Socrates and Aesop.
Zafiropoulos, Christos A.
A Comparative Study of the Introduction of Plato's Phaedo .
2015. 290 S. 58,00 Euro. 15,5 x 23 cm. Hardcover. 978-3-89665-657-5.
(International Plato Studies Bd. 34)
This book is a study of Plato's portraiture of Socrates and of his βίος φιλοσοφικός and of the cultural semantics that underlie it. It focuses on the account of Socrates' final day in the Phaedo, an account that constitutes both an aretalogy and a martyrology, especially on the introductory part of this particular dialogue (57a-61c), with particular emphasis on the repeated references to Aesop and on Socrates' reported versification of fables. The intended parallelism between Socrates and Aesop in the Phaedo (amplified by Apollo's decisive presence and intervention as this is suggested in the accounts of their lives and especially of their deaths), both of them charter figures for philosophical and fable discourse respectively, alongside the accentuation throughout the dialogue of Socrates' exceptional attitude in the face of death, served Plato's strategy to inscribe his model philosophos in the traditions of the unjustly murdered and posthumously exonerated and vindicatedpharmakos and of heroized eminent men. It is hoped that this view of Plato's heroic portrait of Socrates as the result of a fusion of well-established, preceding cultural notions and traditions shall provide another interpretative viewpoint of Plato's work, with respect both to its literary aspect (our reading of the dialogues) and to its institutional aspect (the sociopolitics involved in the establishment of the Academy).