The burgeoning science of human nature recognized the implications for human identity. In the later fifth or early fourth centuries BCE philosophers started to develop a systematically dualistic account of human beings as composites of body and soul. In this view, the body is something that embeds the person in a particular community, and the soul is the true ‘self’, the locus of desires and beliefs which those communities could shape. This article suggests that personal identity is for these thinkers social identity, and it is no coincidence that Plato's utopian designs for a polis in the Republic are largely structured around rethinking the educational curriculum, or, conversely, that Protagoras assigns the central role in moral education to the city as a whole.
This chapter examines the relationship between the Aristotelian philosophers (30 bce to 200 ce) and the so-called Second Sophistic. It discusses how the study of Aristotle’s works experienced a revival, leading to a new text-based approach to his corpus. The evidence for the main protagonists of those interested in Aristotle is fragmentary. Some were leading thinkers of the school (Andronicus of Rhodes), others eclectic readers of Aristotle (Xenarchus of Seleucia, Galen of Pergamum). The views of both styles of scholar on Aristotle arose mostly in a didactic context, clarifying the texts to students. Thus philosophers began to engage in scholarly commentary as a standard way to practice philosophy. This trend quickly culminated in the running commentary, the prime example of which is the work of Alexander of Aphrodisias (ca. 200 ce), who also had connections to the imperial court.
Neera K. Badhwar and Russell E. Jones
On Aristotle’s account of philia in the Nicomachean Ethics, friends who love each other because of their virtue rather than their incidental properties are most fully friends, because they love each other for who they really are. Alongside his picture of ideal virtue, Aristotle offers a realistic account on which people can develop virtue to varying extents and in different domains. His character friends are good but imperfect people who love each other for the specific way virtue takes shape in their lives, share interests and delight in each other’s company, bring out the best in each other, and pursue each other’s good for the other’s own sake. If one brackets his faulty conception of female nature, his account of moral development allows a character friendship of equals between husbands and wives, even in societies where women’s opportunities are severely limited.
The Rhetoric is a difficult book for two reasons. First, its purpose is not immediately clear because it sees argument as the heart of persuasion yet expands and contracts the meaning of argument in different contexts. The relations between argument and character, logos and ēthos, are complex. The enthymeme is the “body” of proof (pistis), yet ēthos is the most powerful means of inducing belief. Second, Aristotle shows how the art of rhetoric has its own standards, irreducible to logic, politics, or expediency, but its ability to erect its own standards is constrained or guided in three distinct dimensions: fidelity to the facts, a goal of persuading a given audience, and moral responsibility. Aristotle places deliberative rhetoric, not forensic or epideictic rhetoric, at the center of his art to make the art fit for practice by citizens, not experts.
This article points out that the genre of biography was also fundamentally concerned with Hellenic identity. As the discussion holds, ancient biographies do not just describe individuals, they tackle a range of issues, chief among which is that crucial question, what it might mean to be Greek. Biography is about individuals. That is what makes it interesting; it is also what leaves it vulnerable to critics who look for something more, for the big things rather than Plutarch's ‘small things’. However, the individuals matter too, and usually matter most. The reason biography can do so much is because a human being is both what other human beings tend to find most interesting, and the mechanism and the phenomenon that other humans understand most intuitively.
This article looks at the parallel evolution of civic institutions, all of which culminated in the polis, the ‘city-state’, as the backdrop to the rich cultural legacy of the fifth and fourth centuries. Historians have demonstrated that the formal institutions of the Greek city-state are best understood as emerging from, but still very much embedded within, a much broader range of collective practices and discourses. Nevertheless, it is the dynamic interplay between the institutional structures of the state and these broader practices and discourses that has been the focus of much of the most fruitful scholarship on the ancient Greek city-state over the past thirty years. The discussion then turns to some of the most interesting areas of investigation in current scholarship on the interaction between formal institutions and broader cultural activities and norms in the Greek city-state.
Commentaries are important research tools in the field of Hellenic studies: even those classicists who are most critical of them tend to use them frequently. More fundamentally still, commentaries seem to be inextricable from the very notion of classical literature. This article focuses on four fundamental issues that are likely to confront anybody who plans to use or write a commentary. The first section considers the historical relationship between classical commentaries and classical literature. The second section discusses the commentary both as an act of reading and as a text in its own right. The third section examines how commentaries establish relationships between texts and between readers. The final section raises some issues of value: the value of commentaries and of the texts they seek to elucidate, but also the valuable role played by readers of the classical commentary.
G. E. R. Lloyd
Appealing to Herodotus, who should perhaps be considered the father of cultural anthropology as much as of history, this article resists an extreme position which relativizes concepts of originality and authenticity out of existence. Nevertheless, it shows that the study of Hellenic culture always involves comparative anthropology: one can look harder and see more, but what one sees is always the view from where he is. Indeed, one must put himself in the frame by selecting the object of the study to begin with.
Questions about the ancient Greek language arise in many areas of Hellenic studies and might include, for example: Which linguistic characteristics of the Homeric poems as we have them are particularly ancient? Under what circumstances does Thucydides use an aorist participle in preference to a present participle? How did ancient Greeks address one another or make requests of one another? Comparison with related languages can provide insights into the prehistory of the language and contribute to such questions. This article attempts to highlight some recent developments in these three areas: comparative and historical grammar; synchronic grammar; and the social and stylistic diversity of Greek. Typological and theoretical linguistic work has been, and continues to be, a valuable source of inspiration and hypotheses for work on Greek. Also, work on Greek requires not only ideas and hypotheses but their systematic testing against well-defined corpora of texts.
This article deals with the application of the Hellenic question of how membership of society is counted and structured. Demography and sociology share a focus on group behaviour. While demography is concerned with the structure and development of human populations that are governed by collective reproductive practices and environmental factors, sociology deals more generally with all forms of social behaviour, institutions, and organization. In principle, the value of systematic means of studying these issues can hardly be in doubt. Even so, the formal approaches and methods of current demography or sociology have only rarely been applied to any aspect of Hellenic studies. Conventional disciplinary boundaries and normative preferences for ‘humanistic’ perspectives are the most obvious culprits.