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Plato Laws 3.680B–C: Antisthenes, The Cyclopes and Homeric Exegesis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 November 2017

Lucia Prauscello
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge *
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Abstract

In Laws 3.680b–c the Athenian Stranger's positive evaluation of the Cyclopean ‘way of life’ (Od. 9.112–15) is deeply indebted to Antisthenes’ interpretatio Homerica of the Cyclopes as ‘just’ insofar they do not have the need of written law. Antisthenes’ equation of ‘need of law’ with ‘need of written law’ is then contextualized within the unresolved tension, in the legislative project of the Laws, between oral dissemination (‘proems’ to the laws) and the potentially coercive power of the written text. Finally, Megillus’ inept reply to the Homeric quotation by the Athenian Stranger allows us to gain a more nuanced view of the ‘readerly’ dynamics enacted by the internal audience of the Laws.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies 2017 

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