Mauro Bonazi, University of Milan
The End of the Academy
What happened to the Platonic Academy in late Hellenistic and Early Imperial Age is a controversial point. For a long period it has been a widely held view that the Academy continued to operate until the Emperor Justinian closed it in the 529 A.D. But in opposition to this view some challenging studies argued that it rather ended its activity around 86 b.C., during and in consequence of the Mithridatic War, when the garden of the Academy was destroyed by Sulla's troops. Needless to say, neither this new (and more solid) reconstruction solved all the ambiguities, and more recently some doubts have been raised against it. By reconsidering the available evidence, aim of the paper is a reapprisal of this vetus quaestio. In fact, the problems are two: the problem of the end of the Academy as a working institution is not the same as its end in the sense of its destruction. The two points not necessarily imply each other. And even though one may cast doubts that the Academy was physically destroyed, the surviving testimonies appear to show that there was not anymore Academic teaching in Athens. Even more fatal than Sulla's troops, were the internal struggles. But not everything went lost, for the term 'Academic' continued to be used in the following centuries, confirming the importance of the tradition stemming from Plato: for at stake in the use and appropriation of the term was not so much the membership to the institution as Plato's heritage – an everlasting problem.
Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge
How Academic was Plato's Academy? A Historian's Judicious Review'
Thanks to Plato (and Hekademos, perhaps, not to mention Horace), there are 'academies' littering the Western world's educational sphere - from the Academy of Athens (founded 1926) to Athens Academy (a college preparatory school in Georgia, USA). And 'academic' has entered global Englishes as both noun and adjective. My title plays on one of the more debased versions of the English adjective 'academic', meaning (in Webster's definition) 'Theoretical, speculative, having no practical or useful significance'. Scholars have taken polarised views of Plato's original Academy: on the one hand (μέν), it was devoted to - and intended to generate nothing more or less than - pure θεωρία (hence the superscription above the entrance - allegedly, as alleged 10 centuries later anyhow: http://plato-dialogues.org/faq/faq009.htm); on the other hand (δέ) it was the Rand Corporation of Classical Greece (Trevor Saunders, in a Festschrift for quite another Webster). Go, figure - or at any rate Discuss!
John Glucker, University of Tel Aviv
Plato in the Academy: Some cautious reflections
In recent years, some new evidence has come to light concerning Plato's relation, in his last years, to Philip of Opus, and the last days of Plato's life. No new evidence has come up concerning Plato's activity in the Academy. As shown long ago by John Lynch and myself, Plato did not – could not – own the Academy, a public institution, but had his own οἰκίδιον, a small house and garden, near that gymnasium. Apart from the famous fragment of Epicrates, which takes place ἐν γυμνασίοις Ἀκαδημείας and/or ἐν λέσχαις τοιαῖσδε, our sources indicate that the activity of Plato and his colleagues took place on Plato's private property near the Academy, ἀρχιτεκτοῦντος καὶ προβλήματα διδόντος τοῦ Πλάτωνος. This seems to indicate a research ‘institute' rather than a school with proper teaching and seminars. Aristotle's evidence (transmitted through the testimonies of Aristoxenus and Simplicius) concerning Plato's περὶ τ᾿ἀγαθοῦ ἀκρόασις is couched in terms of one single (and memorable, to those present) occasion rather than to regular Lehrvorträge or seminars. Aristotle seems to know about some Platonic doctrines which go beyond what can be deduced from the dialogues, but his expression (Phys. Δ, 209b14-15) ἐν τοῖς λεγομένοις ἀγράφοις δόγμασι (emphasis mine) is puzzling in any case, and would be even more so if Aristotle were referring to some continuous public teaching by Plato. Apart from Epicrates, Aristotle's is the only serious primary evidence for Plato's doctrines. It presents some combination of the Ideas and the One and the Indivisibe Dyad. As to the mathematical part of this amalgam, it seems to be supported by the evidence about περὶ τ᾿ἀγαθοῦ ἀκρόασις, indicating, perhaps, a later stage in Plato's thought. But Aristotle's language in relation to the initiators and upholders of the theory of ideas has been, I fear, too easily dismissed. Of the many places in Metaphysics (I have counted at least ten), apart from A 6, where Plato is mentioned by name, only twice (1028b19f.; 1070a18f.) is he mentioned in connection with τὰ εἴδη (not αἱ ἰδέαι). In many places, we have οἳ τὰς ἰδέας λέγουσιν/τιθέασιν/ποιοῦσιν and the like. What is more baffling is Aristotle's account at M 4, 1078b 7f., of οἱ πρῶτοι τὰς ἰδέας φήσαντες εἶναι. I am not the first or the hundredth to notice that this account is verbally very similar to the account of Plato at A 9. This has puzzled those (most scholars, I suppose) who are firmly convinced that Plato was the ‘only begetter" of the Theory of Ideas. Cherniss dismisses this ‘small detail': "The attempt by Burnet and Taylor to refer οἱ πρῶτοι τὰς ἰδέας φήσαντες εἶναι to persons other than Plato no longer requires consideration" – citing articles by Adam, Field, Robin and De Vogel. Field simply states that "the use of the plural (οἱ πρῶτοι) proves nothing in Aristotle". Why? Because. But Aristotle can mention Plato's name when he so wishes – he does so dozens of times in his works. Moreover, at A 9 he ascribes that same things to Plato which at M 4 he ascribes to these πρῶτοι. Add to it that he does something similar in Nicomachean Ethics, where Plato is mentioned three times by name (1093a32; 1104b12; 1172b28); but when it comes to the Ideas, we have at A 6 1096a13 διὰ τὸ φίλους ἄνδρας εἰσαγαγεῖν τὰ εἴδη. I think such facts need reconsidering.
