Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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CONTENTS

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pp. vii-ix

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

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pp. xi-xii

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xiii-xvi

I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT and writing this book for a very long time, during which I've benefited from innumerable conversations, formal and informal, with generous and inspiring interlocutors. So if this book is obsessed with the idea of dialogue, the meaningful back-and-forth of different voices and traditions over time, that is because such a process has been essential to its own making. So first, let me thank those interlocutors at the more formal end. To all the students who participated in two graduate seminars I taught on ...

ABBREVIATIONS

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p. xvii

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. -25

LET ME BEGIN WITH A FABLE about fable. In his second/third-century CE biography of the sage Apollonius of Tyana, Philostratus stages a miniature philosophical debate about the relative merits of mythological poetry and Aesopic fable. Philostratus's protagonist has just expounded his reasons for preferring humble Aesopic beast fable to the grandiloquent mythic lies My own mother, Menippus, taught me a tale about Aesop's wisdom, when I was very young. Aesop, so she said, was once a shepherd, and was tending his flock near a ...

PART I: Competitive Wisdom and Popular Culture

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CHAPTER 1 Aesop and the Contestation of Delphic Authority

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pp. 53-94

LET ME BEGIN WITH AESOP at Delphi. The strange, fissured, and uneven texts of the Life of Aesop and the open and permeable tradition that generated them necessitate the assumption of oral circulation of stories about Aesop, taking shape, traveling, and mutating over hundreds of years before the texts were set down in written form. At the same time, it is my contention that Aesop, like other...

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CHAPTER 2 Sophia before/beyond Philosophy

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pp. 95-124

BY THE EXPERIMENTAL READING offered in chapter 1, I hope to have demonstrated that it is possible to extract from the Aesopica elements of long-lived ideological commentary and critique of enduring Greek cultural formations. In this and the following chapters, I will attempt to do the same for aspects of the Aesop tradition (especially the Life of Aesop) in dialogue with the complex traditions of Greek "wisdom" (and this analysis will ultimately offer us additional insight into the story of Aesop's adventures at ...

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CHAPTER 3 Aesop as Sage: Political Counsel and Discursive Practice

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pp. 125-158

IN THIS CHAPTER, we will consider evidence for Aesop as a sage, set against the lineaments of the pre- or nonphilosophical tradition of wisdom I outlined in chapter 2. Th is will necessitate drawing together scattered fragments of a tradition that constituted Aesop as a wise man in competition with other sages, purveying his own distinctive brand of low or bodily sophia. The very fact that traces of this version of Aesop are so fragmented, muted, or occcluded in our preserved texts suggests that this was in some way a popular ...

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CHAPTER 4 Reading the Life: The Progress of a Sage and the Anthropology of Sophia

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pp. 159-201

THE PROJECT OF THIS CHAPTER is to offer a sustained reading of the whole of the Life of Aesop in terms of the themes of sophia I have traced out in the last two chapters. In the latter of these, we reviewed the evidence for Aesop as a sage interacting with the Seven Sages in traditions that may antedate Herodotus?s writing, and we considered (in reverse order) the scenes in the Life in which he offers advice, first to the Samian demos, then to the Lydian king (Vitae G H11001 W, chs. 87-100). At this point, I would like to widen the focus ...

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CHAPTER 5 The Aesopic Parody of High Wisdom

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pp. 202-238

IN THE TWO PREVIOUS CHAPTERS, we have marshaled the dispersed and fragmentary evidence for Aesop as a sage, participating in a pre- or nonphilosophical tradition of sophia. We have seen Aesop hobnobbing with the Seven Sages at the court of kings and tyrants; Aesop saving his city from crisis with wise counsel; Aesop engaged in a sage's pilgrimage at the end of his life; and even Aesop assimilated to the Near Eastern sage Ahiqar in what seems This popular representation of Aesop as a contender or participant in the ...

PART II: Aesop and the Invention of Greek Prose

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CHAPTER 6 Aesop at the Invention of Philosophy

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pp. 241-264

IN PART I, I CONSIDERED Aesop as a voice of resistance in relation to religious institutions, and as a simultaneous participant in and subversive challenger to the high wisdom tradition. In this part, I want to excavate Aesopic elements in the beginnings of Greek mimetic or narrative prose-by which I mean both prose philosophy and prose history. Th is represents a shift in perspective that will importantly refine our vision of the Aesopic conversations of high and low traditions. For much of the previous five chapters, I have ...

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CHAPTER 7 The Battle over Prose: Fable in Sophistic Education and Xenophon's Memorabilia

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pp. 265-300

STILL, BEFORE WE CAN FULLY unpack the complex relation of Platos Socrates to Aesop and Aesopic fable, we need to set the stage by considering the broader fifth-/fourth-century context of what we might call "the battle over prose." For this purpose, we must at least dip into the "Sophistic movement" as the milieu in reaction to which Plato produced much of his written work. Having long suffered under the burden of Plato's tendentious misrepresentation and opprobrium, the Sophists have recently enjoyed something of a ...

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CHAPTER 8 Sophistic Fable in Plato: Parody, Appropriation, and Transcendence

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pp. 301-324

WE HAVE SEEN THREE instantiations of Sophistic attempts to appropriate fable for lofty disquisitions on political, ethical, and anthropological topics, and we have considered in turn Xenophon's reinsertion of Prodicus's "Choice of Heracles" into a more traditional advice context. It is time to turn back to Plato, first to examine the range of Platonic responses to Sophistic fable (in this chapter), and then to explore a deployment of Aesop and Aesopic discourse within Platonic dialogue that is at once more ...

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CHAPTER 9 Aesop in Plato's Sōkratikoi Logoi: Analogy, Elenchos, and Disavowal

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pp. 325-360

LET ME START FROM THE point at which I left off in the previous chap-ter: from the uniqueness or singularity of Socrates. For it is this most of all that solicits our belief in the world conjured by Platonic dialogue and thereby ultimately draws us into the argumentation that constitutes the main action of Plato's "anti-tragic theater."1 But how, specifically, does Plato achieve this representational tour deforce, crafting an image of Socrates as unlike any-body else, compellingly strange and unique "It is my contention that much of ...

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CHAPTER 10 Historiē and Logopoiïa: Two Sides of Herodotean Prose

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pp. 361-397

AND SO WE COME FINALLY to Herodotus. I set out originally to write a book on Aesop and Herodotus—Aesop in Herodotus—as a way of mapping something of the bizarre, vertiginous shift s in style, genre, and level of decorum that pervade the Histories. 2 I slowly discovered that in order to do justice to the topic, I had to go a long way around. But this book was always motivated by a sense of the mystery of Herodotus, so let me start there. It is all too easy for us to take Herodotus for...

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CHAPTER 11 Herodotus and Aesop: Some Soundings

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pp. 398-432

ACCORDING TO GERT-JAN VAN DIJK, there is a single fable narrated in Herodotus's Histories: the fable of the aulete and the fish, told by Cyrus to representatives of the Ionian and Aeolian cities in Asia Minor when they come to make terms aft er his defeat of Croesus (Hdt. 1.141).1 In contrast, Triantaphyllia Karadagli offers a much fuller list, which, in addition to Hdt. 1.141, includes a whole set of other embedded narratives and communicative performances that Karadagli designates ainoi dramatikoi (Hdt. 1.125, ...

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 433-462

INDEX LOCORUM

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pp. 463-477

GENERAL INDEX

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pp. 478-495