Among the Ancients II: Plato

Emily Wilson and Thomas Jones

Plato’s Symposium, his philosophical dialogue on love, or eros, was probably written around 380 BCE, but it’s set in 416, during the uneasy truce between Athens and Sparta in the middle of the Peloponnesian War. A symposium was a drinking party, though Socrates and his friends, having had a heavy evening the night before, decide to go easy on the wine and instead take turns making speeches in praise of love – at least until Alcibiades turns up, very late and very drunk. In this episode of Among the Ancients, Emily and Tom discuss the dialogue’s philosophical ideas, historical context and narrative form, and why Aristophanes gets the hiccups.

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