A toast to virtue

drinking competitions, Plato, and the Sicilian tyrants

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This paper examines Plato’s use of wine-drinking as an underrated paradigm for discussing the temperament of the tyrannical man in the Republic and the Symposium. I argue that Plato found in the Syracusan tyrants, with whom he had recurrent interaction from 388 BCE onwards, a striking example of the interplay between tyranny, philosophy, and drinking. Given the consensus on the composition date of the Republic around 380 BCE, and regardless of whether book 1 was originally written as a separate dialogue, my paper corroborates the view that Plato’s tyrannical man in book 9 was modelled on Dionysius I and his son, Dionysius II, whose penchant for heavy drinking was notorious.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgon
Subtitle of host publicationheritage of Western Greece
Place of PublicationSioux City
PublisherParnassos Press- Fonte Aretusa
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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    Anagnostou-Laoutides, E. (Accepted/In press). A toast to virtue: drinking competitions, Plato, and the Sicilian tyrants. In Agon: heritage of Western Greece Sioux City: Parnassos Press- Fonte Aretusa.