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Peripatos: The Athenian Philosophical Scene—I

  • R. E. Wycherley


One day in 79 b.c., when he was studying at Athens, Cicero and a group of friends took a walk along the same road as Lucian's Philosophia, but in the opposite direction. They had listened, as usual, to a lecture by Antiochos, who was then head of the Academy, delivered in the gymnasium called Ptolemaion, which was in the middle of the city; and they resolved to take an ambulatio postmeridiana (Latin for Περίπατος δειλινός) in the Academy, which at that time of day would be quiet (and comparatively cool). Forgathering at Piso's, they traversed the six stadia from the Dipylon, and reached the justly famous walks (non sine causa nobilitata spatia) of the Academy. There Piso remarks, ‘Whether by a sound instinct or by an illusion (natura an errore) when we set eyes on the very places frequented by great men, we are more deeply moved than when we merely hear of their deeds or read their writings. Plato used to hold discussions here; I can almost see him walking in those little gardens near by (illi propinqui hortuli). Here taught Speusippos and Xenokrates and Polemon, who used to sit on the very seat which we can see over there. The power of suggestion which places possess is indeed great (tanta uis admonitionis inest in locis).’ Quintus Cicero is more attracted to the Kolonos near by, with its Sophoklean associations.



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page 152 note 1 Fin. V. I.

page 155 note 1 This constant walking about remained characteristic of the philosophers, and not only of the Peripatetics proper. It could be carried too far and become disorderly—in Menedemos' school (Diog. Laert. ii. 17. 130) there was no order, no benches in a circle; teacher and pupils wandered around as they fancied. Krantor (ibid. iv. 5. 24) was once merely taking a walk for health's sake in the Asklepieion, when people flocked to him expecting a discourse. Note that according to Diogenes (ix. 8. 54) Protagoras gave a reading of his work On the Gods at Athens in the house of Euripides; Diogenes adds that some say he read it in the house of Megakleides, others that Archagoras read it for him in the Lyceum.

page 156 note 1 Hesperia, xx (1951), 187 ff.; note Fig. 11, p. 304. Cf. ibid., xxviii (1959), 98 ff. (houses at north foot of Areopagus).

page 156 note 2 Robinson, D. M. and Graham, J., Excavations at Olynthus (Baltimore, 1938), viii. 55 ff.; cf. xii. 183 ff. (quoted below as Olynthus).

page 156 note 3 vi. 7. In Hellenistic times one finds more complicated house plans. A very curious new example has recently been found at Morgantina in Sicily; see Sjöquist, E. in A.J.A. lxii (1958), 160.

page 157 note 1 Which Professor Tarrant somewhat mars by calculating that the discussion would require 18 hours (J.H.S. lxxv (1955), 85); the Protagoras would require only 3½ hours.

page 157 note 2 Olynthus, viii. 321 ff. (note Pl 73), xii. 190; the courtyard altars would be of Zeus Herkeios.

page 157 note 3 Mem. iv. 2. i.

page 157 note 4 ii. 13. 122, 123; cf. Hesperia, xxiii (1954), 54; Archaeology, xiii (1960), 234 ff.

page 157 note 5 De Gen. Socr. 10; cf. Greece & Rome, Second Series, iii (1956), 14.

page 158 note 1 Hesperia, xxii (1953), 37; xxiii (1954), 45 ff.

page 158 note 2 Quoted by Theodoretos, , Therapeutica, xxii. 175. 17 (Raeder); for ‘the Herms’ see Wycherley, R. E., The Athenian Agora, vol. iii: Testimonia (Princeton, 1957; quoted below as Agora, iii), pp. 103 ff.

page 158 note 3 Hesperia, vi (1937), 23.

page 158 note 4 Oecon. vii. i.

page 158 note 5 Ps.-Demosthenes, xxv. 23; for the possible identity of the stoas see Hesperia, vi (1937), 64 ff., 225; Martin, R., Recherches sur l'Agora grecque (Paris, 1951), 320; Agora, iii, p. 30.

page 159 note 1 Phaidon, 59 d.

page 160 note 1 See Judeich, W., Topographie von Ather2 (Munich, 1931), 388; and note I.G. i2. 94.

page 160 note 2 See Delorme, J., Gymnasion (Paris, 1960), especially 253 ff.

page 160 note 3 Contrast Lucian's flight of fancy in Vera Historia, ii. 23; as a reward for his bravery in the battle against the rebels in the other world Sokrates is given a large paradeisos in the suburbs, which he names Nekrakademia.

page 161 note 1 In Diogenes Laertios, iii, 5, Plato himself listens to Sokrates ‘in front of the theatre of Dionysos’.

page 162 note 1 vi. 2. 23; Hercher, R., Epistolographi Graeci (Paris, 1873), xvi, p. 239.

page 162 note 2 Fr. 165 (Bücheler–Heraeus).

page 162 note 3 De Vit. Pud. 7.

page 162 note 4 Florida, 14; cf. Dudley, D. R., A History of Cynicism (London, 1937), 49.

page 163 note 1 xiv (ed. Hense).

Peripatos: The Athenian Philosophical Scene—I

  • R. E. Wycherley


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