness of the Homeric conception of thymos as an interrelated set of motivations re-emerges in Plato’s conception of the tripartite soul in the Republic and the Phaedrus. Plato’s thymos represents a pared-down model of human agency typified by one central desire or aim in life but also exhibiting whatever further capacities of persons are necessary to enable it to pursue that aim in interaction with the other elements of the personality. As in Homer, the metaphorical agency of Plato’s thymos does not detract from the notion of the individual as the real centre of agency.

Article

Gorgias of Leontini, orator, c. 485–c. 380 bce, was one of the most well-known and influential of the early Greek rhetoricians. He spent much of his life as an itinerant speaker and reputed educator throughout Greece and contributed to the early development of the art of speech. His extant works include two complete speeches, Encomium of Helen and Defense of Palamedes, and ancient authors also summarize, provide fragments from, or report several additional works: On What-Is-Not, a Funeral Speech, a Pythian Speech, an Olympian Speech, a Speech for the People of Elis, a treatise on the “opportune moment” or kairos, and some manuals of rhetoric.Gorgias of Leontini, orator, c.485–c. 380bce, became one of the most well-known and influential figures of the early, 5th-century generation of thinkers credited with developing and marketing skills, principles, and ideas related to the burgeoning art of speech. Nothing secure is recorded about the events of his early life, although he must have achieved some degree of eminence and respect in .

Article

Paul Allen Miller

Postmodernism is an intellectual movement that eschews grand narratives in favour of the fragmentary and the historically contingent. As such, it counterposes itself to the great synthetic theories that characterized the “modernism” of the first half of the twentieth century. Postmodernism does not use Classics as a way to found an identity, a tradition, or a history, but as a way to think differently about who we are, where we come from, and what we can be. The postmoderns use ancient texts to rethink the self and its limits, as a form of profound historicization of the subject and its modes of formation. Many of the most important postmodern thinkers have written important commentaries on ancient texts. These thinkers include figures such as Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Hélène Cixous, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, and Sarah Kofman. The commentaries that they produced have had a clear impact on recent classical scholarship, with special relevance to work on ancient philosophy and tragedy.

Article

Richard Hunter

Greek discussion of unified organic form, as both a biological principle and a literary virtue, has been very influential in Western criticism. What survives before late antiquity of that Greek tradition as applied to literature is, however, relatively sparse; crucial above all are the Homeric poems and ancient discussion of them, together with some passages of Plato and Aristotle. The fact that the bulk of later surviving criticism derives from rhetorical teaching, heavily indebted to the Isocratean tradition, means that much greater prominence is given to the closely related ideas of variety (poikilia) and the avoidance of monotony over the course of a long work, and to the arrangement and ordering (taxis) of narrative than to “unity”; there is no standard term for “unity” in Greek criticism.Homer announces the subject of the Iliad as the wrath of Achilles, which wrought terrible destruction upon the Greeks, but, however dominant the story of the wrath and its consequences, the scope of the poem is clearly not limited to that subject. Reflection upon the Iliad stands at the beginning and the heart of ancient discussion of unity, and it is the Iliad that shows why “unity” and “variety” are entirely compatible in ancient criticism.

Article

Carolina López-Ruiz

Early Greek cosmogonies and theogonies are mainly preserved in the form of hexametric poetry, rarely in systematic accounts, such as Hesiod’s, but more often within texts of broader mythical scope, as in Homer’s Iliad and the Homeric Hymns. The differing assumptions about the origins of and relations among the gods in these poems demonstrate the wide variety of cosmogonic traditions available in the Greek world and the poetic freedom to express or emphasize aspects of them. This is also evident in other sources for Greek theogony/cosmogony, such as the longer of the Homeric Hymns, which focus on specific gods, sometimes including their birth stories and framing their familial relations with other gods and with humans. The strand known as “Orphic” cosmogony or theogony runs parallel to the mainstream epic tradition (not without intersections), and underscores the connection between cosmogonic ideas and spiritual and philosophical movements. These alternative cosmogonies also served as a narrative and theological framework for mystery cults, which revolved around the figures of Demeter, Persephone, and Dionysus (e.

Article

Edward Harris

Homicide was considered the most important crime in Athenian law because the killer attempted to usurp the state’s monopoly of legitimate violence. To express the special nature of homicide, the laws of Athens created special courts and procedures. The person accused of murder was considered polluted and was banned from agora and shrines. There were four basic categories of homicide: intentional homicide tried at the Areopagus, involuntary homicide and planning a homicide tried at the Palladion, and just homicide according to the laws tried at the Delphinium. Similar rules and procedures were found in other Greek communities. In the Laws, Plato proposed certain reforms for Athenian homicide law.According to Demosthenes (20.157–158), the most important goal of the Athenian legal system was to prevent men from killing one another. Draco, the author of most of the laws on homicide, therefore made the act of killing an object of fear and terror. Because homicide was the most serious offense, the laws, oaths, sacrifices, proclamations and procedures were very different from those for other offenses; it was so heinous that it was considered a crime against both gods and men (.

Article

Daniela Manetti

An anonymous work, preserved in a manuscript of the 1st century ce from Egypt, about several medical issues (definition of basic concepts, medical historiography on the causes of disease, physiology of digestion), Anonymus Londiniensis represents a rare example of an autograph from antiquity. An important source for peripatetic doxography and the reception of Hellenistic medicine.The papyrus P. Lit. Lond. 165, now held in the British Library as inv. 137 (P. Brit. Libr. inv. 137), was published first in 1893 by Hermann Diels, who learned of it through Fridericus G. Kenyon’s first notice.1 Diels set immediately to work, with the help of Kenyon, and produced the edition after a very short time. The papyrus, as reconstructed by Kenyon (with some later additions in 1901), is a roll around 3.5 metres long. Thirty-nine columns, almost complete, are preserved: one or two columns are missing at the beginning, as is at least one between columns IX and X. The text breaks off abruptly halfway down col. XXXIX. The handwriting suggests a date around the later part of the 1st century .