Matthias Haake, University of Münster
The Academy in Athenian Politics and Society
The aim of my paper is to analyse the social and the political role of Academic philosophers and the Academy in Athens between the founding of the Academy by Plato in the 380ies and the destruction of the ground of the Academy by Sulla in 86. Next to much discussed literary sources as the Lives of Diogenes Laertius, Philodemus' History of the Academy, and various fragments of Attic comedy, I will focus on three inscriptions (IG II² 886; IG II² 3781; IG II² 12764) regarding the scholarchs Euandrus of Phocaea, Carneades of Cyrene and Telecles of Phocaea as well as the so-called ephebic decrees concerning the ephebes' visit of philosophical lectures in the late second and first centuries.
Myrto Hatzimichali, University of Cambridge
The Academy through Epicurean Eyes: Some Lives of Academic Philosophers in Philodemus' Syntaxis
The writing of school histories from a self-consciously ‘late' standpoint is one of the developments that David Sedley has identified as marking the ‘end of the history of philosophy' in the first century BC. Within this context, Philodemus' History of the Academy (part of his Syntaxis of the Philosophers) takes stock of the Academy under the assumption that by his time it has more or less run its course. This paper will take account of this approach by Philodemus in order to offer an interpretation of what he, as an Epicurean, has to say about the internal workings of the Academy (succession of scholarchs, conduct of debates, circulation of books), as well as about its relations with the ‘outside world' (political involvement of Academics, links with centres of power, influence outside Athens). Particular attention will be paid to the less-studied sections from Arcesilaus to Clitomachus.
Phillip Sidney Horky, Durham University
Pythagoreanism and the Early Academy
Since the monumental work of Burkert (English 1972; orig. pub. in German 1963) on the historiography of Pythagoreanism, most scholars have taken it for granted that the associates of the Early Academy, including Speusippus of Athens, Xenocrates of Chalcedon, and Heraclides of Pontus, appropriated Pythagoreanism and its basic tenets to their own philosophical systems. But what scholars have not analyzed are the modalities of the Early Academy's critical response to Pythagorean ideas: what, in fact, do we mean when we say that the Early Platonists ‘appropriated' Pythagoreanism? This paper seeks to advance upon this question by accounting for the ways in which intellectuals outside Plato's Academy responded to Pythagoreanism roughly from the death of Socrates in 399 BCE until the death of Plato in 347 BCE. The proximate goal of this account is to elucidate the various strategies for appropriation available to the associates of Plato, whereby it becomes possible to test the modes of appropriation apparently practiced by the Early Platonists – in particular Xenocrates of Chalcedon, whose approach to Pythagoreanism has not been comprehensively discussed, in part due to the fragmentary state of his philosophy. Four critical modes of response to Pythagoreanism in Athens can be distinguished: (a) familiarization (Antisthenes of Athens), (b) allegorical etymologization (possibly Aristippus of Cyrene), (c) classification and explanation (Anaximander the Younger of Miletus, Aristotle), and (d) evaluation and critique of methodology (Plato). Perhaps surprisingly, Xenocrates' approach to his antecedent wisdom-practitioners does not exhibit the qualities of the former two types, which exercise influence in, respectively, (a) the Hellenistic historiographical and (b) Neoplatonist traditions. Nor does he seem to adopt (d) Plato's agonistic approach to Pythagoreanism. Instead, his fragments evince the sorts of appropriative strategies practiced by Anaximander the Younger and Aristotle. We are thus prompted to consider both (1) the extent to which ‘Pythagoreanizing' in the Early Academy is part-and-parcel of more common approach to proto-dialectical classification, as practiced by the Peripatetics among others; and (2) the extent to which Xenocrates – at least with regard to his approach to the wisdom of his antecedents – might be seen to depart from his master's own approach to Pythagoreanism.
