Lecture 25 - Inventing New Myths Plato and the Myth of...

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Inventing New Myths: Plato and the Myth of Atlantis 12/04/08
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Myths in the Greek World Literature Art The night sky Myth and history Everyday life: 1. Names 2. Association of myths with landscape/ specific locations
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What is the purpose of myths? Why did Greeks tell and retell myths? Entertainment (epics; symposiastic songs; tragedies) Decoration myths for esthetic pleasure Propoganda use of myths to pass judgment on contemporary events and/or influence contemporary politics Use of myths as examples in rhetoric/philosophy myths as proof of general universal truths/concepts
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Plato 429-347 BC Student of Socrates Teacher of Aristotle Dialogues – some characters real, some possibly fictional Interest in political theory – is Athenian democracy perfect, or could it be improved? Condemnation of poetry as weak imitation of reality Invention of myths to illustrate points
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Plato and Myths Plato’s Republic : Myth of Er (afterlife) Plato’s Symposium : Aristophanes’ speech about the original state of man Plato’s Timaeus and Critias (ca. 360 BC): myth about Atlantis and its struggle against Athens until its demise 9,000 before Plato’s time
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Characters Critias – Plato’s uncle, associate of Socrates;
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Lecture 25 - Inventing New Myths Plato and the Myth of...

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