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Socrates Founding Political Philosophy in Xenophon's "Economist", "Symposium", and "Apology"$
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Thomas L. Pangle

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226642475

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226642505.001.0001

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Teaching Socrates the Art of Farming

Teaching Socrates the Art of Farming

(p.98) Chapter Six Teaching Socrates the Art of Farming
Socrates Founding Political Philosophy in Xenophon's "Economist", "Symposium", and "Apology"

Thomas L. Pangle

University of Chicago Press

Xenophon has his Socrates present the gentleman concluding his teaching of the philosopher with a peroration almost diametrically opposed to the peroration with which Xenophon has his poet Simonides conclude his teaching of the tyrant in Hiero, or One Skilled in Tyranny. Not the least of the polar opposites is the latter’s complete silence on the gods and on human piety or religious belief and religious experience. But whereas Ischomachus characterizes the life of the tyrant as a “deserved” retributive punishment from the gods, he does not characterize the gentleman’s royal, godlike life of rule as a deserved reward from the gods—and does not characterize the gentleman's life of rule and moderation as intrinsically “happy” or “blessed.” At the end, the gentleman speaks in such a way as to make his motivation for, and his expectation or hope from, ruling and moderation appear austerely noble—without mention of concern for either happiness or deserving expectation. To be sure, his final words do evoke a vivid image of the afterlife, and of divine judgment in Hades.

Keywords:   tyranny, kingship, happiness, nobility, piety

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