Estate Management and Symposium

ISBN : 9780198823513

Xenophon; Emily Baragwanath; Anthony Verity
288 Pages
129 x 196 mm
Pub date
Apr 2022
Oxford World's Classics
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  • A new translation of two of Xenophon's most famous works
  • Two remarkable works for their unprecedented acknowledgement of the value of the sphere of women, within the home, and of the potential for women and slaves to display virtue that equals, and at times even exceeds, that of citizen men
  • Alongside Xenophon's other Socratic dialogues these works are of great interest for the depiction of a Socrates who is fascinatingly unlike Plato
  • Explanatory notes and up-to-date select bibliography

Xenophon was acknowledged in Antiquity as a philosopher, a historian (third in the triad of great Classical historians, alongside Herodotus and Thucydides), and a literary artist. His narrative was appreciated for its literary qualities including its charm, wit, vigour, and sweetness (for which he was hailed as 'Attic Muse': Diogenes Laertius, 2.6.57).
The Oeconomicus describes Socrates conversing on the topic of successful management of one's oikos (household, estate). The focus is a well-to-do Athenian household, which proves a testing ground for the moral qualities or 'gentlemanliness' of the male head of household, but also a space in which the role and agency of women turns out to be key. Symposium shifts to the male space of the men's quarters of the private home, to describe an evening of conversation and entertainment at the house of an Athenian plutocrat. Far from being simply a lighthearted affair, the conversation probes timeless questions regarding wisdom, love, and female capacity, and over it looms the deadly serious matter of Socrates' trial and death.
Both works are rich sources for Athenian social history of the Classical period. Oeconomicus in particular offers insights on the role and status of women in Ancient Athens. Xenophon doesn't, however, passively reflect the social realities he saw around him or supply snapshots of historical actuality.


Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
Explanatory Notes

About the author: 

Edited by Emily Baragwanath, Associate Professor of Classics, University of North Carolina, and Anthony Verity, Former Master of Dulwich College, and William Allan, McConnell Laing Fellow and Tutor in Classics, University College, Oxford. 
Anthony Verity is a classical scholar and educationalist whose appointments include Head of Classics at Bristol Grammar School, Headmaster of Leeds Grammar School, and Master of Dulwich College from 1986 to 1995. His translations for Oxford World's Classics include Theocritus, Idylls, Pindar, The Complete Odes, and Homer's Iliad.
Emily Baragwanath is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her main area of scholarly interest is the literary techniques employed by Greek historians in their construction of historical narratives. Her book Motivation and Narrative in Herodotus (Oxford University Press, 2008) was the winner of Oxford's Conington Prize and the CAMWS Award for Outstanding Publication 2010.

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