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date: 04 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys Hesiodic reception in fourth-century bce prose, with emphasis on Plato and especially the Laws. Passages of the Laws are read in context and used to illuminate the status of Hesiodic poetry in the fourth century. Topics discussed include rhapsodic performance, Hesiod’s relationship to Homer, study of Hesiodic poetry in schools, the fourth-century manuscript tradition, citation of Hesiod’s poems in conversation and Athenian courtrooms, and the politics of Hesiodic quotation. Whether understood as part of the rhapsode’s canon, a gnomic poet, a proto-sophist or proto-philosopher, or an allegorist, Hesiod remained a dynamic site for the production of the philosophical, literary, and political debates that animated fourth-century prose.

Keywords: Plato, Plato’s Laws, reception, fourth century bce, rhapsodic performance, Hesiod and Homer, orators, sophists, philosophers, schools

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