Vassilis Karasmanis, National Technical University of Athens
Plato and the Mathematics of the Academy
Plato opens his Academy probably in 387 B.C. which soon is becoming the centre of mathematical research. According to Eudemus (who wrote the first history of Geometry), we find there all the famous mathematicians of the 4th century. A great revolution in mathematics happens within the Academy. The first axiomatization of mathematics, the theoretical research on definitions (Theaetetus, Eudoxus), the method of analysis and synthesis (Leodamas), the theory of incommensurability and stereometry (Theaetetus), the διορισμός (Leon), the first axiomatized Elements (Leon, Theudius), the new theory of proportions and the method of exhaustion (Eudoxus), the investigation on convertible propositions and conic sections (Menaechmus), all these are achievements made by mathematicians related to Plato and the Academy. In this paper I shall restrict myself in problems of foundation of mathematics and on the first Elements of mathematics written in the Academy. Also I shall try to find Plato's own contribution (if any) to this great revolution.
Daniela Marchiandi,University of Torino
In the Shadow of Athena Polias: the Divinities of the Academy, the polites Training and the Death in Service to Athens
Since the archaic age the Academy was a milestone in the ideology of Athenian polis. The gymnasium was the main place of education for citizens: here the young people not only learned the cardinal principles of culture and physical exercise, but were trained to social life, throwing the foundations of their future participation in the functioning of the polis. For this reason, a pantheon of divinities was selected ad hoc to oversee the different areas of politai training. Eros, Herakles, Hermes, the Muses, Prometheus and Hephaestus are attested at the Academy, for the most part since the VIth century b.C. They operated in the shadow of an Athena Polias specially transplanted from the Acropolis to guard the sacred olive trees, the moriai from which the oil given as a prize to the winners of Panathenaic games was drawn. On this ideological background it is not difficult to understand why the Demosion Sema, the cemetery reserved for fallen war dead, was placed along the road linking the Academy with the Acropolis: a gallery of anonymous heroes who died on the battlefield in service to Athens accompanied the young people direct to the gymnasium in their usual routes.The paper intends explore the narrow links existing between the Academy and the Demosion Sema.
Stephen Miller, University of California,Berkeley
"Plato the Wrestler"
A recently published portrait herm, the Berkeley Plato, raises questions about his athletic career as a youth. There can be no doubt that he was a wrestler as shown both by later sources and his own vocabulary, but did he compete internationally? Was he an Olympic athlete? Was he an Olympic victor? Or was wrestling so much a part of Athenian education that Plato the Wrestler is an expression of a societal norm? Or both? Or is the portrait not so much of the man, as it is of his philosophy?
David Sedley, University of Cambridge
‘Carneades' theological arguments'
Carneades was reputedly the New Academy's greatest dialectician, but little has been established about his dialectical methods. His theological arguments provide an ideal test case, because many of them have survived in Sextus Empiricus, Adversus Mathematicos 9. Unfortunately our understanding has long been distorted by Cicero's apologetic presentation of them in De natura deorum 3 as ad hominem arguments, aimed merely at exposing the weak intellectual foundations of Stoic theology. Against this near-consensus, I maintain that they are arguments for atheism which, balanced against a corresponding battery of arguments for theism, are meant to result in an agnostic suspension of judgement. Defending this interpretation will involve examining the nature and credentials of the endoxic premises invoked by Carneades. They turn out to be a mixture of philosophical, poetic and popular premises, the philosophical ones being drawn from multiple schools, sometimes even within the confines of a single argument.
