Monday, February 25, 2013

A History Lesson: Alcibiades and Socrates

Part One:

Introductory questions:  Look at the map of Greece and show the Peloponnesus.  What was the Peloponnesian War?  Who were the main cities involved?  Do you remember the story we read from Plutarch, about Pericles bringing too many people within the city walls for fear of attack, and then a plague coming on them?  We have skipped some of the events of the first part of the war, but eventually the two groups did stop fighting and signed the Peace of Nicias.  This said that they would hold off their fighting for fifty years.
Nicias was an Athenian general and political leader during the Peloponnesian War period. 

But just because they signed the treaty didn't mean they actually got along with each other.  Look at the map again and find Athens, Sparta, and Argos.  Today's lesson is about Argos.

(Map found here.)

Today we also introduce Alcibiades.  Pericles was one of his guardians.  He has been described as beautiful but wild, arrogant, extravagant (but generous), and reckless.

Part Two:  Socrates
What is philosophy?  What philosophers do you know of?  Do you know anything about Socrates?  Socrates' wife was named Xanthippe, which means "Yellow horse."  (Wikipedia says that "Hers is one of many Greek personal names with a horse theme (cf. Philippos: "friend of horses"; Hippocrates: "horse tamer" etc.). The "hippos" in an ancient Greek name often suggested aristocratic heritage."  For instance, the wife of Alcibiades was Hipparete, the daughter of Hipponicus, a wealthy Athenian.) Did Socrates and his wife get along well? 
Answer:  maybe!
Read and narrate "Socrates the Philosopher."

There is one thing you might want to think about, after reading this story.  Plutarch is the writer who says that Socrates was the teacher of Alcibiades.  Another Greek writer says that that wasn't so, that Pericles was his teacher.  If Plutarch possibly was unsure or mixed up about Socrates, why might he still have thought it made sense? 
We will skip the next chapter, which describes Alcibiades' speech from Plato's Symposium.  Even in  a retelling, I just don't find it edifying for very young maidens.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent. You are good to me.