A toast to virtue

drinking competitions, Plato, and the Sicilian tyrants

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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 publicationConflict and competition
Subtitle of host publicationAgōn in Western Greece: selected essays from the 2019 Symposium on the Heritage of Western Greece
EditorsHeather L. Reid, John Serrati, Tim Sorg
Place of PublicationSioux City, USA
PublisherParnassos Press- Fonte Aretusa
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781942495352
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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