Michalis Sialaros, University of London
A child of the Academy? : Investigating Euclid's philosophical background
A prevalent idea among contemporary scholars is that Euclid belonged to, or was heavily influenced by the Platonic philosophical tradition. To a certain extent, this impression is not new; the quest for Euclid's philosophical background was probably triggered and enhanced by his late commentators, Greeks and Arabs, who appear confident that he had one. For instance, al-Qifti writes: 'Euclid...called the author of geometry, a philosopher of somewhat ancient date...' and al-Nadim in the Fihrist names Euclid as '...one of the mathematical philosophers...' Proclus, five centuries earlier than al-Nadim, was more specific: '[Euclid] was a follower of Plato by choice, and familiar with this philosophy'. In this paper, I propose to explore the extant accounts on Euclid's philosophical background.
Thomas Alexander Szlezák, University of Tübingen
How definite are Plato´s answers to the problems raised in the dialogues?
In my paper I´ll first examine some passages in Plato, where Socrates leads the interlocutor to a certain result, but adds that he would not like to diischyrizesthai its validity. A second type of passages of interest for my paper shows a Socrates who claims that the result reached is quite sure valid, even bound by arguments of iron and adamant. Yet this certainty is sometimes combined with the assertion that he does not possess knowledge of the things under discussion. Then I´ll examine a third type of passages, where Socrates offers an answer which is obviously meant to be valid, but is declared unsufficient. Different from this group of passages are those in which an available answer is not communicated. My paper will be an attempt to elucidate the sense of these different types of restrictions on the validity of the results reached in the dialogues.
Harold Tarrant, University of Newcastle (Australia)
‘From Polemo and Crates to Arcesilaus: Revolution or Natural Transition?'
First I argue that Arcesilaus was a natural choice as scholarch. If Crates had intended to groom Socratides for this role, he had too short a time. However, Arcesilaus was already one of four principal Academics when Crantor was alive, in some sense inheriting the role of Crantor (perhaps ‘possessor of the books'); The scholarchs themselves engaged less with Platonic literature than expected. Arcesilaus as scholarch did not directly promote Platonic doctrine or writings, but that was not the scholarch's role. Second I want to argue that the Academy of Polemon was already Socratic in two respects, in concentrating upon ethics and in adopting some kind of ideal of Socratic love. I think it is clear that the Alcibiades I, assuming it was not a product of Polemon's (and Crantor's) Academy, was at least an important influence at that time.
Ismini Trianti,University of Ioannina
Portraits of Plato
Η κεφαλή του Πλάτωνα, η οποία βρέθηκε το 1994 στην ανασκαφή για το σταθμό ΑΚΡΟΠΟΛΙΣ στο οικόπεδο Μακρυγιάννη, μου έδωσε την ευκαιρία όχι μόνο να την παρουσιάσω, αλλά και να ξανασυζητήσω τα ως τώρα γνωστά πορτραίτα του και τη σχέση τους με το άγαλμα, το οποίο, όπως μαρτυρεί ο Διογένης ο Λαέρτιος (ΙΙΙ 25), έστησε ο Μιθριδάτης ο Πέρσης στην Ακαδημία και ήταν έργο του γλύπτη Σιλανίωνα.To νέο πορτραίτο είναι ένα από τα σχετικά λίγα που έχουν βρεθεί στην Ελλάδα (τέσσερα στην Αθήνα, ένα στην Κόρινθο και ένα στη Θάσο). Είναι δυστυχώς λίγο φθαρμένο, όμως όλα τα χαρακτηριστικά στοιχεία του αναγνωρίζονται. Το σχήμα του κρανίου και του προσώπου, η κόμμωσή του με τους κοντούς βοστρύχους, οι ρυτίδες του μετώπου, τα μάτια και το στόμα, πλαισιωμένο με το χαρακτηριστικό μουστάκι και τα μακριά γένεια. Ένα νέο εύρημα προσθέτει πάντα στα ήδη γνωστά μικρές λεπτομέρειες που οδηγούν στην καλύτερη κατανόηση του γλύπτη δημιουργού, του αντιγραφέα των ρωμαϊκών χρόνων, αλλά και του απεικονιζόμενου.
Georgia Tsouni, University of Bern
Re-constructing an Old Tradition: The Peripatetic Academy of Antiochus of Ascalon
The short-lived 'Old Academy' of Antiochus of Ascalon is a movement, which arose after Sulla's siege of Athens in 86 BC and the subsequent closure of the Athenian philosophical schools. A product of the lack of institutional unity and the decentralisation of philosophical activity during the First century BC, it is a sign of the contested nature of the Academic identity during this era. After examining Antiochus' construction of a unitary Academy, I will trace the roots of his stance in the Hellenistic Peripatetic tradition.