The Hiero is an account in Socratic conversational form of a meeting between Simonides the poet and Hiero the tyrant of Syracuse; it was written by Xenophon of Athens in the fourth century b.c., but is set in the fifth, when the historical Simonides and Hiero lived and met. The subject they are portrayed discussing is the relative happiness of the tyrant and private individual. Plato also makes this a topic of discussion in his Republic. However, whereas Plato writes (...) a regular Socratic dialogue, Xenophon does not, for though he represents his characters using Socratic conversation, Socrates himself does not appear; the characteros of the Hiero are Simonides and Hiero, poet and tyrant. This is the problem of the Hiero. It requires explanation. The action of the Hiero is initiated by Simonides and begins in the following way: Simonides the poet once came to the court of Hiero the tyrant. When they were both at leisure, Simonides said, ‘Would you be willing to tell me, Hiero, something you are likely to know better than I?’ And Hiero said, ‘What is it that I should know better than you, who are such a wise man?’ He replied, ‘I know that you were once a private individual and are now a tyrant. Since you have experienced both conditions, you are likely to know better than I how tyrannical life differs from private life in respect of men's pleasures and griefs’ . The identification of Simonides as a wise man who nevertheless seeks wisdom from others establishes his Socratic nature from the start. (shrink)
The Constitution of the Athenians ascribed to Xenophon the orator.--The Politeia of the Spartans by Xenophon.--The Boeotian Constitution from the Oxyrhynchus historian.--The Constitution of Athens by Aristotle.
The use of dialogue in Xenophon's Hellenica is a phenomenon that needs explanation. Among previous historians, Herodotus had used it frequently but Thucydides hardly at all. In Xenophon's own time, Ctesias had used it but not the author of the Hellenica Oxyrhynchia nor Ephorus to any great extent, as far as we can tell. Theopompus had plagiarized one of the Hellenica dialogues as well as adding others of his own. Generally, dialogue occurred less frequently in history writing than (...) the set speech. Yet there have been no serious studies of dialogue in the Hellenica, and where opinions are expressed they often vary. Sordi considered that the purpose of dialogue was decorative and agreed with the estimates of ancient critics about the liveliness of the conversations. Breitenbach also thought they had literary merit but suggested that their purpose was moral and didactic. Henry agreed that their purpose was didactic but thought them flat and lifeless and lacking in literary merit. Bruce thought their purpose was to illustrate personality. These differences of opinion should be settled. Moreover, Sordi's view that the content, style and purpose of dialogue is quite different from that of the set speech, and that this reflects a difference of genre within the Hellenica, dialogue being typical of memoir and the set speech of ‘serious’ history, cannot go unchallenged. Herodotus used dialogue in what was clearly not memoir. Further, there has been no serious attempt to place dialogue in the Hellenica in the tradition of dialogue writing in history or to examine its relationship to dramatic dialogue or the philosophical dialogue. This needs to be attempted. Such are the aims of this paper. (shrink)
The death of Socrates gave birth to an industry of biographical literature which often took the form of a defence or prosecution , sometimes purporting to be the actual defence or prosecution conducted at his trial. Plato and Xenophon wrote works in his defence. Among his critics, one Polycrates had a certain notoriety. Lysias, Theodectes and Demetrius of Phalerum, orators and rhetoricians like Polycrates, were credited with further works of apology. There were doubtless many others. The aim of this (...) paper is to show that Xenophon wrote his Defence in the light of the rhetorical theory that required that a speaker utter words and thoughts appropriate πρεποντα to his character. (shrink)
Le Socrate de Xénophon et la démocratie présente une interprétation nuancée du témoignage de Xénophon sur l’attitude de Socrate à l’endroit de la démocratie athénienne. Cette étude conteste les interprétations qui ont été trop restrictives dans le choix des témoignages et trop négatives dans leurs conclusions. Elle tient compte, d’une part, des différents paramètres qui permettent de définir la démocratie ; d’autre part, des réalités de la démocratie athénienne. Les principaux textes pertinents proviennent des Mémorables. Nous traitons de la nature (...) de cet ouvrage et de la façon dont il expose l’attitude de Socrate à l’endroit des lois et des institutions du régime démocratique, notamment l’assemblée et le tirage au sort. Cette étude présente enfin une interprétation plus nuancée de la propre attitude de Xénophon à l’endroit de la démocratie, attitude qui a elle-même influé sur la façon dont on a, par le passé, évalué l’attitude de son Socrate.Xenophon’s Socrates and Democracy offers a balanced interpretation of Xenophon’s evidence for Socrates’ attitude to the Athenian democracy, arguing against interpretations that have been too selective in their evidence and too negative in their conclusions. It takes due account of the various parameters that define democracy and the realities of Athenian democracy. The main evidence is from Memorabilia. There is discussion of nature of this work, and then of how it expresses Socrates’ attitude to the laws of the democracy and other processes such as sortition and the assembly. The paper also offers a more balanced interpretation of Xenophon’s own attitude to democracy, which has influenced past assessments of the attitude of his Socrates. (shrink)
The dialogue Xenophon stages at Cyropaedia 3.1.14-31 constitutes a sophisticated theoretical treatment of Greek foreign-policy motivations and methods, and offers an implicit rebuttal to Thucydides¿ realist theses about foreign relations. Comparison of this passage to the historians and Attic orators suggests that Xenophon was attempting to systematize conventional Greek conceptions: the resulting theoretical system, in which hybris is regarded as the main obstacle to interstate quiet, and control of other states depends not only upon fear but upon superior (...) excellence and the management of reciprocity, is likely to approach closer than Thucydides¿ theses to mainstream classical Greek thinking about foreign relations. (shrink)
Xenophon of Athens was a pupil of Socrates and a philosopher in his own right. He wrote two of the texts included in this volume, the Hiero and the Constitution of the Spartans. The third, the Constitution of the Athenians, is found under Xenophon's name alongside the other two in the manuscripts. The works represent three distinct types of government, but there are common features throughout. This volume presents an introduction discussing Xenophon's views on government in the (...) context of his general political thought, drawing particularly on his Socratic work Memorabilia, and a commentary on the Greek text of each work aimed primarily at advanced undergraduates and graduate students. (shrink)
Depuis une vingtaine d’années, on assiste un peu partout à un regain d’intérêt pour les écrits socratiques de Xénophon. Que Xénophon ne nous donne pas davantage que Platon un portrait historiquement fiable de Socrate peut être considéré comme un acquis de la critique du XXe siècle. Laissant transparaître dans son témoignage des options profondément différentes de celles de Platon, Xénophon témoigne par là même, cependant, des tensions, voire des oppositions qui traversaient le milieu socratique autour du souvenir et de la (...) compréhension de la personne de Socrate : cette seule considération suffit à faire de Xénophon une source essentielle pour notre connaissance de l’immédiat « après Socrate » et, par delà, pour notre intelligence de l’histoire de la réception de Socrate dans les siècles ultérieurs.Le colloque dont sont issues les études rassemblées dans ce volume, organisé à l’Université de Provence du 6 au 9 novembre 2003, s’inscrit dans cette perspective. Plus qu’un bilan de la nouvelle orientation des études xénophontiennes, qu’il est encore trop tôt pour établir, on y verra l’illustration de la diversité d’approches dont est susceptible le témoignage de Xénophon sur Socrate. Due à Louis-André Dorion, une bibliographie des études sur les écrits socratiques de Xénophon publiées dans le dernier quart de siècle témoigne de la vitalité retrouvée de ce domaine de recherche. (shrink)
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