Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism by Walter Burkert

By Walter Burkert

For the 1st English version of his extraordinary research, Weisheit und Wissenschaft: Studien zu Pythagoras, Philoloas und Platon, Mr. Burkert has largely revised either textual content and notes, considering extra literature that has seemed considering 1962.

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17 According to one of our principal sources, Xenophon, the marriage of Socrates to Xanthippe was not entirely a happy one, for Socrates was absent from the home too often to suit Xanthippe and, Xenophon tells us, Xanthippe was difficult to get along with. However, neither of our other sources confirms this, and Plato, when he mentions her, seems sympathetic and respectful. The fact that our evidence on this point is so scant and mixed should incline us away from drawing any firm conclusion about Xanthippe's character or about whether the marriage of Socrates and Xanthippe was a happy one.

Finally, as discussed earlier, before Socrates passed from boyhood to manhood, he would probably have been given instruction by his father in his father's craft or trade. 2 Athens and Education in the Time of Socrates Whether Socrates received any further instruction is a question we must take up in a moment. But we would do well to consider briefly the many changes the city of Socrates' youth underwent. , Athens's political system was transformed into a radical participatory democracy in which every Athenian male citizen could—and was expected to—vote, hold office, and serve on the very powerful.

In any case, one of the most curious facts about Socrates' life is how different some of his closest friends turned out to be. Plato indicates that by the time of Socrates' death, he had become one of Socrates' close friends,20 as were a number of others who were thoroughly committed to the importance of the philosophical life. Of these, some were, doubtless, more gifted than others. Since we know that some of these young philosophers went on to develop quite distinctive philosophical views of their own, it is possible that philosophical discussion within the Socratic circle was not limited to discussion of what the "master" thought.

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