Menexenus (dialogue)

Menexenus (dialogue)
Plato from The School of Athens by Raphael, 1509
Part of the series on:
The Dialogues of Plato
Early dialogues:
EuthyphroFirst Alcibiades
Hippias MajorHippias Minor
Transitional & middle dialogues:
Later middle dialogues:
Late dialogues:
Of doubtful authenticity:
Axiochus – Demodocus
EpinomisEpistles – Eryxias
On JusticeOn Virtue
Rival LoversSecond Alcibiades
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The Menexenus (Greek: Μενέξενоς) is a Socratic dialogue of Plato, traditionally included in the seventh tetralogy along with the Greater and Lesser Hippias and the Ion. The characters are Socrates and Menexenus, who is not to be confused with Socrates' son Menexenus. The Menexenus of Plato's dialogue appears also in his Lysis and the Phaedo. In the Lysis, he is identified as the "son of Demophon" (207b).

The Menexenus consists mainly of a lengthy funeral oration, satirizing the one given by Pericles in Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War. In this way the Menexenus is unique among the Platonic dialogues, in that the actual 'dialogue' serves primarily as exposition for the oration. For this reason, perhaps, the Menexenus has come under some suspicion of illegitimacy.

Perhaps the most interest in the Menexenus stems from the fact that it is one of the few extant sources on the practice of Athenian funeral oratory, even though it is a parody thereof.


Further reading

  • Collins, Susan D.; Stauffer, Devin (1999). "The Challenge of Plato's 'Menexenus'". The Review of Politics 61 (1): 85–115. doi:10.1017/S003467050002814X. 
  • Coventry, Lucinda (1989). "Philosophy and Rhetoric in the Menexenus". Journal of Hellenic Studies (The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies) 109: 1–15. doi:10.2307/632028. JSTOR 632028. 
  • Kahn, Charles H. (1963). "Plato's Funeral Oration: The Motive of the Menexenus". Classical Philology 58 (4): 220–234. doi:10.1086/364821. 
  • Monoson, S. Sara (1998). "Remembering Pericles: The Political and Theoretical Import of Plato's Menexenus". Political Theory 26 (4): 489–513. doi:10.1177/0090591798026004003. 
  • Rosenstock, Bruce (1994). "Socrates as Revenant: A Reading of the Menexenus". Phoenix (Classical Association of Canada) 48 (4): 331–347. doi:10.2307/1192572. JSTOR 1192572. 

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