Seeing ourselves in the xenoi – plato’s warning to the Greeks

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In this essay about the story of Atlantis in Plato’s Timaeus, we focus on the crucial political message that the Atlantis tale contains. More precisely, we seek to respond to a question that may evade a completely satisfactory answer. The question is: Could Plato’s story of the rise and fall of Atlantis, in the Timaeus, be a warning tale to the Greeks of his own time? In order to root the investigation prompted by this question in solid textual ground, we pay close attention to the framing of the Atlantis tale. In what follows, we analyze the series of substitutions (between mythical, ancient, and historical cities, i.e., Atlantis, Athens, and Sais) that Plato uses as he seeks to bring his readers to a point from which we can assess the politics of ancient Athens – a city that in Plato’s time stands on the brink of repeating the political blunders of the formerly glorious empire of the East.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-149
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Dec 8 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics


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